So as anyone whose interested knows, today Apple released the latest developer preview of iOS 6, named iOS 6 Beta 4. Several improvements were made, but the only thing about which anyone is talking is the omission of the dedicated YouTube app from the build.
I have to admit, it’s pretty fun watching the tech community lose its collective shit online. Immediate speculation is that Apple is twisting the knife in Google’s side as much as it can. While there may be a grain of truth to that, the pure vitriolic ferocity with which this theory is being spread online may (or, to be fair, may not) have something to do with this gem of a quote from Gizmodo’s article on the subject:
Of course, with the iPhone no longer offering an app for YouTube and YouTube being owned by Google, it’s more evidence that the two companies want to kill one another.
Um, OK? At the risk of disagreeing with the venerable juggernaut of journalism that is the Gawker Network, I offer up 4 simple truths about the iOS6 YouTube debacle that may or may not help put things in perspective.
YouTube on iOS isn’t going anywhere.
Apple has officially said that anyone will be able to access YouTube content through Safari, just like it always has. From The Verge:
Our license to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended, customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser and Google is working on a new YouTube app to be on the App Store.
All Apple has done here is stop making its own YouTube app and asked Google to submit their own. When iPhone OS launched in 2007 the app store didn’t exist and Apple needed an easy way to get YouTube content on the phone to fulfill one of its tentpole offerings. Naturally, they built and licensed a native app to do exactly that. Now, with that licence coming to an end, and with myriad ways to get the same content on the iPhone, they no longer want or need to keep supporting a native app and are letting Google do it themselves. There’s no word on timing for this, but my guess is it’ll be ready for the end of September. And if not…so what?
Apple and Google are competitors.
People chalk up the differences between Apple and Google as a personal fight, and yeah, there’s some truth to an old grudge match between the two companies. But regardless of the veracity of such a claim, it bears remembering that Apple and Google are two companies vying for dominance in the same market. They’re corporate competitors, and speaking in a strictly corporate sense, not friendly ones. Each is out to crush the other. That’s the mandate. So of course Apple doesn’t want to support Google’s software in-house. It’s not like Pepsi has an agreement to help sell more Coke.
Apple is not blocking Google from the App Store
Apple’s reputation as a walled-garden ecosystem is well earned, but less deserved these days than in those of yore. Even we here at rgbFilter have written some pretty nasty articles calling Apple out on its bullshit as pertaining to the App Store and its practices. But those days are long since over and the acceptance rate in the app store, while limited, is exceptionally high. Those that don’t make it fail based on a large number of criteria, including Apple’s rule that the app must not duplicate or improve upon native iOS functionality, but mostly it’s if the thing just doesn’t work. (This OpenTracker thread actually breaks it down quite nicely.) And Apple is not doing a thing to prevent Google from having its own apps on the App store. Chrome, Gmail, and the Google Search App all live on my phone. The fact that they all work for shit is incidental; Apple is not preventing its competition from being a part of the iOS app experience. Quite the contrary; they’re inviting them in to do it so they no longer have to.
The iOS YouTube app kind of sucked anyway.
You know how you’re searching for a video on your phone? And you find it and hit play? And then you’re kicked out of the browser and into the YouTube app? And then the video has to load again? And then it only loads a small portion at a time and drops connection? And when you scrub back to kickstart it again only to have the player re-load the entire video again? And then you say “the hell with it” and decide to email it to yourself for later but you can’t because there’s no share button so you have to back up to the search screen and look for it again? Yeah I’m sure we’re ALL gonna miss that experience.
These are of course the thoughts of an individual, but in summary, the internet’s focus on the news of a lack of a dedicated Youtube app on the iPhone only proves that people don’t give a shit about the olympics and we need something else to talk about. I think we can move on from this one.
iOS 6 is widely expected to be released on September 12 alongside the newly announced next-generation iPhone. Prepare to access Youtube one of a dozen different ways come early Fall.