Back when the iPhone first launched, there was a joke about the YouTube app on it. One nerd, or tech reviewer, would describe it as a “dumbed-down YouTube experience.” To which another would shoot back: “is that even possible?”
Well, here we are, five years later. YouTube the service has gotten a whole lot stronger and smarter in so many ways (as well as a whole lot dumber in some of its corners — something which turns out to be exceedingly and eternally possible).
But the iPhone app, even transplanted to the iPad, has stayed exactly as dumb as it always was. It’ll find the YouTube content you want a third of the time, if you’re lucky. They should call it YouRoulette, because you never know what a search might bring.
No wonder iPhone users in the know long ago switched to simply going to m.youtube.com on Safari, where a lot more stuff is available. When I heard about that fix, I was mad as hell at myself for all the wasted time on the app.
And from whom did I hear it? From YouTube staffers themselves. Even they didn’t believe in the thing.
So it’s really not such a bummer to hear Monday’s news — Apple has dumped the YouTube app from the next iPhone/iPad operating system, iOS 6. It’s ostensibly because “our license to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended,” according to an Apple spokesperson.
I’m sure it has, but I’m also sure Apple couldn’t be more relieved about that. This is a company that cares about great design, about stuff that just works, and the YouTube app was never that. It was so hobbled, it reminded me of the awful old WAP mobile web browsers that Apple effectively destroyed with the iPhone.
I’m also sure it’s just a coincidence that Apple is distancing itself from Google in general, for example replacing the Google Maps app in iOS6 with its own (called, confusingly enough, Maps). If you want the Google Maps iPhone app, chances are you’ll have to download it again — though what we don’t know is whether you’ll be able to make it the default for maps.
We do know that Google is working on a new YouTube app, according to the same Apple source. We’re still waiting for confirmation from YouTube.
Regardless, we’ll soon see the end of an app experience so poor, it couldn’t have made the iPhone look worse if the Android team had planted it there.
You’ll notice it’s one of the few original apps you can’t actually delete on your iPhone? Consider it deleted now, and good riddance.