Apple’s Vision Pro headset will be missing a Netflix app at launch in February

Apple’s Vision Pro headset will be missing a Netflix app at launch in February

Apple’s Vision Pro headset will be missing a Netflix app at launch in February

Rather than designing a Vision Pro app – or even just supporting its existing iPad app on the platform – Netflix is essentially taking a pass. The company, which competes with Apple in streaming, said in a statement that users interested in watching its content on the device can do so from the web.

It is a sizeable omission for the US$3,499 headset, which debuts on February 2. Apple is banking on entertainment content to help market the nascent and pricey technology, and Netflix is a must-have streaming service for many consumers.

Netflix also offers apps for Apple’s other devices, including the iPhone and iPad, though it does not participate in the company’s TV app.

The Netflix office building in Hollywood, California. Photo: AFP

The Vision Pro will run two main types of apps: new software written specifically for the device’s interface or existing iPad applications. Apple has sought to make it easy to transfer developers’ current iPad apps over to the new platform, aiming to quickly amass a wide range of Vision Pro software.

The fact that Netflix is not even willing to support the iPad approach suggests that it is taking a wait-and-see stance with the headset. It is also a bit of a reversal for the company, which said in July that it would support its iPad app on the Vision Pro. Even then, though, Netflix did not plan to release software specifically for the headset’s operating system, visionOS.

“Our members will be able to enjoy Netflix on the web browser on the Vision Pro, similar to how our members can enjoy Netflix on Macs,” Los Gatos, California-based Netflix said in the statement. Apple declined to comment.

The approach means it will be harder for users to access Netflix on the Vision Pro. And they will not be able to download Netflix content to watch offline, potentially making it more of a pain to use on an aeroplane.

The lack of an app also means Netflix watchers will not have access to custom environments for streaming. That means Netflix cannot create specialised immersive backdrops for its users to watch videos in.

An Apple promotional image demonstrating how the Vision Pro can be used. Photo: Handout

While Netflix and Apple do not compete in TV hardware, they are both currently vying for subscribers in the streaming industry.

Apple is a small player in this category, with less than 10 per cent of the US market. But it has been gathering award wins in the space, and the two companies compete over talent and production deals. It is plausible Netflix does not want to help boost a rival by giving it a key app for its upcoming launch.

Apple has been marketing the Vision Pro as an entertainment device in the run-up to pre-orders beginning on Friday.

The Cupertino, California-based company said earlier this week that the headset would have many entertainment options beyond its own TV+ service. That includes programming from Disney+, Max, Peacock, ESPN and Amazon Prime Video, among others.

Source link