Apple dropped the default YouTube app from the latest beta version of iOS 6, sparking rumblings of further anti-Google action following its expulsion of Google Maps earlier this year. The Cupertino company says the YouTube app will be back... but in standalone form, not as a home-screen default.
While YouTube is gone from the iPhone and the iPad, it was still working for Apple TV, 9to5Mac reported earlier today. The move appears to be Apple's latest attempt to distance itself from Google services. The company dropped Google Maps as a preset on its phone in favor of its own 3D Maps earlier this year.
YouTube was one of the original iPhone's main features, pushing Google to re-encode the entirety of the popular video hosting service's library so that it could work without Adobe's Flash.
Since then Apple, which is in charge of maintaining the app, has largely let it languish. The company did add a few features, mainly to the video player and social features like commenting and sharing on other social networks. Google, in turn, has put its resources into developing a mobile site to emulate some of that functionality.
This latest move from Apple won't necessarily crimp users' ability to catch lolcat videos on iPhones and iPads, since YouTube will still be available via Web browsers such as Apple's Safari.
Apple released the following statement:
Our licensing to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended. Customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser and Google is working on a new YouTube app to be in the App Store.
An Apple spokeswoman confirmed that the company will not preinstall the YouTube app in iOS 6 at all. Instead, interested users will have to search it out in Apple's App Store.
YouTube would not confirm if there is a new app on the way.
"We are working with Apple to ensure we have the best possible YouTube experience for iOS users," a company spokesman said in a statement e-emailed to CNET.
Updated at 3:11 p.m. PT: With comment from YouTube. (CNET's Josh Lowensohn contributed to this report.)