Earlier today, Apple released iOS 6 Beta 4 to iOS developers, moving the new iOS release one step closer to launch. The update is available for previous iOS 6 Beta users both over the air and as a standalone download from the developer portal as usual. The version bumps the build number up to 10A5376e, and updates the baseband version to 3.0.0 on the iPhone 4S. 

  
iOS 6 B4 on iPhone 4S (left), iOS 6 B4 without YouTube (middle), iOS 5.1.1 (right)

In addition to the usual bugfixes and subtle changes to APIs, iOS 6 Beta 4 removes the Apple-built and maintained YouTube.app from the software bundle. The stock YouTube app has only seen a few updates since release with the original iPhone. The initial YouTube app's purpose was to serve as a gateway for the small catalog of MP4 and 3GP (MPEG-4 and H.264 encoded) format videos in the YouTube catalog, as opposed to FLV video. Much of this was motivated by the need to match YouTube's catalog to the video format compatible with Apple's hardware decode blocks. Since then, nearly every SoC's video decoder can handle H.264 well above even the 1080p YouTube format.

As time has gone on, playing back YouTube videos directly from the web in MP4 has become the new norm, with Google's improved YouTube web player for iOS being the most common workflow. Apple and Google both issued statements to The Verge, noting that Apple's license to distribute the YouTube app has ended, and that Google will build and distribute its own YouTube application through the App Store. The end result is more control for Google over the YouTube experience thanks to the decoupling of YouTube from the OS. 

  
WiFi Plus Cellular (left), Upload to YouTube in iOS 6 B4 (middle, right)

Another subtle change is the inclusion of a WiFi + Cellular data tab under cellular settings on iOS 6 B4. No doubt this enables applications to transact data over cellular when WiFi is spotty. iMessage for example on iOS transacts all data over cellular even when attached to WiFi. 

Update: Some readers asked, and interestingly enough the upload to YouTube functionality from either Camera.app or Photos.app remains intact. I tested and was able to upload a video just fine. No doubt Google's YouTube application will extend or replace some of this remaining OS-level functionality. 

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  • nofumble62 - Monday, August 06, 2012 - link

    Everything works flawlessly across all your devices. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, August 08, 2012 - link

    I hardly think that it works flawlessly all day, every single day, 365 days a year. Just check the support forums Reply
  • marioyohanes - Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - link

    YouTube native app been a pain in the ass for long time since YouTube updated their site with full HTML5 and H.264 video. So, it doesn't matter for me.

    As for WiFi Plus Cellular, it's funny all this long I couldn't got any GSM signal from my bedroom but I still able to receive and send iMessage over WiFi. Even when I turn Airplane Mode On and turn WiFi on, I still receive and send iMessage just fine… So, the last sentence is a bit confusing at some poiint.
    Reply
  • duffman55 - Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - link

    I don't understand the last sentence either. Do you mean in the iOS 6 beta, iMessage sends data over cellular by default? Because I know in iOS 5 it will try using the Wi-Fi even when it's not working.

    Brian, is there any way to see Wi-Fi connection signal in dBmW without jailbreaking?

    Also, has anyone seen any real-world performance tests for older iOS devices running iOS 6? Namely the iPhone 4.
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - link

    There's no way to show dBm for WiFi signal without using jailbreaking at some point. However you can do it for cellular pretty easily (field test, force quit out).

    There are ways to show WiFi signal in dBm (last I checked) that involved editing a file in your iOS backups, then restoring that. I've used that vector in the past to preserve this setting for so long.

    As for the iPhone 4 - both the 3GS and 4 basebands have been stuck/not updated for some time now, so network performance should be where they were as of last update. The 4S continues to see updates that impact network stability/handover/performance.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • duffman55 - Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the quick reply, Brian.

    I'm still confused about iMessage preferring cellular data, even when connected to Wi-Fi. I changed the DNS for my Wi-Fi network to something erroneous and it failed to send a message. Maybe I'm missing something. A lot of people seem to have problems with this at public hotspots, which the new Wi-Fi Plus Cellular feature would alleviate.

    About the iPhone 4 on iOS 6. I'm worried about app loading times, responsiveness, and things of that nature. I'm hoping it won't be like iOS 4 was for the iPhone 3G. I haven't been able to find much information on the performance, though.
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - link

    Hmm, it's possible this has changed, however last I investigated it, iMessage clearly only uses cellular, even when attached to WiFi. Eg during this investigation: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4956/apple-ios-5-rev... I literally could not intercept any APNS until I disabled cellular data entirely. That was back in iOS 5.0 days.

    Of course, if cellular data is bad, it falls back onto WiFi nicely.

    I've been playing with iOS 6 on my iPhone 4 and 3GS, subjectively it doesn't seem as though there are any performance regressions. That seems to be something that can change at any moment, however.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • duffman55 - Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad to hear there aren't any noticeable performance drops on older hardware :)

    The conspiracy nut in me always thinks Apple might be slowly degrading performance with each update on older hardware intentionally, haha.
    Reply
  • KitsuneKnight - Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - link

    In my experience, there's still a massive number of videos on YouTube that aren't supported in the HTML5 player (even with both h.264 and WebM!), which is pretty surprising, after so long. Even videos without ads or anything like that, it still seems that there's just arbitrary random videos that aren't supported.

    As for a Google-developed YouTube app... if it's anything like their other apps, it's going to be a half-assed web wrapper. I can't wait to see what sort of basic functionality *cough*push*cough* takes them months and months to actually implement fully.
    Reply
  • bplewis24 - Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - link

    "As for a Google-developed YouTube app... if it's anything like their other apps, it's going to be a half-assed web wrapper."

    Yeah, because GMail, Youtube, etc are nothing but half-assed web wrappers.

    Methinks you know nothing of what you're talking about.
    Reply

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