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Apple Won't Let Vision Pro Developers Describe Their Apps As VR, AR, MR, Or XR

Apple Won't Let Vision Pro Developers Describe Their Apps As VR, AR, MR, Or XR

Apple is imposing strict requirements on how developers describe their Vision Pro apps.

In a new summary for developers of how to submit their app to the App Store for Vision Pro, Apple makes clear that acronyms like AR, VR, MR, and XR are not to be used. Instead, apps should be referred to as "spatial":

• Spatial computing: Refer to your app as a spatial computing app. Don’t describe your app experience as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), extended reality (XR), or mixed reality (MR).

This is despite Tim Cook describing the visionOS operating system as "an entirely new AR platform" when announcing it at WWDC 2023 back in June, and one of visionOS's core SDKs being called ARKit.

Apple does use the term AR for iPhone and iPad experiences built with ARKit, as can be seen on the company's Augmented Reality showcase web page.

Vision Pro, however, is described by Apple as a "spatial computer", not an AR headset. The new App Store submission requirements also instruct developers that they must not refer to Vision Pro generically as a "headset."

What the rest of the industry calls virtual reality (VR) Apple simply refers to as "fully immersive", seemingly taking the view that immersion is a spectrum within spatial computing, with content not needing specific terms for distinct points along that spectrum.

It's unclear how strongly Apple will enforce these rules, and whether or not they apply to app titles. Would VRChat have to be renamed to SpatialChat to hypothetically launch on Vision Pro, for example?

Apple Vision Pro Launches In The US On February 2
Apple Vision Pro will launch in the US on February 2, and preorders open on January 19, next Friday.

Vision Pro developers have had access to the SDK since June, and have been able to test their apps in the visionOS simulator. With the headset set to launch in just under one month, many developers are currently scrambling to get their apps ready to be available as soon as possible after launch - though some might have to adjust their branding to fit Apple's requirements.

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