The New Stuff

YouTube Mobile Makes Native iPhone App Irrelevant

It looks like the boys and girls at YouTube have for the first time (at least in my iLife) demonstrated how a web app can be superior to a native app on the iPhone.

Lovers of the iDevice visiting will be greeted with a page that not only offers users more features than the (stagnant) native app, but also displays videos in higher quality as well.

We launched YouTube on mobile devices in 2007 with about 1,000 videos available on the mobile site ( While this suddenly opened up the possibility to access videos on the go, our site, mobile browsers and the hardware had limitations that prevented the mobile experience from keeping up with YouTube on the desktop. Today, more than ever, we know that you want to be able to find and access your favorite videos wherever you are. That’s why we’re rolling out an updated version of the mobile site. […]

It [YouTube mobile] incorporates the features and functionality you’ve come to expect from the .com site, like search query suggestions, the options to create playlists, the ability to designate “favorite,” “like” or “unlike” videos directly from your device. (Official YouTube Blog)

Later on throughout the post YouTube seems to show some animosity towards Apple’s native YouTube app, expressing strong hints that the native app was “inferior” in every way.

Here is a promo video Google released with a soccer theme (thanks in part to the world cup) showcasing the new web app.

Although not clearly highlighted in the video above, the web app strongly embraces HTML5.

YouTube has hinted that not only will the web app feature more content than its native sibling, but that content creators will also be able to display ads to mobile devices via YouTube’s web app.

Now that Apple and Google are officially rivals (thanks in part to Android’s rising success) we will probably not see Cupertino updating the native YouTube app anytime soon (which they control instead of Google).

Unfortunately for Apple, YouTube’s web app may make the native one irrelevant (provided that Google can convince the masses to switch away to the new mobile site).

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