In a recent announcement, Netflix has decided not to create a native version of its app for Apple’s forthcoming mixed reality headset, the Vision Pro. Instead, the streaming giant will allow its existing iPad app to run unmodified on the device. This move comes as a surprise to some, considering the Vision Pro’s potential as a new platform for Apple and its high-profile push into mixed reality.
According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Netflix’s decision is indicative of a broader issue that Apple may face in convincing prominent developers to develop for the Vision Pro headset. The reasons behind this hesitation include the headset’s starting price of $3,500 (approximately R63,000), projected limited first-year sales numbers, and the historical struggles of third-party apps on similar platforms, as seen with Apple’s main competitor, Meta.
Although the iPad app might provide a satisfactory experience for users who desire a large screen with their favorite Netflix shows, there are concerns about potential bugs and missing features that native streaming apps for the Vision Pro could offer. As of now, very few companies have committed to building dedicated software for the Vision Pro, leaving consumers to rely on existing iPad apps or adjusted versions for the device.
Gurman’s analysis highlights that the Vision Pro will begin its journey with access to a vast library of iPad apps that can run without modifications. Notably, Disney Plus has already been confirmed to be available on the platform, as showcased during WWDC 2023. Additionally, both Zoom and Microsoft have pledged their commitment to developing software for the headset, adding a touch of optimism to the potential app ecosystem.
However, Netflix’s decision to opt for iPad app compatibility could be a double-edged sword. While it may streamline the process for the streaming giant, there are concerns that the iPad app may not fully leverage the capabilities of Apple’s mixed reality headset. For users, this raises the question of whether they will experience the full potential of the Vision Pro through existing apps.
One potential downside of this choice could be the pricing of apps on the Vision Pro platform. As Gurman speculates, Vision Pro apps may come with a steeper price tag compared to their iPhone and iPad counterparts. With $1 being equivalent to R18 in South African currency, app prices could start around R360, with more specialized or professional apps potentially reaching prices between R900 and R4,500. Such pricing could be a deterrent for some South African consumers who may already be apprehensive about the Vision Pro’s high starting cost.
Despite these challenges, there is still hope that the Vision Pro will gain traction in the market. As mentioned earlier, Zoom and Microsoft’s commitment to developing software for the platform indicates that there is interest from major players in the industry.
As the Vision Pro’s launch date draws near, developers and consumers alike eagerly await more information and insights into the headset’s app ecosystem and its potential impact on the mixed reality landscape. Netflix’s decision not to develop a native app for the Vision Pro raises valid questions about the device’s viability as a platform and the challenges it may face in attracting high-profile developers.
It remains to be seen whether other companies will follow Netflix’s lead and opt for iPad app compatibility or invest in creating native apps to fully capitalize on the Vision Pro’s potential. As the market for mixed reality continues to evolve, only time will tell if Apple’s Vision Pro can overcome its hurdles and become a game-changer in the world of immersive technology.