Step one, take off the headset

Steve Troughton-Smith asks an interesting question on Mastodon:

“Why would anybody use my app in VR?” isn’t the right question to ask yourself. It’s “do I want my users to have to take off their headset to use my app?”

His post is clearly intended to have the obvious answer “no”, but I’m not sure there is a universal answer. I decided to opt-out of visionOS for my iPad apps, for now. I’m not sold on the device yet, and I have a bunch of other things to work on anyway.

It got me thinking about Apple’s own apps. For example, Books. Would you want to read a novel inside VR? You aren’t going to want to have Slack and other apps floating in space to distract you. An iPad seems like a better device for reading. Maybe if the book is surrounded by a virtual environment from the book within visionOS, adding a sense of being there? Apple seems to think so, because it does include the iPad version of Books with the Vision Pro.

Through the history of technology there are many “just because we could do it” moments. TikTok has swiping through an infinite feed of limitless content and users are probably worse off for it. I think the Vision Pro is going to be the same way, as developers feel out what makes sense on the device, and consider what is right for users. If some apps require taking off the headset, that might even be a good thing.

Manton Reece @manton