Last month, Apple yanked the YouTube app that had been collecting mould on your iPhone since 2007. On one hand, nobody will miss it in iOS 6, because it was terrible. On the other hand, YouTube. But fret not, because it's back.
More importantly, it's back in a meaningful way and built by people who actually care about YouTube — people at Google, who, after all, own YouTube. The iPhone's original YouTube app was built by Apple and then abandoned. Now it's vibrant and will allow you to navigate beyond Train music videos, despite what you see in the official screenshots above. Google isn't going to let Apple dump it, and that's great news for anyone with an iPhone.
If you're familiar with YouTube for Android, the functionality is now similar on an iOS device. For instance, YouTube Channels are now easily consumed by swiping from the left, search includes predictive results, and you'll have full access to VEVO's music video library — finally. You can also share your next favourite awesome/stupid/stupidly awesome YouTube video directly from the app straight to Facebook, Twitter, iMessage or Google+. If you're on the move, the app will also employ adaptive streaming, meaning your video will adjust to the strength of your data signal, avoiding pain-in-the-arse buffering roadblocks.
A YouTube app might not sound groundbreaking, but like we suggested last month, this is what it looks like when your iPhone becomes better — and an iPad-friendly version is coming up next. Apple and Google have shifted from frenemy to slap-fight status, and dropping YouTube and Maps meant losing serious functionality on your phone. Now, we can be sure Google isn't going to ignore the iPhone. We'll have to give the app a thorough pinching and pointing before we're sure Google didn't lay another stinky app egg a la Gmail — no, we haven't forgotten about that one — but this offering at least looks like it's on solid ground.
The only thing now is wondering (and perhaps hoping) about a native iOS version of Google Maps. It's hard to imagine Apple allowing Google to step on its turf like that, but the iPhone has to prove itself against Android's mapping capabilities. [iTunes App Store]