Apple Makes Development Kit Available for Vision Pro

Apple announced on Wednesday (21) the launch of its software development kit visionOS, enabling third parties to start creating content for the announced spatial computing headset Vision Pro.

The SDK is available at least six months in advance of the official headset release date in the United States, which is scheduled for early 2024.

Attracting Developers

Apple is betting on developer interest to boost excitement around the system, which received a lukewarm reception when it was unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) earlier this month.

By making the development kit available in advance, Apple hopes that developers will create a robust app ecosystem by the time Vision Pro is launched.

Content has been one of the biggest challenges in virtual and augmented reality development over the years, but Apple is confident that it will have an App Store full of options when the system hits the market.

Apple Vice President Susan Prescott stated in a press release:

“By leveraging the space around the user, spatial computing unlocks new opportunities for our developers and allows them to imagine new ways to help their users connect, be productive, and enjoy new types of entertainment.”

The visionOS SDK is built on the same underlying framework as Apple’s other operating systems, making it easy for developers who are already familiar with the company’s development tools like Xcode, SwiftUI, RealityKit, ARKit, and TestFlight to transition.

Apple is clearly committed to reducing barriers for existing developers, seeking an efficient migration of existing software to the new platform.

Apple Vision Pro
Developers will be able to create apps for the product prior to launch. (Image: Apple)

In-Person Development Labs

One of the main concerns regarding Vision Pro is how existing apps will be adapted to a three-dimensional or “infinite screen” environment.

To overcome these challenges, Apple plans to open “development labs” in various cities, including Cupertino, London, Munich, Shanghai, Singapore, and Tokyo.

These labs will allow development teams to test their apps on the headset hardware or request hardware development kits for off-site testing.

New Tools

In addition to the existing development tools, Apple is also introducing Reality Composer Pro, a feature of Xcode that facilitates the preview of 3D models, images, sounds, and animations on Vision Pro.

Furthermore, starting next month, Unity development tools will be added to the platform, which is good news for game enthusiasts who were disappointed with the lack of focus in that area during the initial presentation.

Today’s announcement also confirms Apple’s intention to target Vision Pro toward the enterprise market.

The company emphasized that manufacturers will be able to use PTC’s augmented reality (AR) solutions to collaborate on critical business issues, bringing interactive 3D content into the real world.

With Vision Pro, different departments and locations will be able to simultaneously review content to make design and operational decisions more efficiently.

Apple promises to provide more information and tools in the coming months.

Developers now have the opportunity to begin exploring the potential of spatial computing and creating immersive and innovative experiences for Vision Pro users.

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