Netflix Has No App for VisionOS

Mark Gurman:

Netflix Inc. isn’t planning to launch an app for Apple Inc.’s upcoming Vision Pro headset, marking a high-profile snub of the new technology by the world’s biggest video subscription service.

Rather than designing a Vision Pro app — or even just supporting its existing iPad app on the platform — Netflix is essentially taking a pass. The company, which competes with Apple in streaming, said in a statement that users interested in watching its content on the device can do so from the web. [...]

The fact that Netflix isn’t even willing to support the iPad approach suggests that it’s taking a wait-and-see stance with the headset. It’s also a bit of a reversal for the company, which said in July that it would support its iPad app on the Vision Pro. Even then, though, Netflix didn’t plan to release software specifically for the headset’s operating system, visionOS.

“Said in July” links to a report from Gurman himself, which states:

But the biggest streamer of all, Netflix Inc., will take a pass. I’m told that the company has no current plans to develop a native app for the Vision Pro. Of course, Netflix will still let its iPad app run on the headset unmodified.

“Of course”!

Here’s the statement from Netflix:

“Our members will be able to enjoy Netflix on the web browser on the Vision Pro, similar to how our members can enjoy Netflix on Macs,” Los Gatos, California-based Netflix said in the statement.

Mac users sure do enjoy not being able to download Netflix movies or shows for offline viewing — you know, like in an airplane, one of the most obvious and common places where Vision Pro will be used.

Not having a native VisionOS app is one thing. Apparently having no current plans to make one is another. But it really feels like pure corporate spite — a pissing match — that Netflix is refusing to allow their iPad app to run on VisionOS. The iPad-app-on-Vision experience is actually pretty good, and for streaming apps in particular, ought to be fine. Not impressive, like the native VisionOS Disney+ app, but just fine. I’ll bet that Netflix is the only major streaming service without an app on VisionOS — iPad or native — on day one. Perhaps Netflix is using this as a negotiating tactic for something in return from Apple?

In addition to the fact that only being available through the web means no offline viewing, it might also mean that VisionOS users will not be able to launch Netflix from their home screens. I’m not sure if VisionOS Safari has an “Add to Home Screen” feature, but if it doesn’t, that’s going to be an annoyance for Vision Pro users who want to watch Netflix. Telling Siri to open “netflix dot com” might be the only way to get there from your home screen.

Thursday, 18 January 2024