Early last month, developers fiddling with a beta release of the forthcoming iOS 6 found a glaring omission in Apple's pre-installed app lineup. The familiar old school television icon that signaled the YouTube app, available on iOS since the beginning, was no longer there.
Apple said that the licensing deal with Google had expired, and iOS would not contain the YouTube app. We were directed not to worry, as we were told that YouTube was working on its own app. Today, that app hits the App Store.
The new YouTube app for iOS is "built by YouTube engineers, to give our iPhone and iPod touch users the best mobile experience," according to YouTube. The first big thing about the app is that it allows users to watch tens of thousands more videos - like those official music videos that oftentimes weren't available on mobile.
As you can see above, the app also feature a channel guide, where users can easily navigate everything they're subscribed to. All you have to do is swipe right on any screen to reveal your channels view. There, you can also subscribe to new channels on the fly.
The search feature is improved (from the Apple-regulated app), as it now features autocomplete and works with voice search. Watching videos doesn't prevent you from exploring either, as you can browse related videos, comments, and info while your video is playing.
The new YouTube iPhone app also feature one-click sharing via Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and email.
In all, YouTube has built the unrestricted experience that iOS users were unable to get for the past few years with the old YouTube iOS app. YouTube says that the site sees over 1 billion mobile views a day, which is 25% of all views. With a new iPhone (with a larger screen and iOS 6) set to launch tomorrow, it makes sense that YouTube would unveil their new iOS experience now.
You can grab the new app at the App Store right now. They say that an optimized iPad version is on the way in "the coming months."