iOS 6′s launch will be remembered for two Google-related issues: Apple’s horrible, horrible Google Maps replacement, and the YouTube app’s mysterious disappearance. The former is in the process of being transformed into something useful while the latter reappeared as a slick app that does a fine job of replicating the desktop YouTube experience.
The Emperor’s New Clothes
The freshness is evident from the moment YouTube for iPad downloads to your tablet. The logo now features the official, familiar white, black, and red one with which we’re familiar, not the odd television icon that served the original.
The new design now closely mirrors YouTube’s desktop design—more so the previous layout than the recently released new look. YouTube for iPad features a black sidebar—revealed when you swipe the home screen video river from left to right—that displays the channels to which you’re subscribed as well as content categories like Popular, Film & Animation, Music, and more. A drop-down menu grants access to your viewing history, purchases, favorites, and other familiar YouTube areas. In short, YouTube closes very little in translation from web site to mobile app.
The YouTube for iPad Experience
The main river contains a mix of videos pulled from your subscriptions as well as recommended titles based on your viewing history. A search box lives just north of it where you can key in a term or title. There’s also a microphone icon, that when tapped, lets you perform voice searches—and it works well. Result pages let you toggle between videos and related channels, which aids in the overall content discovery.
Videos not only start up quickly, but stream smoothly, too. I experienced very little buffering moments. Like desktop YouTube, the video repository’s mobile app lets you up-vote and down-vote clips, leave comments, flag videos, or add them to Watch Later, Favorites, and Playlists. You cannot, however, select the video resolution. You cannot, however, select the video quality or the intermediary “large” video size that’s sized somewhere between the default YouTube video size and full screen. AirPlay support let me stream content from the app to an Apple TV box when they were connected to the same Wi-Fi signal.
My major gripe with YouTube for iPad is that there’s some content that you can only access via the desktop web browser. Beck’s “Gamma Ray” video—the colorful bizarre one featuring Chloe Sevigny doing her best go-go dancer impression, not the black and white version—cannot be found using the app. Mobile Safari, on the on the other hand, displays the result, but also mentions that the video uploader doesn’t want the video to appear on mobile devices. That’s not YouTube’s fault, but it is something that should be noted.
Should You Tune Into YouTube for iPad?
If you spend any amount of time with the world’s largest video repository, the answer is “yes.” YouTube for iPad manages to captures most of what makes YouTube work. It’s missing some content and options, but it’s still a very capable video that’s worth a download.
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Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc