Worried about what apps will actually come with the Vision Pro? Here’s what Apple has planned

Apple’s take on the virtual computing headset, the Vision Pro, will soon be in people's hands (and on their heads), but there's been some concern about what apps will actually be available to run natively – and thankfully, Apple has now given us an idea.

In an official Newsroom post, Apple stated that the Vision Pro App Store will offer “spatial computing experiences unlike any other platform.” The Vision Pro’s capabilities will allow users to experience apps in a whole new way – allowing users to scale apps to nearly any size and arrange them to anywhere in their field of vision.

These apps, which have been specially made for the Vision Pro, certainly sound exciting, but we've recently learned that major apps such as Spotify, Netflix and YouTube won't have native Vision Pro apps – at least at launch. This will be a blow to anyone wanting to use the Vision Pro as a media player, so what exactly can we expect app-wise?

An indication of what kind of apps users can expect

Vision Pro users will be able to experience productivity, communication, entertainment (including streaming), and gaming spatial computing apps. According to Apple, because the visionOS makes use of existing developer frameworks, there are already “more than 1 million familiar apps” compatible with the Vision Pro.

Some of the apps currently in development for productivity are Microsoft 365 apps, Fantastical, JigSpace, Slack, and Apple’s Freeform. 

Apple has already shown demonstrations of Keynote and Safari visionOS apps, which 9to5Mac speculates that they may be ready to download and use (or will be very soon) and assumes that more iWork suite apps will follow in quick succession. 

Communication apps for the Vision Pro will work with the help of its Persona feature, which will still be in beta upon the Vision Pro’s launch. Apps that already qualify for this include FaceTime, Zoom, Cisco Webex, and Microsoft Teams.

Here's a list of the confirmed Vision Pro apps so far:

  • Microsoft 365
  • Fantastical (a calendar app)
  • JigSpace (for 3D presentations)
  • Slack
  • Apple Freeform
  • FaceTime
  • Zoom
  • Webex
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Apple TV (with support for Apple Immersive Video format videos)
  • Apple TV Plus (the streaming service)
  • Disney Plus
  • Max
  • Apple Arcade

The following apps have been demoed by Apple, but not yet confirmed for the Apple Vision Pro launch:

  • Apple Keynote
  • Safari

The Vision Pro's entertainment potential

One huge selling point for any virtual reality headset is how users can experience media like entertainment media and gaming. 

Some streaming services will be available and ready to use upon the Vision Pro’s arrival like Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus, Max (HBO Max and Discovery) and more, though as I mentioned earlier, there are some noticeable exceptions.

Apple has been talking about the Vision Pro’s visual display specs as one of its most cutting-edge features, particularly thanks to the new Apple Immersive Video format that makes the Vision Pro capable of processing and displaying 180-degree, 3D, 8K content with spatial audio. To take advantage of this Apple is making 150 titles available in the Apple TV app. 

Over 250 games will also be available on the Vision Pro with the Apple Arcade, with the potential for games outside of the Apple Arcade to be added as well. Apple is also adding support for PS5 and Xbox wireless controllers that can be used in conjunction with the Vision Pro for gaming.

Apple CEO Tim Cook declared the Vision Pro as “the most advanced consumer electronics device ever created,” which is certainly a bold claim. 

Virtual reality (and similar technologies) and virtual computing devices have had a mixed reception so far, and it’s an interesting move for Apple to launch an augmented reality headset (which is what it is, no matter what Apple wants us to think) when many of its competitors have instead turned their attention to artificial intelligence (AI) – something Apple has so far not shown much interest in. But who knows? If the product is really as good as Apple wants us to think it is, and the price point comes down a little in the future, this could be the next Apple product that becomes a part of our everyday life – but it'll need more apps before it can manage that.

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Windows 11 lost users this month – should Microsoft be worried?

Windows 11 has slipped with its market share over the last month, at least going by a report from one analytics firm.

According to Statcounter’s figures for May, Windows 11 fell to a market share of 22.95% (across all Windows versions). That’s only a touch lower than April, during which Windows 11 stood at 23.11% – but it’s a real surprise to see Windows 11 effectively stall at this point (we’ll discuss why shortly).

Windows 10 rose very slightly to hit 71.9%, and it remains by far the most dominant version of Windows, even though Windows 11 has been around for a year and a half now.

Microsoft’s newest operating system has made slow progress, and particularly with this latest small stumble, that must be something of a concern for the company.

Elsewhere in the stats, Windows 7 remains fairly static on 3.6%, and Windows 8 versions amount to 1.09%.

Windows XP, believe it or not, still has users out there, holding a 0.32% niche market share. (There are reasons some might be forced to use Windows XP, as we chewed over recently – that said, though, if you are running the ancient OS, you really should be keeping it fully offline for obvious reasons).

Analysis: Trouble ahead for Microsoft?

The reason why Windows 11 slipping slightly for adoption is so surprising is because recently the operating system has been taking some sizeable strides forward (with Statcounter’s figures for earlier this year).

Now, granted, some of that was due to Windows 7 finishing its extended support period, meaning a bunch of users were then forced to migrate – initially more to Windows 10 than 11, but both platforms saw a boost.

However, even after Windows 7’s userbase settled at its new lower level (just under 4%), where it’s been for a few months now, Windows 11 has been up by a significant market share over the last two months – about 2% for both March and April in fact.

This led us to believe that the OS was having something of a surge, and would finally start making serious headway towards that 30% mark – but now, in May’s figures, we see Windows 11 having stalled.

Why might that be? The irony is that Microsoft announced the end of feature updates for Windows 10 at the close of April, a move that was clearly designed to persuade folks to migrate to Windows 11 (if they want any new features at all – except for minor tweaks). And yet during May, Windows 11 has suddenly floundered compared to the rest of 2023.

Is that an element of pushback, people digging their heels in – rather like our reaction to the end of feature updates for Windows 10? Perhaps there’s a touch of that here.

Windows 11

(Image credit: Unsplash)

More likely, though, this could be bound up in faltering laptop sales, with fewer new pieces of hardware being sold – cost of living crisis, and all – resulting in less progress for Windows 11, maybe? That’s certainly a compelling possibility, as the current PC slump is being seen to hit some laptop makers hard (in the consumer and business arenas).

It’s possible, too, that we could be starting to hit a wall in terms of the number of PCs that are actually capable of being upgraded to Windows 11 (at least without changes to meet the more stringent hardware requirements, like adding a TPM module – and folks may not want to be bothered with that kind of hassle). Combined with lower sales of new PCs, this could be a recipe for a poor outlook, at least in the shorter-term, for Microsoft.

That said, all this theorizing aside, we shouldn’t get carried away with one month, and a single set of figures, from one analyst firm. Let’s keep an eye on Statcounter next month, and if Windows 11 once again flails around, then it’ll be time for Microsoft to be concerned about how its new OS is being received. After all, with the recent announcement of the Copilot AI – and killing off Cortana in Windows 10 (where it won’t have Copilot as a replacement) – Microsoft will doubtless be expecting to generate more footfall of users heading towards Windows 11.

If not, then Windows 11 is likely to have a tough time of things until we get closer to the end for Windows 10 starting to come into view (2025). Either that, or the current PC sales slump starts to ease off…

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ChatGPT lands on the Apple Watch and Siri should be worried

Just a few months after its integration into Bing, ChatGPT has made the leap to iOS as a third-party app exclusively for the Apple Watch.

It’s called Petey – AI Assistant and it was created by developer Hidde van de Ploeg (listed as Modum B.V. on the App Store). Originally, it was known as watchGPT, but due to trademarking issues with the acronym “GPT”, the name had to be changed. Looking at a demo video posted by the developer on Twitter, Petey functions similarly to Siri. You open the app, ask it a question and it answers in just a few seconds via Text to Speech. To continue an inquiry, you swipe down on the watch face, then tap Reply. Unlike Apple’s own Siri, Petey as an assistant can provide fairly complex answers like giving steps on how to catch a fish.

One of the problems with voice assistants like Siri is that they are fairly rigid in what they can do. You have to ask those AIs specific questions in a certain manner to get a response. ChatGPT, on the other hand, is more flexible in what it can do, from writing business letters to even drafting Christmas stories. It’s hard to say exactly how capable Petey is, but at the very least, it appears you won’t have to struggle with it as much.

A work in progress

Petey is a work in progress as new features are constantly being added. Right now you have a handful to work with. For starters, you can share the responses with other people “via text, email, or social media” although the App Store listing doesn’t specify which ones.

The app can be set as a complication on the Apple Watch’s face for quick access. Support for multiple languages is growing as well, bringing the total to 14.  Petey now supports German, Italian, and Japanese, just to name a few. Also if you prefer, Petey comes with a tiny, on-screen keyboard so you can type in your questions. You’re probably better off using your voice.

As for future updates, there are several things in the works. From what is known, van der Ploeg is working on adding a History tool so you can go back to a previous question, making vocal inputs the default setting, and improving the app’s overall performance so you can ask it multiple questions.

There are a couple of caveats, however. One: the app isn’t free as you’ll have to purchase it for $ 4.99 (about £4, over $ 7 AUD, and almost €5) on the App Store. To use Petey, you must have an Apple Watch running on watchOS 9 or up. So make sure you update your device if you haven't already. We should mention the software does not collect user data so rest assured, your privacy is safe.

Users with an Android smartwatch will be out of luck, unfortunately. When asked about a potential Android version, van der Ploeg said there won't be one as his “skillset wouldn't allow [for] that”.

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Torvalds admits he’s a bit worried about the next Linux build

The speed at which Linux developers are working on version 5.17 of the popular kernel has gotten the OS’ boss a bit worried.

In the weekly State of the kernel post, Linux creator (and the biggest developer)  Linus Torvalds, said he believed the progress (or lack thereof) wasn’t caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, or “whatever crazy things are going on in the world”, as these things “don't seem to have affected the kernel much.”

However, the number of known regressions that Torvalds is claiming have been out there since late January have affected the development cycle. Although these “don't seem all that big and scary”, Torvalds did stress that some of them were reported right after the rc1 release, meaning they’re getting somewhat stale. 

Linux “looks fine”

“I'd hate to have to delay 5.17 just because of them, and I'm starting to be a bit worried here. I think all the affected maintainers know who they are,” he concluded, before urging subsystem maintainers to make these regressions a priority. 

Torvalds also seems to be extra careful not to cause any panic, saying “but on the whole, things look fine. Just a few remaining warts is all. But the more testing to verify, the better.”

Linux, an operating system that, in its early days, couldn’t stand next to the likes of Windows, or macOS, has grown immensely popular with the proliferation of mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT). An open-source Unix-like operating system, based on the Linux kernel, the OS now powers Android, the world’s biggest and most popular mobile operating system.

Furthermore, many IoT manufacturers have deployed Linux on their devices, as well.

However, some manufacturers are also moving away from Linux. Google, for example, is developing an entirely new operating system for some of its IoT and smart home devices, called Fuchsia OS. This new OS, which is still in early development phase, is based on a new kernel named Zircon.

Via: The Register 

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