End of an Era
With an iPhone 5 announcement likely next month, and as Apple and Google head their separate ways at increasing speed, the iPhone's YouTube app (developed by Apple) is the latest feature to get the chop, having been removed from the latest iOS 6 beta. Following on from Google Earth and Google search (diluted by various options), it will be replaced by native Safari YouTube access, with Google will perhaps offering a new app soon.
The reasons for this change include the end of Apple's license to use YouTube, Apple's preference for its own apps and services, and Google's increased integration into the Android ecosystem. Also, Safari can now happily play YouTube videos in the browser, something not possible pre-HTML5. While Apple has a ready-made replacement for Google as the data provider for the Maps app, it looks like Apple doesn't immediately need a direct replacement for YouTube.
More Changes, Less Wow!
However, If Apple does decide to offer a replacement, it could create a new multi-service app, or implement a new feature in the Videos app (that arrived with iOS 5.0). That could possibly include one-stop access to a range of other Internet video services like Vimeo, Nico Nico, Ustream and others to provide a more rounded service. However, as most services already have their own app, maybe Apple will be happy to leave things as they are.
UPDATE: Google has confirmed it will create a new app, one that will likely include advertising, something blessedly absent in the old iOS app (for users, content creators weren't so keen) and improved access to playlists and other features. However, many of Google's apps have been less than stellar, so the jury is out until it arrives in the App Store.
We've already covered the changes coming in iOS 6.0 Apple's Maps application, and other innovations from the OS. The rest of the new features for the launch are probably hidden from view as new apps that will replace existing ones or bring whole new experiences.
We've seen both Apple and Samsung running out of "wow factor" on the hardware side, so it is in apps that any future magic moments will come. What do you think Apple can pull out of the hat that could convert you, keep you in the fold, or otherwise impress you about the next release?