A cool thing about Apple devices is how interoperable they are between each other, even with products belonging to different market segments. And recently, Apple has sought to make things even more seamless. With the rollout of Apple silicon, some iPhone and iPad apps are available on Mac. Continuing this trend, the Apple Vision Pro, the company’s first truly new product in years, will also have support for iPhone and iPad apps out of the box.
Apple has confirmed that the Vision Pro will be able to run iPhone and iPad apps, and the visionOS App Store should show the same apps that currently show up on your smartphone, as they will be published automatically. According to a blog post by the company directed to developers, “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.” The company also added that “customers will be able to use your apps on visionOS early next year when Apple Vision Pro becomes available.”
Developers can even use the visionOS SDK to add stuff such as 3D elements and hand gestures if they want the apps to feel more natural, but out of the box, they should work just fine. If the iOS version of an app requires something that’s not available on the headset, it will not become available, although that won’t stop developers from actually making visionOS-specific versions of their apps.
This is notable because it sounds like apps will be submitted to the visionOS App Store automatically, without input from the developer. With iOS app support on macOS, developers need to enable Mac support on their apps manually, and presumably test the app on a Mac, before it actually goes live on the macOS App Store. Perhaps Apple is thinking of iOS apps as a way to make up for the initial lack of apps once it starts selling the Vision Pro — it will likely take some time to fill up the App Store with actual visionOS apps, especially seeing how AR headsets are a niche segment right now and Apple’s pricing for its first-gen product is a little on the steep side ($3,499).