YouTube is following in Netflix’s footsteps as it decides not to release a dedicated app for the Apple Vision Pro’s upcoming launch. Like Netflix subscribers, viewers will have to go to the web browser version if they want to watch YouTube videos.
"We're excited to see Vision Pro launch, and we're supporting it by ensuring YouTube users have a great experience in Safari,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch. The company didn’t state its reasoning for opting out. It’s also unclear if YouTube plans to support Vision Pro in the future.
YouTube is the most popular video-sharing platform in the world, so it'll be disappointing to customers when they're forced to go to Safari to get their YouTube fix. It also means they can't access YouTube's offline downloads feature, which defeats the purpose of using the headset on planes. Notably, YouTube provides an app on rival headset Meta Quest.
Netflix confirmed to us yesterday that it isn’t planning on launching a dedicated app for the device. The company also isn’t modifying its iPad version.
According to MacStories, a slew of other companies may also be staying away from launching compatible apps, including Meta-owned platforms Instagram, Facebook, Threads and WhatsApp. However, this could change by the time Vision Pro launches on February 2. Meta wasn’t immediately available to respond to our comment request. Other missing apps include YouTube Music, Roku, Snapchat, DoorDash, Bumble and Lyft, among others.
Spotify is also choosing not to roll out a new app, per Bloomberg. The music streaming service isn't making its iPad app available on the Vision Pro store either. Spotify told us it couldn’t confirm the speculation about its app plans for the Vision Pro.
It’s notable, to say the least, that many media companies are reportedly passing on Apple’s mixed-reality headset. Especially since they all have apps for the iPhone and iPad, making it easy for them to release apps in the Vision Pro store. Apple explains that unless developers say they don’t want to participate, their iPad apps in the App Store will automatically appear in the Vision Pro store by default.
It's not surprising that developers aren't willing to support Apple's latest venture, given that the tech giant recently updated its App Store rules to comply with a court order, making it so that Apple gets to approve which apps are eligible to include a link or button to their websites. The new rules include many other caveats, including a 27% fee for out-of-app-store purchases.
Spotify previously said in a statement that “imposing a 27% fee for transactions made outside of an app on a developer’s website is outrageous.” Bloomberg wrote that Spotify seemingly rejecting Apple’s newest device isn’t related to its public frustrations over the new App Store rules, according to a person familiar with the matter.
There are companies willing to participate, though. Nearly 20 apps will launch entertainment experiences on the headset, including TikTok, Disney+, Max, Discovery+, Amazon Prime Video, Paramount+, Peacock, Pluto TV, Tubi, Fubo, Crunchyroll, ESPN, NBA, MLB, PGA Tour, Red Bull TV, IMAX and MUBI.