Apple Yanks YouTube

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Apple removes YouTube app from iOS

iOS 6 will no longer have a YouTube app pre-installed. As usual, the blogosphere is making a mountain out of a molehill. iOS users will be able to download a YouTube app developed by Google. As always, YouTube is a fully functional website accessible to mobile Safari users.

I feel that there are real, compelling issues to inspire criticism of Apple. Their decision to hand development of the YouTube app back to Google/YouTube seems administrative, not conspiratorial. I welcome the decision. One cannot delete the YouTube app, and I haven’t really used it. It has the same ham-fisted user interface as iTunes for iOS. I prefer the YouTube website on mobile Safari, when I am not watching it on my Apple TV or Mac. It’s not only better, but I think it is ludicrous to have a dedicated app for a website, unless it can offer offline viewing or additional functionality, which it does not. This app just takes up space, and I welcome its absence. Good riddance!

This app is a legacy of the first iPhone. The app was developed by Apple, not YouTube or Google. This feature was so central to the device, we were bombarded with advertisements of the dog skateboarding on YouTube. Now there are many smart phones that enable users to watch YouTube and more.

The YouTube experience as a website on mobile Safari is superior. The videos playback as expected, with AirPlay functionality if you want to watch them on the big screen. You can comment on videos and view your subscriptions. Neither the app nor the website enable video uploads. This is a shortcoming of Safari, as it does not support the html file upload form field. Instead, one uploads the video onto YouTube directly from the camera roll, which is more convenient (albeit locking the user into a small set of partners — YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). If this was an anti-competitive move, they would remove such functionality. Indeed, the presence of YouTube sharing directly from the camera roll demonstrates Apple’s respect for the ubiquitous video portal. Where’s the outrage that one cannot upload to Vimeo from the camera roll?!?

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