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| August 24, 2009
Why Jailbreak: YourTube
Apple kept the YouTube application for the iPhone under wraps until Apple announced it just weeks before the iPhone's debut, but boy did that little button get people excited. The YouTube application on the iPhone is great, but unfortunately AT&T coverage and speeds can be spotty and unpredictable at best. That's where YourTube comes in. YourTube is a simple utility which is an add-on to the existing YouTube application. It is only for the jailbreakers of the world, but is a great utility that Apple should consider adding to their already stellar device. What YourTube does, is it adds a download button in the upper right corner of the YouTube app. If you don't know why this so great, let me explain. Downloading the videos to your device requires a strong cell signal (or a WiFi connection), but after it's downloaded you can watch the video as many times as you want without interruption of waiting for the video to load, etc. Downloading the video is the same as adding a video to your iPhone through iTunes, providing a much better viewing experience than the usually slow-as-molasses streaming YouTube experience. Although it is a tedious waiting period for the video to download (especially on EDGE, or even 3G), it is worth it since you can show the video again and again without the hated load time once its installed. Another benefit is that the downloaded videos are of a much, much higher quality than the streamed videos. The videos are saved as mp4s in /var/mobile/Media/Downloads/YourTube. Thus, you can easily transfer them back to computer via SSH to view them with the same seamless experience on your desktop.
It is a very simple application that everyone should have. There is no reason why the masses shouldn't have the ability to download YouTube videos and have a more seamless viewing experience. Just part of the beauty of jailbreaking, I suppose. A huge undertaking like YourTube requires very gifted individuals to collaborate. Individuals like pumpkin of the iPhone dev team. Here are some replies from pumpkin after being asked some questions about his most recent undertaking, YourTube: When asked about iPod integration and playing saved videos from the iPod, he replied:
It was definitely already a planned feature. I can't guarantee it'll make it in, as it's obviously unsupported by Apple and they don't make it easy to do things like that, but I will certainly do my best. You can see that I was already planning this at here :). In the mean time, the videos are in /var/mobile/Media/Downloads/YourTube and although they don't have very friendly filenames right now, that will improve in a future version. The format should all be .mp4 which is directly compatible with iTunes and any video-capable iPod.We also notified him of an issue relating to Apple video cable combatibility, but he reassured us that "I'm aware of that and am reasonably sure I know how to fix it, so it will most probably work with TV out in a coming release." Now that we've heard from pumpkin of the dev team, we also have a selection here from the guy who started all of these YouTube downloading applications, 16-year-old Max. Max developed the original YouTube downloading app called MxTube. MxTube works virtually the same way as YourTube, only it is separated into a different application than the YouTube application. Although this application has been outdated due to YourTube, I think that the following short interview with Max still applies. After all, it is interesting... When asked what his inspiration was for writing the application (MxTube) at the young age of 15, he replied:
I was extremely interested in writing for the iPhone platform. Just the thought of making an application for my phone was enough to push me to do it. The idea for MxTube came when I was attempting to show YouTube videos to my friends at school. Without wifi, Apple's YouTube application would only play low quality videos. With slow or no service from AT&T and unwatchably low quality videos, the viewing experience was less than pleasurable.But, without a Mac to program on or any decent amount of time to work on the application, Max had a rough road ahead of him before the app was finally released a year later:
Time and resources were the largest difficulty to overcome. As a high school student, I had hardly any time to work on iPhone applications. I had my custom computer with cygwin and notepad++ and a debian server built from old and broken computers from my dad's business. This allowed me to compile successfully for the iPhone platform, but it was no unix based mac.When asked about future projects, he replied:
I'm currently working on a Cydia Store app, I can't disclose the details of it's functionality, but it is media related ;)Max would also like to thank pumpkin from the dev team (who is one of the developers of YourTube), "without whom MxTube would never be possible." Download YourTube from the Cydia Store for $2 (or MxTube from Cydia through BigBoss for free).