YouTube and Spotify won’t launch Apple Vision Pro apps, joining Netflix

YouTube and Spotify won’t launch Apple Vision Pro apps, joining Netflix

GOOGLE’S YouTube and Spotify Technology SA, the world’s most popular video and music services, are joining Netflix, Inc. in steering clear of Apple Inc.’s upcoming mixed-reality headset.

YouTube said in a statement Thursday that it isn’t planning to launch a new app for the Apple Vision Pro, nor will it allow its longstanding iPad application to work on the device — at least, for now. YouTube, like Netflix, is recommending that customers use a web browser if they want to see its content: “YouTube users will be able to use YouTube in Safari on the Vision Pro at launch.”

Spotify also isn’t currently planning a new app for visionOS — the Vision Pro’s operating system — and doesn’t expect to enable its iPad app to run on the device when it launches, according to a person familiar with matter. But the music service will still likely work from a web browser. Bloomberg News reported on Netflix’s decision Wednesday.

The Vision Pro will include access to Apple’s apps for music and podcasts, which compete with Spotify’s offerings. But getting snubbed by Netflix, Spotify, and YouTube means that the most popular streaming apps won’t be available when the headset launches on Feb. 2. Apple has largely marketed the device as a platform for video, games, and other entertainment.

YouTube is a particularly large omission for the product. When Apple’s original iPad launched in 2010, YouTube was one of a handful of apps preinstalled on the tablet. The company didn’t rule out eventually supporting the Vision Pro but said it had “no further plans to share at this time.”

YouTube and Spotify continue to offer popular apps for the iPhone and iPad. And that, theoretically, gave them an easy path toward supporting the Vision Pro. Developers with iPad software in the regular App Store will see those apps appear in the Vision Pro store by default. That means developers have to opt out if they don’t want to participate.

Several other entertainment apps are still participating, including Disney+, Max, Peacock, ESPN, and Amazon Prime Video. Altogether, Apple says the device will support more than 1 million titles in the headset’s App Store. The company began taking preorders for the Vision Pro on Friday.

Apple has touted its $3,499 Vision Pro headset as an entertainment device.

YouTube and Spotify declined to say why they bowed out of supporting the $3,499 device. Spotify doesn’t offer an app on competing headsets, such as Meta Platforms, Inc.’s Quest, though YouTube does. Spotify also has been embroiled in a fight with Apple over App Store policies, but the decision on the Vision Pro isn’t related to that, according to the person familiar, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.

Searches conducted by MacStories on Thursday indicated that other key iPhone and iPad apps, including Meta’s Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, aren’t currently set to work on the Vision Pro either. But that could change by the device’s launch, or those developers could be planning new dedicated versions for visionOS. Meta didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple’s executive in charge of the Vision Pro told employees last week that he expects health care, technician training and education to eventually become key areas for the product. The company also is studying corporate applications, Bloomberg News reported Thursday.

The Vision Pro represents Apple’s first major new product category since it began selling smartwatches in 2015. —Bloomberg