YouTube's new app for the iPhone and iPod touch is now live and available for download. The news comes a month after Apple said it wouldn't include its own YouTube app in the next version of iOS, thereby paving the way for YouTube to build and deploy its own.
In a blog post, YouTube described some of the key benefits of the new app: tens of thousands more videos, a channel guide with swipe navigation, enhanced search tools and the ability to share videos via Facebook, Google+, Twitter, email and text. I'm not an iPhone user (though plan to be shortly), so I haven't been able to test the new app. However, the description suggests a lot of commonality with the Android app I'm accustomed to, though the UI does seem a bit different.
The other big change in the new YouTube app is the presence of ads. As I wrote last month when the news about Apple dropping its YouTube app first emerged, the ads will have a positive impact for both YouTube and its content partners who will gain from new monetization opportunities. Even unaffiliated content providers will benefit because just as YouTube has helped educate advertisers about online video, I expect it will have a halo effect in accelerating mobile video ads as well.
All of that may be good for the ecosystem, but for mobile users it does mean pesky pre-rolls will become the norm when using the new YouTube mobile app. No doubt that will cause some grumbling, but for savvy users who know content must be monetized in order for it to be created in the first place, ads will largely be accepted. And because YouTube has pioneered skippable ads with its "TrueView" format, users actually have more control than is typical.
Mobile is hugely important to YouTube, already generating an amazing 1 billion views per day. The expected success of the iPhone 5, the ongoing adoption of smartphones, the deployment of video-friendly, fast 4G networks and of course the tablet boom all suggest that mobile is going to become even more important for YouTube going forward. As it continues to invest in its app, mobile viewership will continue to surge.
Although Apple and Google seem increasingly at odds with one another, as I said in my prior post, this particular corporate split looks like a win for all stakeholders.