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Xcode 15.2 Stabilizes Support for the Apple Vision Pro Spatial Computing Headset

MMS Founder
MMS Sergio De Simone

Article originally posted on InfoQ. Visit InfoQ

Apple released the first stable version of its new visionOS SDK, providing support to create apps for the Apple Vision Pro and submitting them to the App Store. The new SDK is available in Xcode 15.2.

After introducing visionOS at WWDC 2023 and making the visionOS SDK available to developers in beta, Apple has been working to stabilize it and make it ready for prime time. With Vision Pro devices becoming available to the general public on February 2, Apple is now releasing the first production-ready version of the visionOS SDK.

The release includes new features in several key frameworks, including Accelerate, StoreKit, and UIKit, and many bug fixes.

A key component of the visionOS SDK is the visionOS simulator, which allows developers to test their existing apps for compatibility with visionOS without needing to buy a Vision Pro device. According to Apple, in most cases existing apps will only need to be recompiled using Xcode 15.2 to be able to run on visionOS devices.

While this is true, a number of iOS frameworks have been entirely deprecated for visionOS, including Address Book, GLKit, iAd, and others, which means that some level of effort will be required to isolate non-portable code in separate source files or use conditional statements. Likewise, many other frameworks include significant changes that could require additional work, including ARKit, MapKit, CoreMotion, and others.

Additionally, existing apps should consider the possibility of leveraging visionOS-specific UI features, says Apple, such as adding depth to windows, using 3D models and shapes, presenting an immersive experience where the app content can be placed anywhere in the user’s surroundings, and interacting with the user’s surroundings. However, only SwiftUI apps can be customized to leverage all visionOS interface features. Do not miss Apple’s visionOS migration guide if you are interested.

In addition to visionOS SDK support, Xcode 15.2 integrates Swift 5.9, as well as support for the latest versions of all Apple SDKs.

Xcode 15.2 can be installed through the Mac App Store or downloaded from Apple developer website. It is compatible with macOS 13.5 or later. The visionOS SDK can only run on Apple Silicon.

With visionOS Apple aims at exploring a new computing paradigm, dubbed spatial computing, to deliver 3D experiences for productivity, entertainment, and gaming. Users can interact with apps on an infinite canvas where virtual content blends with their surroundings, or leverage VR to create completely synthetic worlds. Spatial computing is a slightly different take on the idea of using computing devices to create immersive virtual worlds from the Metaverse, pursued by Meta for a short time, which aims to create virtual worlds where users are represented by avatars and interact with other users.

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