August 8, 2012
Much of the blogosphere remains decidedly downbeat with the news that Apple has removed the native YouTube app in iOS 6. However, I’d suggest that Apple’s decision is part of a larger plan that will bring finally bring iTunes video streaming to iOS devices for the first time. Since the arrival of iCloud in 2011, Apple has made it easier for customers to retrieve previously purchased videos. Despite this advancement, Cupertino remains well behind competitors in how they deliver video to Mac and PC customers, and to the iPhone/iPod touch, and iPad. Unlike Netflix and Amazon, Apple has been unwilling to flip the switch on some sort of streaming video service for iOS. Instead, Cupertino forces customers to download movies and TV shows first before viewing. Offering this on iOS devices wouldn’t be that giant of a leap. After all, video streaming has long been available on the Apple TV. Besides, we’ve heard rumors that Apple was working on their own iTV, which would naturally provide video streaming too.
Signs point to new serviceBesides killing off the YouTube app, other signs suggest Apple will soon unveil video streaming. For one, Apple has invested $250 million in a new facility in Prineville, Oregon. When this news was announced in April, most highlighted the plant’s use of renewable energy. However, Apple has yet to announce what this new facility will be used for, besides as a generic sounding, data center. Additionally, Apple approved Amazon’s new streaming video app for iPad in what seems like record time. Would Apple really let one of their biggest competitors offer streaming entertainment on the best selling tablet, and not offer a similar service? After all, every time an Amazon customer streams a movie rental to their iPad, Apple loses an iTunes rental sale.
An interesting partnerIf Apple were to announce a video streaming service for iOS, I’d expect it to one part video store, another part a social networking site like YouTube. Who better to partner with Apple on this but Facebook, whose network just happens to be fully integrated into iOS 6? Plus, what company just happens to run a large facility a “stone’s throw” away from Apple’s new Oregon facility? Facebook, of course. Coincidence? Perhaps not. An Apple-Facebook video streaming service would serve both companies well. Cupertino would gain a better foothold in social networking, after Ping’s demise. For Facebook, the new service would help them offer a service similar to YouTube, but also like Netflix, and Amazon. Plus, if Apple were to use this as a stepping point to the iTV, imagine what this could mean to the Facebook community. So before you get too upset about Apple’s decision to no longer support the native YouTube app, consider what this could mean going forward.
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