Apple’s Vision Pro is about to debut, and early enthusiasts will be curious to learn what they can do with this thrilling new spatial computer. With a robust Apple M2 processor, captivating 4K-per-eye displays, and multiple cameras for tracking your eyes and hands, there is ample room for viewing and interacting with screens and 3D content.
Ultimately, it will always be the apps that exhibit the capabilities of a device like the Vision Pro. Although we do not yet have a complete list, I have put together a compilation of the apps that Apple bundles with the Vision Pro and some third-party apps that will soon be accessible.
Preinstalled Vision Pro applications
Comparable to any Apple device, you will receive several system applications optimized specifically for your Vision Pro. You can browse the internet on Safari with numerous massive virtual screens, making it challenging to revert to your MacBook or even with a Pro Display XDR connected.
You will get Apple Mail, Messages, and FaceTime to keep in contact with individuals while wearing the Vision Pro. You can arrange your life with Freeform, Notes, and Files. Media is available through the Photos, Music, and TV applications.
Apple includes the Encounter Dinosaurs application to provide you with an instantaneous impression of the impact of immersive 3D experiences. Mindfulness is another experience that encompasses you with color and motion, a perfect example of enhancing 2D applications to take advantage of depth.
Of course, you can find more applications in the visionOS App Store, which is currently only viewable from the Vision Pro. Apple has an App Store Preview website for iOS and iPadOS applications, which is a convenient way to check out what’s new without using an Apple device.
It might take a year or two before Apple releases a similar App Store Preview website for the Vision Pro. At present, the selection will be restricted compared to the almost infinite selection of iPhone applications.
It’s important to note that the Vision Pro has the capacity to run most iPhone and iPad applications. Nonetheless, that does not imply you will be able to install every application you possess. I will discuss that in more detail below.
To personalize visionOS and Vision Pro applications, you can use the familiar Settings application. There will be alternatives to adjust the appearance, options, and permissions to tailor the Vision Pro to your preferences.
According to MacRumors, Apple preinstalls some applications not specifically designed for the Vision Pro, like Books, Calendar, Maps, News, Podcasts, Reminders, Shortcuts, Stocks, and Voice Memos.
It would be enjoyable to see Maps in an immersive view or fly through a city or neighborhood with Look Around, but these applications will behave like iPad applications and appear in 2D windows.
MacRumors also mentioned that the Keynote application is preinstalled and optimized for the Vision Pro, while the more popular iWork applications like Pages and Numbers are not.
Vision Pro App Store applications
Apple listed a handful of productivity applications that will be available in the App Store for the Vision Pro. Most notable are a couple of applications used by millions of people for work. Microsoft 365 can handle most of your office document needs, and Slack is a popular messaging application.
Only two other productivity applications were mentioned besides those that were preinstalled. Fantastical is a calendar and task application to organize your workflow. JigSpace is an AR application that lets you create and review 3D presentations with exploded views, animated slides, and cutaway images to see inside objects.
Apple said several streaming applications will be ready for the Vision Pro, including Disney+, Max, Amazon Prime Video, Paramount+, Peacock, Pluto TV, Tubi, and Discovery+. You can watch sports on applications from ESPN, NBA, MLB, PGA Tour, and Fubo. Additional streaming content will be available in applications from Crunchyroll, Red Bull TV, IMAX, TikTok, and MUBI.
Netflix and YouTube will not have Vision Pro applications, but Safari supports streaming video and should work with any service available on your iPad. Streaming from the browser probably won’t support immersive environments. Disney+ is the only service to offer background scenes that wrap around you while watching videos. Apple mentioned four options: Disney+ Theater, the Scare Floor from Pixar’s Monsters Inc., Marvel’s Avengers Tower, and the cockpit of Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder.
Mark Gurman, who often has inside information on Apple products, shared on X that the visionOS App Store will have over 230 native Vision Pro applications, which will be designed to take advantage of its unique features. Most are focused on an AR experience, including applications from Lowe’s and JCrew. Both retailers have created AR experiences for the iPhone.
So far, about 230 visionOS native applications are ready for release. That’ll likely rise by Feb. 2 – but I doubt significantly. There are new AR heavy applications coming from Lowe’s and JCrew, and the rest are from indie developers or the entertainment + productivity applications Apple has announced.
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) January 21, 2024
According to iMore, the Vision Pro will get Adobe Lightroom for photo editing, Zoom and Cisco Webex for web conferences, a popular iPad calculator PCalc, and Sky Guide for exploring constellations.
Gaming on Vision Pro
Apple stated the Vision Pro will have access to more than 250 games on Apple Arcade, which is a good start. When discussing gaming on the Vision Pro, it’s important to mention that there will be “brand-new spatial experiences built for visionOS.” The iPhone and iPad have some excellent games, but you will likely expect more than a big-screen Apple Arcade with a Vision Pro that is capable of immersing you in an entirely new world.
UploadVR mentioned that some intriguing VR games are on their way to the Apple Vision Pro. Of particular note are Demeo, a mixed reality D&D-inspired board game with animated pieces, and Just Hoops, which allows you to play arcade-style basketball with free throws in your living room or in various environments.
We had previously heard of a few immersive games for the Vision Pro. What The Golf is a miniature golf game you can play without leaving home. Super Fruit Ninja VR allows you to slice fruit like a master, using only your hands.
iPhone and iPad applications on Vision Pro
Apple boasts the Vision Pro is compatible with over a million iPhone and iPad applications. That’s great news and should help early enthusiasts enjoy their purchase despite the lack of native applications.
It’s worth noting Apple made similar claims about the first Macs to launch with Apple Silicon. The lack of native Mac applications was concerning, and Apple could not guarantee the performance and compatibility of Intel applications running through Rosetta. Since Apple Silicon could run iOS and iPadOS applications, that should have eased concerns.
It soon became apparent that many iPhone and iPad applications are not available in the Mac App Store, and sideloading is not supported. Intel applications run well even on an M1 MacBook Air, so complaints quickly fell away.
However, it’s not easy to move an application designed for one device to a very different platform, even if the code runs on a chip with the same architecture. There’s no touch interface for the Vision Pro, and the motion sensor detects head movement, not hand movement. Plenty of applications will have issues even if they’re available to download. That means Vision Pro owners really need native applications.
Native Vision Pro applications
Developers are aware that the best and most popular Vision Pro applications will need to be native to the platform with features meant for spatial computing. AR applications that blend graphics with your surroundings showcase this new device in all its glory.
Immersive applications featuring content that surrounds the wearer will have a tremendous impact on individuals new to VR. The quality achievable with the Vision Pro could even impress individuals with years of experience using the best VR headsets. That’s significant because the “killer application” that makes the Vision Pro a must-have device will arrive at some point in the future, and it will not exist on a two-dimensional screen.