Apple launches dev kit program for the Vision Pro

Ahead of the launch of its Vision Pro AR headset in early 2024, Apple’s beginning to seed developer kits to select eligible applicants.

The company announced this week that it’ll loan Vision Pro developer kits to approved account holders in the Apple Developer Program. Developers must submit an application for a kit, provide details about their team’s development skills and existing apps and agree to the terms and conditions before they’ll be considered.

In the terms, Apple, who reserves the right to see a list of staff authorized to work on the dev kit, forbids family, friends, roommates and household employees from accessing, viewing or handling the Vision Pro. In addition, the terms bar developers from public discussion of the Vision Pro in person or on social media.

In addition to the headset hardware, approved developers will receive help setting up the Vision Pro and onboarding, check-ins with Apple experts for UI design and development guidance and assistance troubleshooting any issues with their code.

Apple says that priority will be given to “applicants creating an app that takes advantage of visionOS features and capabilities” — “visionOS,” of course, referring to the OS that powers the Vision Pro. And all developers, regardless of when they’re approved, will have to return their development kit upon request.

Alongside the dev kit rollout, Apple said this week that it’ll hold Vision Pro developer labs in Cupertino, London, Munich, Shanghai, Singapore, and Tokyo, which folks can apply for on the company’s website. Apple also released a compatibility checklist for ensuring that apps are ready for visionOS.

The Vision Pro, which was unveiled at Apple’s annual WWDC conference in June, is expected to come to retail within the next few months priced at $3,499. The company’s first major product launch since the Apple Watch in 2014, the Vision Pro is nothing if not ambitious, packing an array of sensors and cameras that enable what Apple’s calling “spatial computing” experiences.

At launch, visionOS will feature apps — including Unity apps, which run natively on the Vision Pro — from Adobe (specifically Lightroom), Microsoft (Teams and Office), Netflix, Cisco (WebEx) Zoom and other major developers. There’s medical software for looking at renders of anatomy and an engineering app for visualizing things like physics phenomena, like airflow, on top of real-world objects.

Those apps and more will be hosted on a brand-new app store, which is launching simultaneously with the Vision Pro. Beyond apps, over 100 Apple Arcade titles will be available to play on VisionOS on “day one,” Apple says.


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