The best Apple Vision Pro productivity apps at launch

Posted:
in Apple Vision Pro edited January 12

While Apple shows off movies and games on Apple Vision Pro, productivity app developers are making sure you'll be able to do serious work with it too. Here are some of the stand-outs so far.

Forget games, it's going to be productivity apps like PCalc that make Vision Pro worth buying
Forget games, it's going to be productivity apps like PCalc that make Vision Pro worth buying



If you were surprised by Apple's release date for the Vision Pro, you had reason to. Traditionally, the company will promise a release for, say, winter, and it'll come out on December 22.

That actually is the official start of winter, though, so there is also an argument that Apple is very, very literal about its release dates. Either way, when it said "early 2024" for the Apple Vision Pro, there were more than a few shrugs from people assuming that meant June.

Perhaps that may have been helped by the Vision Pro operating system. "There's still a lot of work to do on the operating system and presentation," said AppleInsider in its exclusive hands-on back in August 2023.

And with the OS still being worked on, it follows that app developers could only go so far with their work. While no developer would comment on the record about when Apple told them the final release date, all of them at least implied that they'd had no early notice.

What was different was that some developers interpreted Apple's "early 2024" correctly -- and others did not.

So there are going to be some apps ready for day one, and many more that are not. Apple has only opened the Vision Pro App Store for submissions since revealing the launch date, so its review team is also going to be busy.

Productivity apps will be there and will be key



No one is going to put on a Vision Pro headset and choose Slack as their first app -- but they could. The communications app Slack is going to be one of the productivity apps on Vision Pro from the start.

Chat apps like Slack will be on Vision Pro from the start
Chat apps like Slack will be on Vision Pro from the start



Or they could take their exciting new device and settle in for another Cisco Webex video conference. If they're not a Webex user, though, they will be able to use Zoom instead.

Lesser-known -- but respected in their field -- apps such as JigSpace will also be on Vision Pro. JigSpace is a presentation app that's similar in principle to Apple's Keynote, but it's really a tool specifically for having 3D presentations

Photographers will have be able to work in Adobe Lightroom from day one
Photographers will have be able to work in Adobe Lightroom from day one



JigSpace and Numbers will be joined by Microsoft PowerPoint, too, though it's not clear whether that will be on day one. More, what's really coming to Vision Pro is the whole suite Microsoft 365 apps -- which could mean everything from Microsoft Word and Excel to Teams and OneDrive.

In practice, it's likely to be that Microsoft 365 will include only the apps that the company currently has for the Mac and iPad.

Microsoft has never brought out a version of its database app Microsoft Access or project management one, Microsoft Project, for Apple devices, for instance.

Not just a wall-sized Gantt chart in OmniPlan, but a room-sized one. (Source: Omni Group)
Not just a wall-sized Gantt chart in OmniPlan, but a room-sized one. (Source: Omni Group)

Specialized productivity apps



But one app that its developer told AppleInsider will be there on day one is OmniPlan, a long-standing project management app. There won't be as many project managers as there will be Apple Arcade players, but they'll get a larger, wider Gantt chart than they've seen before, or at least digitally.

"Large Gantt charts have been in my life for as long as I can remember," the Omni Group's Ken Case has written. "When I was young, I remember my father bringing home Gantt charts for the assembly line of the Boeing 747 in big paper rolls."

Case seems genuinely thrilled at the prospect of the Vision Pro's infinite canvas and the ability to just have charts as big as a wall.

More than Apple's hype, it's this developer enthusiasm that makes Vision Pro promising. And that attitude seems to be consistently the same whether the developer makes niche productivity apps or general use ones.

General productivity apps



Right from Apple's first unveiling of the Vision Pro, it was clear that there would be a calendar in it -- because we could all see Apple's own Calendar app. But it's not going to be the only one.

Fantastical developer Michael Simmons has confirmed to AppleInsider that the popular calendar app will be in the Vision Pro App store right from launch.

Previously he's said that just trying out Vision Pro with his company's app "was like seeing Fantastical for the first time."

Fantastical calendar app developer Michael Simmons (center, in yellow) watches as a colleague tries out the app in Vision Pro
Fantastical calendar app developer Michael Simmons (center, in yellow) watches as a colleague tries out the app in Vision Pro



"Experiencing spatial computing not only validated the designs we'd been thinking about," he continued, "it helped us start thinking not just about left to right or up and down, but beyond borders at all."

Then James Thomson has had a thing about producing a version of his PCalc calculator app for every single Apple platform going -- and he's made one for Vision Pro.

Demonstrating it on Mastodon, Thomson specifically showed a native Apple Vision Pro app running in Apple's simulator.

There will be so many more



Thomson has also mentioned something else that is going to prove significant -- he says he had previously run his iPadOS version in the Vision Pro simulator.

By default, every iPad app will be available to run on Vision Pro. This is not the same as the way that a Mac has been able to run iPad and iPhone apps since Apple Silicon was launched, however.

In that case, developers have to positively choose to create a Mac version of their app in the Xcode development tool. They don't absolutely have to do any work, but it's a conscious decision to put their iOS or iPadOS app out on macOS.

With Vision Pro, a developer will have to explicitly choose to prevent their iPad apps being available on Vision Pro. It's this ability to run iPad apps unchanged, and developers not even having to tick a box to make it happen, that is going to mean the Vision Pro App Store may be more full than, say, the Mac App Store was at launch.

Vision Pro's App Store will showcase native apps but also compatible ones built for the iPad
Vision Pro's App Store will showcase native apps but also compatible ones built for the iPad



What we have little idea about so far is how much most of these apps will cost. The OmniGroup sells its OmniPlan as a single purchase that gets you the app across the Mac, iPad and iPhone, and they confirm that it will now automatically include the Vision Pro version.

It's not as dramatic a use of Vision Pro as watching 3D dinosaurs, but being able to do this work is what may make people buy over the longterm
It's not as dramatic a use of Vision Pro as watching 3D dinosaurs, but being able to do this work is what may make people buy over the longterm



Other companies are less forthcoming about charges, though that's quite possibly as much because they're still scrabbling to finish the apps as it is that they're still guessing what people will pay.

It's certain that users will buy apps, though, and the ones that will get attention, especially at launch, are the games and the streamers. Disney+ and HBO's Max are confirmed, for instance, plus of course there will be Apple TV+.

But Vision Pro is too costly to be a casual gaming purchase, it's going to have to prove to be worth its expense. We'll have to see how effective iPadOS apps are when they run unaltered on Vision Pro, but ultimately it's going to be the native productivity apps that will make or break the new device.

If Vision Pro doesn't deliver productivity apps, there will be nothing to stop us carrying on with our existing computers -- or maybe even going further back in time, since someone did get Windows XP to work in the Vision Pro simulator.



Read on AppleInsider

«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    AppleInsider, note the out of place word in the caption text:

    “Photographers will have be able to work in Adobe Lightroom from day one”

    Adobe wasn’t mentioned in the body of the article so I was surprised, and pleased, to see this. InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop, too, please!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 38
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,329member
    "If you were surprised by Apple's release date for the Vision Pro, you had reason to. Traditionally, the company will promise a release for, say, winter, and it'll come out on December 22."

    Well, December 22 would be pretty darn early in the winter as it is the second day.

    thtmikethemartianwatto_cobrajwdawso
  • Reply 3 of 38
    I'm rarely confused with Apple's products but I'm not even sure if I can use Vision Pro with any of my current Apple products (two intel MBP, intel iMac pro, 2018 iPad Pro, iPhone 13 Pro).  If that is the case then can I use VisionPro at all?

    2024 will be a BIG Apple year for me as I intend to upgrade to the new iPad Pro, and replace my iMac with a Studio (and in the fall iPhone 16 Pro)- but I won't do that until the M3 comes out for  as I need the graphics upgrades for my business.   I also plan on registering again as an Apple Developer as I think there will be some exciting opportunities with Vision Pro.

    While I understand any Apple silicon should work with the Vision Pro (and I have none) - for myself I need a very expensive hardware upgrade for my work and it would seem that Apple would want to make that available prior to the launch of Vision Pro.


    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 38
    pslicepslice Posts: 152member
    I’ve used Mac since the 1st 128K Macintosh. I’ve purchased and used several iterations of Apple products.. But this latest is something I just cannot see myself using this latest product. I just cannot see the usefulness or the expense. Maybe I will regret saying this, but I seriously think Apple has created a beyond useful tool. Sorry, Apple.
    williamlondongrandact73
  • Reply 5 of 38
    thttht Posts: 5,536member
    It needs to have:

    Full fledged set of web browsers (Chrome, Safari, et al)
    MS Office that is feature equivalent to MS Office for Mac (Excel, Word, Powerpoint and Teams)
    Suite of comms apps (Teams, Slack, Zoom, Webex)
    Terminal.app and installable CLI packages

    They really didn't push to do this for iPad, but for Vision Pro? They really need to push to get as many PC apps as they can onto the platform. And iPads could ride its tail as it should be simple to get apps on  both platforms once you get one.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 38
    I will be a day one purchaser. Having multiple large displays, spatial home videos, and a large movie screen are killer apps for me.
    williamlondonlordjohnwhorfinForumPostwatto_cobrared oakjwdawsojony0
  • Reply 7 of 38
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,212member
    Terminal.app

    thtwilliamlondonemoellerblastdoorwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 38
    Visi(on)Calc in 3D. Brave new world.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 38
    Microsoft Project was available for the Mac from 1991 to ~ 1994 (versions 1 through 4). It is current,y available for macOS as part of Microsoft 365.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 38
    Don’t forget that all iPad apps are supposed to run on the Vision Pro.  So, while streaming apps may not initially be native, their iPad counterparts should run ok.  Using the immersion knob to enlarge the viewing area should be a killer feature if it doesn’t downgrade the video substantially.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 38
    What I learned in my long history of buying Apple products:
    Under no circumstances I will ever buy a first-generation Apple device again.
    Fool me 5 times - I am a slow learner but now I learned my lesson. 
    eriamjhwilliamlondonsternapples53muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 38
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,686member
    I’m really not impressed with PCalc, OmniPlan, chat,  movie watching on VP, or any other app that just is gonna float in front of me on a. Ritual iPad.   I have an iPad for that.   

    It’s a spatial computing device.   We need spatial computing apps (3D).   We need Iron Man’s UI for whatever the heck he does.   

    New fangled 3D design app?  Video game environments that surround you?  

    Something to take advantage of the huge surround canvas (or 180 degrees of it).   Apple said not to use the terms AR or VR to its developers, but why am I wearing goggles if I can’t get up and walk around something?

    Without a new killer app, it will be essentially useless.   No one wants to relearn how to do the same thing on a different tool.   They want a new way to do something new.  

    Home designer/ Interior decorator apps?   Just throwing ideas out.  I know nothing.   
    williamlondonsternapples53blastdoor
  • Reply 13 of 38
    eriamjh said:
    I’m really not impressed with PCalc, OmniPlan, chat,  movie watching on VP, or any other app that just is gonna float in front of me on a. Ritual iPad.   I have an iPad for that.   

    It’s a spatial computing device.   We need spatial computing apps (3D).   We need Iron Man’s UI for whatever the heck he does.   

    New fangled 3D design app?  Video game environments that surround you?  

    Something to take advantage of the huge surround canvas (or 180 degrees of it).   Apple said not to use the terms AR or VR to its developers, but why am I wearing goggles if I can’t get up and walk around something?

    Without a new killer app, it will be essentially useless.   No one wants to relearn how to do the same thing on a different tool.   They want a new way to do something new.  

    Home designer/ Interior decorator apps?   Just throwing ideas out.  I know nothing.   
    How do you know that those apps you mention aren’t going to be spatial computing apps (3D)? It sounds like those ones are specifically NOT just iPad apps running on the Vision Pro. The developers are modifying them to take advantage of the Vision Pro.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 38
    Rogue01Rogue01 Posts: 165member
    According to the first picture, they claim PCalc is going to make Vision Pro worth buying???  A $3500 calculator?  Really?

    There is no such thing as spatial computing.  That is Apple's marketing spin for AR.  Look up the definition of AR and that is exactly what Vision Pro is.  Apple will really have a hard time claiming their device is not AR, when it actually is AR.  "Augmented reality is an interactive experience that enhances the real world with computer-generated perceptual information."  That is exactly what Vision Pro does.  Another article had the best description for Vision Pro - It is an answer looking for a question.  The AR space is dead, always has been.  Plenty of surveys have been done and once the novelty wears off, the goggles sit in a bookshelf.  No one wants to wear goggles for hours.  No one wants to spend $3500 for a pair of goggles to run iPadOS apps, or PCalc.  No one will put on goggles to create a Word or PowerPoint document.  This is a product that doesn't solve any problems because no one has any interest in AR.  And that is Apple's marketing problem.  They won't be able to convince anyone that it is a 'needed' product.  It is not an iPhone solving a problem with bad smartphones.  For $3500, I would rather buy a Mac Studio and a Display and do so much more with it.

    The killer tech at CES was the transparent Micro LED TVs.  Those demos were incredible.
    edited January 12 williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 38
    Rogue01Rogue01 Posts: 165member

    sunman42 said:
    Microsoft Project was available for the Mac from 1991 to ~ 1994 (versions 1 through 4). It is current,y available for macOS as part of Microsoft 365.
    Microsoft Project does not exist on the Mac.  It is a Windows only application.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 16 of 38
    Rogue01Rogue01 Posts: 165member

    emoeller said:
    I'm rarely confused with Apple's products but I'm not even sure if I can use Vision Pro with any of my current Apple products (two intel MBP, intel iMac pro, 2018 iPad Pro, iPhone 13 Pro).  If that is the case then can I use VisionPro at all?

    2024 will be a BIG Apple year for me as I intend to upgrade to the new iPad Pro, and replace my iMac with a Studio (and in the fall iPhone 16 Pro)- but I won't do that until the M3 comes out for  as I need the graphics upgrades for my business.   I also plan on registering again as an Apple Developer as I think there will be some exciting opportunities with Vision Pro.

    While I understand any Apple silicon should work with the Vision Pro (and I have none) - for myself I need a very expensive hardware upgrade for my work and it would seem that Apple would want to make that available prior to the launch of Vision Pro.


    You don't use VisionPro with your Apple products.  You can mirror a Mac image to VisionPro, but Apple will likely restrict that to Apple Silicon Macs only.  VisionPro runs iPadOS apps, not macOS apps, so you will download those apps to the tiny 256GB storage in a $3500 pair of goggles.  It is mainly a stand-alone device.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 17 of 38
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,094member
    tht said:
    It needs to have:

    Full fledged set of web browsers (Chrome, Safari, et al)
    MS Office that is feature equivalent to MS Office for Mac (Excel, Word, Powerpoint and Teams)
    Suite of comms apps (Teams, Slack, Zoom, Webex)
    Terminal.app and installable CLI packages

    They really didn't push to do this for iPad, but for Vision Pro? They really need to push to get as many PC apps as they can onto the platform. And iPads could ride its tail as it should be simple to get apps on  both platforms once you get one.


    None of those Apps will sell any Apple device let alone a Apple Vision Pro, that is a laundry list for a weak HP or Dell laptop and Safari can't run on it.
    jwdawso
  • Reply 18 of 38
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,094member
    AppleInsider, note the out of place word in the caption text:

    “Photographers will have be able to work in Adobe Lightroom from day one”

    Adobe wasn’t mentioned in the body of the article so I was surprised, and pleased, to see this. InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop, too, please!
    Adobe hasn't made any opening night for any Apple device or Apple OSX intro in thirty years, I don't think they will start now. 
    thtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 38
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,387member
    AI said:
    While Apple shows off movies... on Apple Vision Pro

    They did? Where? CES? They normally don't do CES.

    Movies is all I want from the Vision Pro, depending on how the experience fleshes out. All the other stuff is either icing or fluff to me. That's my area of interest. I'll be watching this closely.

    AI said:
    Traditionally, the company will promise a release for, say, winter, and it'll come out on December 22.
    As often as not, it could be March 20, the last day of Winter. 
    "We did say 'Winter' and that's still winter!"




    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 38
    eyekey said:
    What I learned in my long history of buying Apple products:
    Under no circumstances I will ever buy a first-generation Apple device again.
    Fool me 5 times - I am a slow learner but now I learned my lesson. 
    The first ever M1 laptops are perfect counter examples of your statement. More than two years after launch, they still more than hold their own, and early adopters didn’t pay an inflated price.
    While the VP’s price makes it a product that is obviously not for the mass market, it is justified by the complex hardware (so many cameras, lasers, cutting edge displays…) not to mention the astronomical development costs.

    The display performance, spectacular 3D, responsiveness and onboard M2 are bound to attract gamers and avid movie fans, but there are many other uses where it will be a must have: being able to work comfortably on a plane coach seat, on a bus or train, without people looking at your screen; opening new ways of communication for persons with severely restricted mobility…
    I’ll be in line on Feb 2. Maybe I drank the Kool-Aid, but I think as soon as people start playing with the AP it eill be a massive hit.
    watto_cobrared oakjwdawso
Sign In or Register to comment.