Navigating the Development Landscape for Apple Vision Pro: Unity vs VisionOS

The tech landscape is buzzing with the launch of Apple Vision Pro, a device that's already redefining mixed reality (MR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences.

Navigating the Development Landscape for Apple Vision Pro: Unity vs VisionOS
Photo by Semeon Hrozian / Unsplash

The tech landscape is buzzing with the launch of Apple Vision Pro, a device that's already redefining mixed reality (MR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences. For developers, this brings forth a crucial decision: should you stick with the familiar territory of Unity, or dive into the native waters of VisionOS?

Both options come with their own set of advantages and challenges, making the choice anything but straightforward.

Unity: Familiarity and Flexibility

For many developers, Unity is like an old friend. It's a game engine that has proven its worth time and time again, especially in the realm of AR and VR. Here's why Unity remains a compelling choice:

Familiar Workflow: If your team is already well-versed in Unity and C#, transitioning to Vision Pro development can be relatively smooth. Unity's robust environment allows for rapid prototyping and iteration, which is crucial in the fast-paced world of tech development.

Cross-Platform Capabilities: One of Unity's biggest strengths is its ability to port applications to multiple platforms. This means you can develop once and deploy across various devices, including mobile, desktop, and other VR headsets. This cross-platform flexibility can save significant time and resources, especially as a startup.

Asset Store and Community Support: Unity's extensive asset store and active developer community provide a wealth of resources. From pre-built assets to troubleshooting advice, these resources can accelerate your development process and help overcome obstacles more efficiently.

VisionOS: Native Performance and Integration

On the other hand, VisionOS offers a native development experience that promises to leverage the full potential of Apple Vision Pro. Here are some reasons why you might consider going native:

Optimised Performance: Developing with VisionOS means you're working directly with Apple's frameworks and tools, ensuring optimal performance. Native code typically runs faster and more efficiently, providing a smoother and more responsive user experience.

Seamless Integration: VisionOS allows for deeper integration with Apple's ecosystem, including its hardware and software. This can result in features and functionalities that might be challenging to achieve with a third-party engine like Unity.

Potential Preferential Treatment: There's a case to be made that Apple might favour apps developed with their native tools. While this isn't guaranteed, it's plausible that VisionOS apps could receive better support and possibly even more visibility on the App Store.

The Cost Conundrum: Unity's Fees vs. Apple's Commission

Cost is another critical factor in this decision. Unity's pricing structure includes a subscription fee and a revenue share, which can add up, especially for indie developers. On the other hand, Apple takes a 30% cut of all App Store sales. Here's how the costs compare:

Unity: For Unity Pro, you’re looking at over $2,000 per year. Additionally, Unity takes a percentage of your revenue after a certain threshold. This can be a significant financial burden for small developers.

Apple's Commission: Apple's 30% commission on App Store sales is well-known and often criticised, on the dev side, your Apple Developer license is only $100.00 a year.

My Experience with Paincation: Choosing VisionOS

In our Paincation project, the choice between Unity and VisionOS was clear. We opted for VisionOS, and here's why:

  1. Project Goals and Complexity: Paincation’s objectives required a high level of performance and seamless integration with Apple's health and wellness features. Achieving this with Unity would have necessitated maintaining two codebases, significantly complicating development.
  2. Native Capabilities: VisionOS offered us the tools and frameworks to develop advanced features natively. This not only streamlined our workflow but also ensured that we could leverage the full potential of the Apple Vision Pro hardware.
  3. Long-Term Vision: While Unity's cross-platform capabilities are attractive, our focus was on creating the best possible experience for Vision Pro users (not to mention iOS, padOS). This meant prioritising native development to deliver a superior product. Making an Android version will come down the line.

Making the Right Choice for Your Project

When deciding between Unity and VisionOS, consider the following factors:

Team Expertise: If your team is already proficient in Unity, the initial development phase might be quicker and less costly. However, investing in learning VisionOS could pay off in the long run with better performance and integration.

Project Requirements: Assess the specific needs of your project. If you need advanced native features or seamless integration with Apple's ecosystem, VisionOS might be the better choice.

Financial Considerations: Calculate the total cost of development, including subscription fees, revenue sharing, and platform commissions. Weigh these against your projected revenue and budget.

Future-Proofing: Consider the long-term vision of your project. Native development might offer more opportunities for optimisation and growth within the Apple ecosystem.


Choosing between Unity and VisionOS for developing on Apple Vision Pro is a significant decision that can impact your project's success. Both options have their merits, and the best choice depends on your specific needs, expertise, and goals.

For us at Paincation, VisionOS was the clear winner due to its native capabilities and alignment with our project objectives. However, every project is unique, and what works for one might not be ideal for another.

If you're at a crossroads, weigh the pros and cons carefully, consult with your team, and consider starting with a prototype to see which platform better suits your needs. And remember, the ultimate goal is to create an exceptional user experience that takes full advantage of the revolutionary Apple Vision Pro.

If you found this blog helpful, share it with other developers and teams who might be navigating the same choices. Let's help each other make the best decisions for our projects and push the boundaries of what's possible with Apple Vision Pro.

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