One of the most interesting things about the original iPhone was that it came with a dedicated YouTube app that allowed you to view your favorite videos in the palm of your hand. Steve Jobs said at the time:
iPhone delivers the best YouTube mobile experience by far... Now users can enjoy YouTube wherever they are—on their iPhone, on their Mac or on a widescreen TV in their living room with Apple TV.
While this may have been true in 2007, it's no longer the case in 2010. Google has released a major update to its mobile YouTube experience (m.youtube.com) that beats all of the discrete YouTube apps out there -- including the iPhone variety.
A video demo of the new YouTube Web app is embedded below, complete with dramatic music:
For starters, the new Web app is completely based in HTML5, it has a slick UI and it loads fast. But the defining difference is the quality, the Web app simply looks better and will soon feature more content than the dedicated iPhone app.
TechCrunch's Jason Kincaid noted that "it wasn’t hard to detect some tension between YouTube and Apple" during a presentation by YouTube product manager Andrey Doronichev. He made it clear that the new web app is superior in just about every way.
The web app offered a number of advantages, including auto-complete in search and a UI that’s more consistent with the latest version of the YouTube webpage (the iPhone app still uses YouTube’s 5-star rating system, which was abandoned in January in favor of a binary ‘Like’ system). Most important, the video quality of the web application was leaps and bounds ahead of the iPhone app — Doronichev explained that this was because the iPhone app still uses a video streaming format that was developed for Edge, not 3G. Video on the HTML5 app looked much better, and was snappier to boot.
It looks like Google's recent embrace of Web apps -- witness Google Voice and Buzz -- could be retaliation for Steve Jobs' comments that Google's corporate mission was "B.S." and for it banning Google Voice from the App Store.
Apple's unwillingness to work with Google is just another example of how its bridge burning hurts customers in the end. It's pretty clear that Google probably won't release any new iPhone apps -- or updates to existing ones -- ever again, which is allowing Android to catch up with, and surpass the iPhone.
Apple's silly feud with Google means that iPhone customers will be stuck with substandard native apps (like YouTube and Maps), no new Google apps (Listen, Shopper, Goggles, SkyMap and Translate) and be forced to pay extra for navigation apps from the App Store rather than getting the killer Google Maps Navigation for free.