In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, Apple’s yet-to-be-released Vision Pro headset has sparked a flurry of heated debates worldwide. The device is already being touted as the most exciting gadget in recent times by some, while others dismiss it as a potential drain on resources. Regardless of the divide, one thing is clear – Apple’s new venture has grabbed the global spotlight, stirring up conversations about its potential impact on the tech industry.
The stakes are high for Apple as it ventures into a new product category for the first time since the launch of the Apple Watch. The success of the Vision Pro largely depends on developers’ interest in building apps for it as a barren app store could tarnish its appeal. However, Apple remains unwavering in its confidence that developers will be drawn to this groundbreaking device. In an exclusive interview, the firm shares its strategies for attracting developers and its belief in the Vision Pro’s potential to win over customers.
Apple Vision Pro: A New Era of Computing or a Niche Device?
Apple’s Vision Pro headset, the company’s first new product category since the Apple Watch, has certainly got tongues wagging. The tech giant is confident that developers will embrace its new device, despite initial reports of lukewarm interest from the developer community.
Following the unveiling of the Vision Pro headset at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June 2023, reports suggested the device’s developer labs were sparsely attended. However, Apple insists the developers’ response has been overwhelmingly positive. Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of worldwide developer relations, and Steve Sinclair, senior director of product marketing for Apple Vision Pro, affirmed that the device’s software development kit (SDK) downloads and developer lab satisfaction rates have exceeded Apple’s expectations.
According to Sinclair, the hands-on sessions at WWDC have been key in inspiring developers to create their own experiences on the Vision Pro. Developers seem to agree. Ryan McLeod, game designer at Shapes & Stories, said the hands-on sessions made a significant difference in sparking his interest in building for the Vision Pro.
Entering the XR Space
While other companies have attempted to launch extended reality (XR) headsets, none have achieved mainstream success. Industry analysts predict that Vision Pro will initially sell in smaller quantities than Apple’s flagship products like the iPhone and the Mac. However, several developers are optimistic about Apple’s foray into the XR space. Tommy Palm, CEO of Resolution Games, and the team from XRHealth, a company specializing in XR apps for the healthcare industry, compare the dawn of Vision Pro to the early stages of the computer era in the 1980s. They believe that XR devices will become mainstream in the next 20 years.
Apple faces the challenge of convincing consumers to embrace the new form factor and the $3,499 price tag of the Vision Pro. Sinclair believes the key is to show people the amazing experiences the device can deliver, rather than trying to convince them about the form factor.
To facilitate user interaction with the Vision Pro, Apple has opted against custom hand controllers, preferring users to interact with the headset using their eyes, hands, and voice, a concept reminiscent of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ approach to the original iPhone.
The Road Ahead
For Vision Pro to succeed, Apple must continue to attract app makers to its platform. The company plans to make the platform accessible to all developers by allowing them to use familiar Apple tools to build their apps.
Developers also suggest that Apple can support them by providing more hands-on time with the Vision Pro headset, continuing to release more example apps, API documentation, and more opportunities to interact directly with Apple engineers. XRHealth also proposed that an Apple grant for developers who cannot afford to purchase a headset or a Mac could be beneficial.
While the developers already working on Vision Pro apps are optimistic about the platform, Apple faces the dual challenge of attracting more developers to the platform and persuading consumers to invest in the new device. It’s too early to predict the success of Vision Pro, but it’s clear from the buzz around it that it’s off to a strong start. Whether it becomes a game-changer or a niche product, one thing is certain – the tech world will be keeping a close eye on Vision Pro’s journey.