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VisionOS App Development: How to Do It and Why It Matters

Dive into VisionOS app development and learn how this cutting-edge technology is shaping the next generation of applications.

February 23 | Updated on March 28 | 5 min
Alex Padalka

Alex Padalka

CEO at JetBase

When Apple unveiled its newest device - the Vision Pro - and the accompanying visionOS, it became clear that companies needed to jump onto this platform as soon as possible. Doing so means recruiting a Vision Pro developer and getting to know the development process. With JetBase, you can do both.

Our experts can create your visionOS app, while this quick primer on Vision Pro apps will help you understand this environment. We’ll use our team’s experience to relay the steps of development, as well as what it can offer as a platform. Since this device is still fresh, we want to show that it’s not just a fad. It will become a mainstay for apps. Let’s begin.

The Foundations of Spatial Computing and Apple Vision Pro

The very term “spatial computing” may intimidate some people as it sounds rather complicated. In truth, though, even before Apple’s unveiling of Vision Pro, you were likely already using devices with spatial functionality. Any feature that requires a device to interact with the real world and objects uses some form of spatial computing.

Let’s illustrate this with an example. Car cameras use depth sensors to help drivers park or determine whether there’s an obstacle nearby. Or, for the audiophiles out there, the current crop of “smart” headphones can detect sound levels in the environment. Then, using that data, they adjust their own output, providing noise suppression for optimal sound mixing.

This interaction with real-world elements opens up new possibilities. Using augmented or mixed reality, these devices can provide a level of service above that of traditional ones. While the Vision Pro has mostly been shown off as a visuals-based gadget, it’s part of a longer line of innovation. And, by getting in early on Vision Pro app development, you too can innovate.

Vision Pro Growth Prediction Statistics

2024: Initial projections suggest Apple will sell 350,000 units in the first year.
2025: Analysts predict a 321% sales increase to about 1.475 million headsets.
2028: Projections estimate Apple will ship a staggering 12.613 million Vision Pro headsets.
This represents a massive 3,504% growth from 2024.

One significant aspect of Vision Pro is its focus on augmented reality versus virtual. Prior headsets attempted to create a virtual world for users to interact with, which rarely went beyond games. Apple, however, banks on real-world usability, giving digital solutions to everyday needs. We can understand this approach better by looking at how this system functions.

Getting Acquainted with visionOS development and Apple Vision Pro

With the Vision Pro, Apple launched a whole new operating system. It takes cues from their previous products but operates on a completely different plane. Using 3D and augmented reality poses unique challenges for designers while opening up opportunities. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the limitations and possibilities of this system.

Designing Apps for visionOS

So, visionOS allows a user to open apps, even ones not native to the platform, creating virtual windows in front of one’s eyes. These elements are integrated into the 3D environment, which complicates the visual side of development. Designing for a phone screen lets you have full control in terms of testing, as you know what the end result will look like.

Designing Apps for visionOS

Meanwhile, a Vision Pro developer has to consider users who will be “viewing” their apps in starkly contrasting environments. This means the UI should adapt to conditions where the user’s field of view is cluttered or objects move in the background. Too much movement and animation could lead to adverse side effects, making a minimalistic approach the smarter choice.

Any objects displayed by Vision Pro are also influenced by external lighting, meaning your app’s settings need to support visual options. Users should be able to interact with your product at night or on a sunlit beach, all without having to strain their eyes. Similarly, posture and line-of-sight become important, as forcing a user to crane their neck to use your app is a major error.

Person with Vision Pro

VisionOS uses a “real-time subsystem” that allows 3D objects from a variety of apps to coexist and scale up or down to make room for comfortable use. However, developers must keep in mind the reality of this usage. As with VR gaming equipment, you need to plan your interactions for limited space. Not everyone using Vision Pro will be sat in a big room with plenty of space to wave their arms or move around.

Creating with Accessibility in Mind

VisionOS provides the ARKit tool that allows devs to map commands to hand gestures. However, in order to make Vision Pro usable by everyone, these same commands can also be sent via eye and head movements, as well as verbal orders. Building in these options makes your app more accessible and opens up a wider target audience.

Preparing for Apple Vision Pro Development

To actually start creating apps for this platform, you need to understand it well, having tinkered around with its multitude of tools. This means that, realistically, most companies will not be ready to do it yet. JetBase opted to work on Vision Pro app development as soon as the chance arose, learning the intricacies of its systems. Here are some tips from our experience with it.

One important note is to check if your existing apps are compatible with visionOS. It’s quite possible they are, which would mean you can simply rework them a bit to tailor them for Vision Pro. This still counts as Vision Pro app development but is obviously much faster than building from the ground up.

Preparing for Apple Vision Pro Development

If, however, you find yourself needing to create an app from scratch, remember that it requires a radically different approach. You’ll be trying to create a smooth UX that doesn’t hinge on clicking buttons or navigating dropdown menus. The main concern is making controls that are easy to handle with just one’s eyes or hand gestures. You might, in fact, need to hire a new professional just for that.

Step-by-Step Guide to Developing Apps with visionOS

Like any other process, Vision Pro app development can be broken down into stages. We’ll go through them one by one to introduce you to the intricacies of the task.

VisionOS Developing Stages

Set Up the Environment

You can use many tools during development, such as SwiftUI, Xcode, ARKit, and, most importantly, RealityKit. This exclusive tool for Vision Pro will be essential for any work you do with the platform.

Create an MVP

Making a prototype is absolutely crucial, as your Vision Pro developer team is working with very fresh technology. This is where they can assess their progress and see if their features and design decisions are coming across well. We stressed the importance of good UI in Vision Pro applications, and this step lets you take a closer look at this element.

Do Extensive Testing

Ironing out bugs is a must, as you want your product to reach the users with pristine quality. Ensuring no visual glitches or errors guarantees a good first impression, which will be vital in this market. The Vision Pro environment isn’t saturated with competing apps just yet, so you can really benefit from sticking the landing.

Submit Your App

You must follow Apple’s guidelines to ensure your application is suitable for the App Store. However, if it is, all that’s left is to send it in for review and launch successfully. You will also need post-launch maintenance, but that’s not a problem if you have a trusted team. Of course, with the technology still being new, it’s best to turn to a vendor with experience.

Where Else & How Can You Use visionOS Applications?

When it comes to business, you need to know exactly how, where, and most importantly, what you can use Vision Pro for, or rather, with which applications you can integrate it, or invent something custom that will be the perfect solution for your business.

Also, we should add that as of February 2024, there are only 600+ applications that can be used with Vision Pro. Here we will tell you about the most necessary ones, in our opinion, from the point of view of everyone's daily routine.

Well, that's exactly why we're here, to tell you which applications will be a great addition to yours. Or, in other words, which functions are definitely supported by the device.

Productivity and Vision Pro

Will Vision Pro be useful in the workplace? Absolutely. So now we know for sure that these applications are already being actively used with Vision Pro. This means that your app has a chance to become the new rock star among productivity apps.

Communication and visionOS Applications

Digital avatars or "personas" are another futuristic (not anymore) feature that gives headset users the ability to create a virtual version of their face. All you need to do is scan your face. Here are the apps that already allow you to do this:

Design and visionOS Applications

Designers and creative people will appreciate that with Vision Pro you can now create 3D designs or turn text into images. You can use these apps to do this:

The Future of App Development with Apple Vision Pro

While some ambitious ideas are already in the Vision Pro ecosystem, JetBase firmly believes this space will keep expanding. From augmented reality fitness to productivity-boosting solutions, the platform has plenty of room for fresh solutions. This is why we’ve been working on Vision Pro app development, helping companies push their solutions into a new era.

We don't just say that, we really believe it, because we have visionOS apps in our portfolio that have been successfully submitted and continue to take our clients' businesses to the next level.

With plenty of room for new products that use gestures and eye movement for communication, daily tasks, and solving accessibility issues, the market is wide open. JetBase would be glad to lend our knowledge of Vision Pro for your app. Whether you want one made from scratch or need to adapt your existing app for Vision Pro’s standards and capabilities, we can do it. Get in touch to schedule a consultation and start collaborating.

Tags:
  • App Development
  • Vision Pro
  • VisionOS

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