Apple says it will give developers the opportunity to apply for Vision Pro dev kits starting sometime in July.

In addition to releasing a first round of developer tools last week, including a software ‘Simulator’ of Vision Pro, Apple also wants to give developers a chance to get their hands on the headset itself.

The company indicates that applications for a Vision Pro development kit will open starting in July, and developers will be able to find details here when the time comes.

There’s no telling how many of the development kits the company plans to send out, or exactly when they will start shipping, but given Apple’s culture of extreme secrecy you can bet selected developers will be locked down with strict NDAs regarding their use of the device.

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The Vision Pro developer kit isn’t the only way developers will be able to test their apps on a real headset.

Developers will also be able to apply to attend ‘Vision Pro developer labs’:

Apply for the opportunity to attend an Apple Vision Pro developer lab, where you can experience your visionOS, iPadOS, and iOS apps running on Apple Vision Pro. With direct support from Apple, you’ll be able to test and optimize your apps and games, so they’ll be ready when Apple Vision Pro is available to customers. Labs will be available in six locations worldwide: Cupertino, London, Munich, Shanghai, Singapore, and Tokyo.

Our understanding is that applications for the developer labs will also open in July.

Additionally, developers will also be able to request that their app be reviewed by Apple itself on visionOS, though this is restricted to existing iPhone and iPad apps, rather than newly created apps for visionOS:

If you currently have an iPad or iPhone app on the App Store, we can help you test it on Apple Vision Pro. Request a compatibility evaluation from App Review to get a report on your app or game’s appearance and how it behaves in visionOS.

Vision Pro isn’t planned to ship until early 2024, but Apple wants to have third-party apps ready and waiting for when that time comes.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • John Moore

    That doesn’t seem to be a lot of time to develop an app if this is going to be released 1st quarter 2024. I realize they can still be part of VisionOS at any point going forward, but it seems this would limit the initial apps to those Apple has developed themselves and not to expect many 3rd party apps at launch.

    • They already are working with a list of 3rd parties, and there are possibly a few more that weren’t mentioned in the announcement. As this is somewhat of a dev-kit, it may not be surprising to not have a big load out in the beginning. All speculation until things are revealed of course. :)

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      Their primary sales pitch during the presentation was some first party apps, integration with Apple iMessage and FaceTime, using compatible iOS, and using the Vision Pro as a large virtual display for a Mac. The iPad apps can be organized freely in 3D and can be made much larger with added resolution than on any iPad, very useful for e.g. editing video in the Final Cut iPad version.

      This way they pretty much guaranteed that the device would provide value even if there would be no 3rd party app development for Vision Pro at all. And a number of potential buyers said that just the option to enlarge iOS apps and the external Mac display functionality alone would justify the price for them, as it effectively allows them to use the Vision Pro as a portable multi monitor setup that fits into a tiny bag.