While Apple’s Vision Pro headset isn’t set for release until next year, developers are getting a head start on fine-tuning their apps for the mixed-reality headset.
In a post on the Apple Developer site, the company announced that when the Vision Pro launches, it will have apps and games built in plus access to thousands of iPhone and iPad apps. At present, VisionOS is in beta testing, but without an App Store — which means developers can’t use and test third-party apps.
That changes this fall though, as Apple will be releasing a beta version of the Vision Pro OS with the App Store built in.
All iPhone and iPad apps will be published to the VisionOS App Store by default, Apple says. If an existing app requires something the Vision Pro can’t do, the developer will be informed of that and the app will need to be updated with alternate functionality before customers can access it.
That update requirement may not apply to all that many apps, however, as Apple’s VisionOS announcement notes that “most frameworks available in iPadOS and iOS are also included in VisionOS, which means nearly all iPad and iPhone apps can run on VisionOS, unmodified.”
Developers who want to see their apps in action and make changes can accomplish that through the VisionOS simulator in Xcode15 — a simulator that lets users test an app’s core functionality and interact with elements. Testing on an actual Apple Vision Pro device can be done through an application for a hardware kit or through one of the company’s developer labs that will open in six cities.
For those looking to make an app truly shine on the Vision Pro, Apple recommends building the app with the VisionOS SDK. By doing that, Apple says, not only will the app take on a standard appearance, but the developer can easily add new elements like 3D content tuned for eyes and hand input.