Developers who visited Apple’s special labs to test their Vision Pro apps on the upcoming headset came away impressed, according to a cheery new Apple press release. The labs, which let devs test third-party apps on the AR headset Apple plans to release next year, are reportedly not well-attended. So, Apple seems intent on drumming up interest.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, developers who went to Apple’s labs offered some very positive comments about the hardware and software.
Apple Vision Pro labs for developers
The Vision Pro stole the spotlight during Apple’s developer conference in June. The headset is Apple’s first foray into what the company calls “spatial computing.” It focuses on augmented reality, which overlays computer-generated content onto the real world.
Apple gave developers tools to write applications for visionOS in June, but the hardware won’t launch until 2024. With Vision Pro still so far away, developers need access to the product to test their applications. The visionOS SDK includes a visionOS simulator, but that’s likely to be of limited use.
Apple’s solution is a series of hands-on developer labs with the AR headset. These opened in July, but reportedly aren’t well-attended.
Earlier this month, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman said, “Hearing so far that the Vision Pro developer labs (to test apps on actual hardware) have been under-filled with small amounts of developers.”
Apple works to entice more developers to Vision Pro
Apple countered the negative news on Wednesday with really upbeat comments from developers who’ve had hands-on time with Vision Pro.
For example, David Smith began making a version of his app Widgetsmith for the headset using the simulator. Then he went to Apple’s developer lab in London.
“I’d been staring at this thing in the simulator for weeks and getting a general sense of how it works, but that was in a box,” Smith said in Apple’s press release. “The first time you see your own app running for real, that’s when you get the audible gasp.”
“Experiencing spatial computing not only validated the designs we’d been thinking about — it helped us start thinking not just about left to right or up and down, but beyond borders at all,” said Simmons.
Chris Delbuck, principal design technologist at Slack, tested the iPadOS version of his company’s app on Apple Vision Pro. As soon as he put the headset on, “it instantly got me thinking about how 3D offerings and visuals could come forward in our experiences,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do that without having the device in hand.”
In addition to Cupertino and London, Apple opened Vision Pro developer labs in, Munich, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo. They are open to anyone with a visionOS app in active development. Coders can visit Apple’s website to sign up.