Apple’s newly launched Vision Pro mixed-reality headset is in a curious position, with low sales in the present but (the company hopes) a huge future ahead of it as Cupertino’s pre-eminent computing platform. In this context, it’s understandable that Apple might choose to use the leverage of already dominant platforms like the iPhone to nudge customers towards Vision Pro and get them on board with the visionOS experience.
According to a new report, in fact, Apple plans to do exactly that later this year, when it will redesign the iOS and iPadOS operating systems that run on iPhone and iPad to look and feel more like visionOS.
Israeli news site The Verifier says (converted from the original Hebrew by Chrome’s built-in translator) it “learned a few weeks ago that Apple is working on bringing elements from the visionOS operating system of the Vision Pro glasses into the iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 updates.” It adds that “the visionOS operating system is the model that Apple [is using] to update the user interface on the iPhone.”
The site doesn’t offer any indication of its source for this theory. It also isn’t clear whether this move is intended to accustom users to the visual mannerisms and conventions of the Vision Pro with a more efficient interface or make sweeping visual changes with circular icons and streamlined app designs. Either way, it would be risky, potentially alienating users of the device which is by far Apple’s biggest source of revenue for the benefit of one which is the very definition of niche. (Longtime readers will recall the furious pushback when Apple made significant changes to the iPhone interface as part of the iOS 7 update. Users, as a general rule, dislike change.)
It’s not surprising that Apple would want to homogenize its operating systems, but it should be pointed out, however, that there are question marks over the reliability of the report. The Verifier is a prolific reporter of Apple rumors but has a hit-and-miss relationship with the truth: AppleTrack currently assigns it an accuracy score of just 53.9 percent, with numerous unambiguous errors scattered through its track record. Combine this spotty record with the lack of a named source in this case, and the lack of corroboration from other sources, and the risky nature of such a move, and we are skeptical about the chances of this happening.
Still, WWDC is in June, and we will learn more about iOS 18 then. The new operating system will roll out to iPhone owners around the world in the fall after several months of beta testing, so we still have a long way to go.