August 09, 2012

Apple Drops YouTube From iOS–Big Step for Music & Apps

While Google (News Alert) isn’t the first major name that Apple has taken on–some may remember the Microsoft affairs of the 1990s–it has proven to be somewhat more of a fight all the same. While YouTube (NewsAlert) has had a beachhead on Apple devices since the very first iPhone, those days are coming to an end with iOS 6, as not only is the YouTube app going away, but so too is the default setting to upload mobile-recorded video to YouTube.

While on the surface, the reasons behind the app’s disappearance seem mundane enough–Apple (News Alert) issued a statement saying that their license to use the app had ended, and customers were welcome to continue using YouTube via the Safari browser or by the upcoming new YouTube app that would appear in the App Store–the question of just why Apple didn’t elect to renew that license is a big one.

Additionally, in the short term, this is going to have substantial fallout, especially in regards to music. With YouTube around, users had the capability to listen to pretty much any song they wanted, immediately, complete with video. Indeed, YouTube has the unexpected bonus of operating as an on-demand music service largely free of charge. The loss of the YouTube app–which is really only something of a stumbling block for users–poses some significant short-term changes for the music scene in general.

One, competing apps like Rdio, Spotify and MOG are going to have a golden opportunity to wrest users away from YouTube while the lag between YouTube apps is in play. They’ll have to show themselves every bit the equal of YouTube, but for music buffs who want what they want and would rather have it for free, or who would like access to their desktop-built playlists in the mobile version, it’s an undeniable opportunity.

Two, HTML5 has been facing something of an uphill battle in recent days, but with YouTube at least temporarily crippled, it’s an opportunity for HTML5 apps to show how quickly and handily they load inside Safari. Since some, like the New York Times, are already reportedly calling Google’s mobile website the thing that makes the YouTube app obsolete, this may well be just the boost HTML5 needs to get some much-needed respect.

Three, Vimeo (NewsAlert) is in line to have a shot at a big opportunity as well. When it came to concert video, YouTube was the unquestioned champ. Why not; after all, the iPhone (NewsAlert) is a very popular video-taking system, and the video automatically uploaded to YouTube anyway, so why shouldn’t YouTube be king of concert video? But with that easy upload out of the picture, at least temporarily, where else will concert videos go? Vimeo has an excellent opportunity to take that crown for itself.

Needless to say, none of this is assured. Indeed, users still have plenty of opportunity to access YouTube even in iOS 6. But the ease of it will go down, and that may well fuel some disgruntled YouTube users’ progress to other systems. Only time will tell how this move ends up.

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Edited by Rachel Ramsey


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