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YouTube launches brand-new iPhone app after getting the boot from iOS 6

When iOS 6 Beta 4 was released to developers last month, it was discovered that the YouTube app, a staple of iOS since the first iPhone launched in 2007, had been removed. Apple confirmed the news, stating that YouTube would not be included with iOS 6 as their licensing agreement with Google had expired. At the time, Google assured users that they were building a new YouTube app for iOS which would be available on the App Store in time for the launch of iOS 6. Today, Google delivered with the launch of a brand-new native YouTube app for iPhone and iPod touch, now available on the App Store.

The new YouTube app features an interface not dissimilar to that of the Google+ app. The main view displays your subscription feed as a scrollable list of “cards”, and you can set this screen to display “Uploads only” or “Highlights”, which will include extra content such as Suggested Videos. A quick swipe to the right will reveal a menu with access to your account and settings, Subscriptions, and Channel Guide. The menu is quite bare-bones, though is nearly identical to the one on YouTube’s desktop site, and it would be nice to see shortcuts for things like Favourites, Playlists, and Watch Later added in a future update.

The new video player screen looks like a re-skinned version of the old iOS YouTube app. The top half of the screen displays the video (which will automatically jump to fullscreen when you rotate the device into landscape), while the bottom half shows video information, related videos, and comments. Fullscreen video playback uses a skinned video player with direct access to Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down, and sharing options.

Overall, the app is very fast and fluid. Most of the functionality of the old YouTube app is still present, though there is currently no option to upload videos directly from the app. One other complaint I could make is that the app doesn’t support background audio playback, so if you were hoping to stream music from YouTube and listen to it in the background, you’re out of luck.

Interestingly, the new YouTube app is compatible with iOS 4.3 and higher – despite the fact that Apple has no plans to remove the built-in YouTube app from earlier versions of iOS. Regardless, iOS 6 users will be happy to have a native YouTube app available right out of the gate, which I will say is a much better option than YouTube’s mobile site.

Source: YouTube
Get the App: iTunes

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Native YouTube app will not be included with iOS 6 (update)

Apple released the fourth Developer beta of iOS 6 today, and among a few performance tweaks was a startling omission first discovered by 9to5Mac: the native YouTube app that has shipped with iOS since version 1 has disappeared. And according to Apple, it won’t be coming back.

While many initially assumed this was a beta bug, Apple quickly confirmed that the native YouTube app will not be built-in to iOS 6 when it launches publicly in the Fall. Speaking to The Verge, an Apple spokesperson explained that their license to include a YouTube app with iOS has expired, and that Google is working on a new official YouTube app for the App Store.

“Our license to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended…”

Interestingly, the YouTube app will not be removed from any previous version of iOS, leading many to wonder if licensing is the real reason behind YouTube’s removal. AllThingsD speculates that Google wants to get ads in front of YouTube users on iOS, as they already do with the official VEVO app, and could do with YouTube if they were to build the app themselves. In fact, a Google made YouTube app may end up being good news for iOS users; Google will be able to ensure feature parity with the Android version and update it as they please (something Apple hasn’t done since the original iPhone launched in 2007). Of course, Apple seems dead set on removing all Google services from iOS, having already announced they will replace Google Maps with an in-house alternative in iOS 6, and this would seem to be the logical next step in that process.

Whatever the real reason, for now, iPhone users will be forced to use Google’s YouTube web app until the new official YouTube app hits the App Store. Whenever that may be.

UPDATE: Peter Kafka of AllThingsD received this fairly vague statement from YouTube: “We are working with Apple to make sure we have the best possible YouTube experience for iOS users.”

Source: 9to5Mac, The Verge, AllThingsD