YouTube and Spotify will no longer run Apple Vision Pro apps, joining Netflix
(Bloomberg) — Google’s YouTube and Spotify Technology SA, the world’s most popular video and music services, have joined forces with Netflix Inc. In a move away from Apple’s upcoming mixed reality headset.
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YouTube said in a statement Thursday that it does not plan to launch a new app for the Apple Vision Pro, and will not allow its old iPad app to run on the device — at least for now. YouTube, like Netflix, recommends customers use a web browser if they want to see its content: “YouTube users will be able to use YouTube in Safari on Vision Pro at launch.”
Spotify also isn’t currently planning a new app for VisionOS — the Vision Pro operating system — and doesn’t expect its iPad app to be able to run on the device when it’s turned on, according to a person familiar with the matter. But the music service will likely still work from a web browser. Bloomberg News reported on Netflix’s decision on Wednesday.
The Vision Pro will include access to Apple’s music and podcast apps, which compete with Spotify’s offerings. But ignoring Netflix, Spotify and YouTube means the most popular streaming apps won’t be available when the headset launches on February 2. Apple has marketed the device largely as a platform for video, gaming and other entertainment.
YouTube is a particularly big omission for the product. When Apple’s original iPad launched in 2010, YouTube was one of the few apps pre-installed on the tablet. The company did not ultimately rule out support for Vision Pro, but said it had “no other plans to participate at this time.”
YouTube and Spotify continue to offer popular apps for iPhone and iPad. This, in theory, gave them an easy path towards supporting Vision Pro. Developers who have iPad software in the regular App Store will see those apps appear in the Vision Pro Store by default. This means developers have to opt out if they don’t want to participate.
Many other entertainment apps are still participating, including Disney+, Max, Peacock, ESPN, and Amazon Prime Video. In total, Apple says the device will support more than a million titles in the headphone’s App Store. The company will start taking pre-orders for the Vision Pro on Friday.
YouTube and Spotify declined to specify why they were withdrawing support for the $3,499 device. Spotify doesn’t offer an app on competing headsets, such as Meta Platforms Inc., though YouTube does. Spotify has also been engaged in a battle with Apple over App Store policies, but the decision on Vision Pro is not related to that, according to the person familiar, who asked to remain anonymous because the deliberations are private.
Searches conducted by MacStories on Thursday indicated that other major iPhone and iPad apps, including Meta’s Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, are not currently ready to run on Vision Pro either. But this may change with the launch of the device, or these developers may be planning new versions dedicated to the VisionOS operating system. Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Apple executive in charge of the Vision Pro told employees this week that he expects healthcare, technician training and education to eventually become key areas for the product. The company is also considering enterprise applications, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.
The Vision Pro represents Apple’s first major new product category since it started selling smartwatches in 2015.
–With assistance from Julia Love and Kurt Wagner.
(Updated with more about the Vision Pro launch in paragraph 11.)
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