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Native Apple Vision Pro apps few and far between at launch

Apple's visionOS menu system

New owners of the Apple Vision Pro may be disappointed by the selection of native apps at launch, with claims that roughly 150 have been developed with experiences made for the headset.

Apple opened up a version of the App Store for the Apple Vision Pro on January 16, giving developers the opportunity to add their apps ahead of the headset's February 2 release date. However, it seems that very few developers will be actually offering apps to users that actually take advantage of the headset's capabilities at the start.

On the weekend, research by AppFigures reported by TechCrunch indicates that there may be little more than 150 apps that have been updated to include Vision Pro-specific functionality, namely some form of virtual reality or mixed reality component. It's still possible that more will be added by the time the Apple Vision Pro is in users' hands, but it's still a very small start for a major new platform.

Users will still have a massive variety of apps to use that will be compatible with the headset from the start, though, with Apple automatically porting over iPadOS apps with minimal input needed from developers, unless they opt out. The difference is that, rather than being a fully-fledged 3D environment, for example, these apps will operate within visionOS as a flat 2D app within a window.

The small number of apps that offer spatial computing elements could be explained by a number of factors, including that developers may not be willing to put resources towards a platform that will have relatively few users, at least at the start of its life.

There have also been limited amounts of hardware shared with developers to help perfect apps for the headset.

Key standout apps that won't be on Apple Vision Pro at launch will be Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify, which are not enabling iPad apps on the platform. By contrast, the Disney+ app is a major launch partner for Apple, and has incorporated full 3D environments that users can sit in while they watch content.

So far, it is believed Apple sold between 160,000 and 180,000 units in the first weekend of pre-orders.