updated 06:33 pm EST, Tue December 4, 2012
Optimized for iPad, iPhone 5, VoiceOver
Following a nearly three-month gap with no official app for Apple's latest iOS devices, Google has released a version of its iPhone YouTube app optimized for the iPad and iPhone 5. The new universal version also adds video streaming with AirPlay, a feature missing from the original iOS 6 version of the app, which worked only with the iPhone and iPod Touch. Google originally released a version just before the launch of iOS 6, which brought some new features (and also ads for the first time), but left out iPad compatibility.
In the interim, a number of unofficial clients such as Jasmine and YouPlayer sprung up, most of which had support for the iPad, iPhone 5 and AirPlay weeks if not months ahead of Google, though in some cases features such as background audio playing were not available to unofficial versions. The new official client also now offers video playlist management, a channel guide for signed-in users, clickable links in video descriptions and improved accessibility using VoiceOver.
Apple's decision to stop including a YouTube client as part of the default software suite in iOS 6 was met with some criticism, but is seen as being part of a move by Apple to untangle itself from relationships with Google, though the company is free to continue developing and submitting apps (and may even be allowed to bring its own Maps application back to iOS 6 at some point). The previous YouTube client, like the previous Maps app, was a collaboration between the two companies.
After a rocky start beset with mapping errors, bad imagery and other issues, Apple's Maps has steadily improved since the public backlash against it -- though it still lacks transit directions and a few other popular features. Google has moved to make its browser-based maps experience much more iOS friendly, but has contradicted itself about the existence, readiness and submittal of an iOS 6-compatible independent mapping app of its own. Recent reports have the company beta-testing a near-final version.