What you need to know
- Apple Vision Pro users won’t find apps for YouTube, Netflix, or Spotify running in VR “any time soon.”
- Some companies will block their iPad apps from running on Vision Pro, citing that a Safari browser can still be used to stream content.
- Disney Plus seems to be offering the most content at launch, including over 150 3D movies in its native Vision Pro app.
Netflix and YouTube are snubbing the Apple Vision Pro as it launches in a few weeks, telling Walter Bloomberg that there are “no plans to offer apps for Apple Vision Pro.” Spotify is also withholding app development for the spatial computing headset for the time being.
What’s more, all three companies are actively blocking existing iOS apps for their respective services from running on Vision Pro. Vision Pro’s operating system is built to run iOS apps natively in a virtual floating window, so native apps don’t necessarily have to be built for the headset.
Apple recently championed Vision Pro for being able to run over one million iOS apps at launch, but it seems that number is slowly dwindling if this news is any indication.
Samsung is planning on launching a spatial computing headset later this year and it’s very likely the company will employ a similar strategy by allowing Google Play apps to run in virtual space.
Netflix and YouTube both offer apps on VR headsets like the Meta Quest 3, but many of these apps aren’t updated as frequently as their mobile counterparts. The Netflix app, for instance, suffers from low-resolution video streaming, and the Amazon Prime Video VR app was quietly discontinued, even though it still has a store listing.
Apple has been selling the Vision Pro as a great way to comfortably consume content at home while enjoying a massive virtual screen. But it seems like Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify are among the few to actively pull apps from Apple’s headset. Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, Max, Paramount Plus, Peacock, Pluto TV, and several other streaming services are all supporting Vision Pro at launch.
Disney and Apple have enjoyed a special relationship for years, so it’s not much of a surprise to see Disney support an Apple product this early on. Apple’s Steve Jobs helped build Pixar into an animation studio, later selling it to Disney. Disney has debuted several iPhone-exclusive AR games and apps over the years, and the company is even offering over 150 3D movies on the Vision Pro Disney Plus app.
Analyst Anshel Sag says that companies like Netflix and YouTube will almost certainly change their tune in a few years when the return on investment makes sense. The initial wave of Apple Vision Pro headsets sold out less than an hour after preorders began, showing a combination of high demand and low supply for the new spatial computer.
Companies like Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify are playing gatekeepers as much as possible, trying to offer customers “the best experience,” as Sag told me. For now, Vision Pro customers will just have to stream from a web browser as they might already do on a laptop computer.