Netflix isn’t planning to make a native version of its app for the Vision Pro, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman in today’s Power On newsletter. Instead, he says, the company will allow its existing iPad app to run, unmodified, on Apple’s forthcoming mixed reality headset.
As Gurman’s piece points out, developers who don’t want to build Vision Pro software from the ground up have two choices: let their iPad apps run as is on the device or tweak them for the Vision Pro. Netflix has chosen the former, though whether pointedly or not, we don’t know.
The iPad app may be good enough — we’ll have to see — after all, if all you want is a big rectangle with Stranger Things floating in front of you, lack of native support shouldn’t be a huge problem? But given Apple’s Vision pro is basically its first TV, it could also be a letdown if running as an iPad app means Netflix is buggy or missing features that other native streaming apps may have. We’ve reached out to Netflix for comment.
Gurman writes about Netflix’s lack of support in the context of a broader issue Apple could have in getting high-profile developers to develop for its Vision Pro headset, a device that amounts to a wholly new platform for the company. As he observes, factors contributing to that potential struggle include the headset’s high starting price of $3,500, its likely limited first-year sales numbers, and the fact that third-party apps have already been a problem for Meta, Apple’s main competitor in the space.
When the Vision Pro launches, though, it will start off with a massive library of iPad apps, which the headset can run without alteration. Also, we already know Disney Plus will come to the device — Disney’s streaming service was heavily featured in the WWDC 2023 keynote announcing the Vision Pro — and Gurman points out that Zoom and Microsoft have both committed software development for it.
He also speculates that Vision Pro apps will cost more than their iPhone and iPad counterparts. Much more, in fact — Gurman says he “wouldn’t be surprised if $20 is the new $1 for most” apps on the platform, and that more professional apps could cost between $50 and $250. That’s far from unheard-of on the iOS app store, and wouldn’t be surprising on the Vision Pro at all. Neither would his speculation about some games going for $40 to $60, at least at the outset, when buyers of the headset will be mostly the early adopter tech enthusiast crowd.