Vision Pro may not be able to run Apple Intelligence

Yesterday, Gruber broke what, in my opinion, is the most important news story regarding Apple Vision Pro since its launch in February. Emphasis mine:

VisionOS 2 is not getting any Apple Intelligence features, despite the fact that the Vision Pro has an M2 chip. One reason is that VisionOS remains a dripping-wet new platform — Apple is still busy building the fundamentals, like rearranging and organizing apps in the Home view. VisionOS 2 isn’t even getting features like Math Notes, which, as I mentioned above, isn’t even under the Apple Intelligence umbrella. But another reason is that, according to well-informed little birdies, Vision Pro is already making significant use of the M2’s Neural Engine to supplement the R1 chip for real-time processing purposes — occlusion and object detection, things like that. With M-series-equipped Macs and iPads, the Neural Engine is basically sitting there, fully available for Apple Intelligence features. With the Vision Pro, it’s already being used.

Not being able to run Apple Intelligence would be a devastating blow to any role Vision Pro might serve as Apple's halo car—an expensive gadget most people won't (and shouldn't) buy, but which plays an aspirational role in the lineup and demonstrates their technology and design prowess.

Now, couple this with rumors that work on Vision Pro 2 has been suspended, and it starts to look like we won't see any Apple Intelligence features on the visionOS platform until late 2026 at the earliest. How dated and limited will Apple Vision Pro seem in late 2026 if most new features coming to Apple's other platforms—including, one imagines, updated Watch, Apple TV, and HomePod hardware—don't find their way to Vision Pro, putting its user experience further and further behind?

At launch, I heard a lot of people jokingly refer to Vision Pro as, "an iPad strapped to your face." Recently, as it's become clear most people are using it to watch TV and for Mac screen sharing, Marco Arment said it was more like a mere Apple TV strapped to your face. But if the hardware really can't support Apple Intelligence and isn't going to be updated for several years, how long before Vision Pro feels like an original HomePod strapped to your face?

Got a taste for hot, fresh takes?

Then you're in luck, because you can subscribe to this site via RSS or Mastodon! And if that ain't enough, then sign up for my newsletter and I'll send you a usually-pretty-good essay once a month. I also have a solo podcast, because of course I do.