Official YouTube iPhone app launched

Google has released an official YouTube app for iPhone onto the App Store. This is in preparation for iOS 6, which will remove Apple’s long-running native YouTube app from the equation.

Last month Apple revealed that the next version of iOS, iOS 6, would omit the native YouTube app. In a sign of the widening gap between the two companies, Apple has allowed its YouTube license to lapse.

As we reported then, this looked likely to be a positive move for iPhone owners, as Apple had badly neglected its own YouTube app in recent years while the Google-made Android version went from strength to strength.

From our early hands-on time with the new app, that appears to have proved true. The new app is prettier, quicker and more streamlined. Fresh videos are featured in screen-width thumbnails on a scrolling list, while swiping right brings up a scrolling menu of video types and account options. This can be accessed from within the individual videos too, making for quick and easy navigation.

Predictive search has also been implemented, and there’s a new social element that allows you to share videos quickly to your Facebook, Twitter or Google account.

The timing for this YouTube app launch is impeccable, with iOS 6 set to launch alongside the new iPhone on September 12.

Google’s YouTube Mobile team also reveals that it’s working on a YouTube app for iPad, so owners of the Apple tablet will have to make do with the creaky old Apple app (or this unoptimised iPhone version) for the time being.

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