By Alexandra Burlacu | Aug 07, 2012 12:23 PM EDT
Apple released the test version of its latest mobile operating system, iOS 6, on Monday. After announcing earlier this year at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) that it would be ditching Google Maps from the new iOS, Monday's version came with another surprise: Apple has also dropped Google's hugely popular YouTube app from the new system. As Apple and Google battle for supremacy, the move to drop the default YouTube app from the latest beta version of iOS 6 sparked speculation about plans to make the iPhone 5 a Google-free phone.
YouTube has been a key part of the home screen experience since the first iPhone made its debut back in 2007, when the only apps on iOS were the ones created by Apple itself.
"Our license to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended," Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller explained in a statement to The Verge. YouTube did not offer any comments referring specifically to the app's absence from iOS 6. "We are working with Apple to ensure we have the best possible YouTube experience for iOS users," said Google.
Apple said the YouTube app will be back on iOS, but in standalone form, not as a pre-loaded app. "Customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser, and Google is working on a new YouTube app to be on the App Store."
The pre-loaded YouTube app for iOS was created by Apple's own developers, who used YouTube's open developer tools. The YouTube experience on iOS devices is different than the Android version or the browser version at YouTube.com, because Apple's YouTube app does not display any ads. As a result, some video creators unwilling to waive potential revenues from advertising have decided not to make their videos available on Apple's devices. YouTube videos running on Android devices include ads.
Apple's YouTube app will continue to be available on older iOS versions, including the current iOS 5. Meanwhile, Apple said it will release the final version of iOS 6 in the fall. The Cupertino, California-based tech giant is also expected to unveil its next-generation iPhone along with iOS 6, or sometime around that timeframe.
Apple's move to ditch YouTube from iOS 6, however, will likely not have a negative impact on Google. Releasing its own version through Apple's App Store might in fact help the search giant earn more revenue from its YouTube advertising; considering the huge popularity of the service, YouTube will certainly not get dusty on the virtual store shelves. Google does not need Apple to promote YouTube, and most users will probably purchase the YouTube app themselves and install it on their iOS devices, whether Apple is happy about it or not.
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