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iPhone owners 'can watch YouTube'

Owners of Apple’s new iPhone will be able to watch YouTube videos on the handset’s 3.5 inch screen, the company has announced.

The popular Google-owned site has begun encoding its videos in a new format to improve quality and save battery life when viewed on wireless devices.

And the iPhone will be the first mobile device to use the new format, Apple said.

More than 10,000 YouTube videos will be available to iPhone users when the device comes out next Friday with more material added each week until its full catalogue of videos is available in the format by the autumn.

"iPhone delivers the best YouTube mobile experience by far," said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. "Now users can enjoy YouTube wherever they are"

The videos are being encoded into the advanced H.264 format, which results in better video quality when played on a mobile device. It also saps less battery power.

The iPhone will include the built-in Apple-designed YouTube application.

The deal means users of Apple’s music and video playing mobile phone will be able to watch the spoof iPhone adverts on YouTube currently proving more popular than clips of real commercials.

The skits poke fun at the iPhone hype, showing the device as a multi-purpose gadget that can double as everything from an electric razor to a cheese-grater.

The iPhone will use a relatively slow cellular data network provided by AT&T, which has an exclusive deal to sell iPhones with its wireless subscriptions, and video streaming is likely to tax it.

But Apple said YouTube would work well on the phone’s short-range Wi-Fi network connection.

Before the new mobile format was developed Verizon Wireless, a rival network provider, had an exclusive deal to offer a selection of YouTube videos on its phones.

Jeffrey Nelson, a Verizon spokesman, said YouTube had been one of its most popular mobile video offerings.

The iPhone, which features a touch-sensitive screen and no keyboard, marries a mobile phone with Apple’s best-selling iPod digital music and video player.

A 4GB model will cost $499 and an 8GB model $599 when it goes on sale at 6pm on June 29 at around 2,000 Apple and AT&T stores.

The coveted gadget is likely to become an immediate target for thieves, a factor addressed by John Reid, the home secretary, as he addressed business leaders in New York yesterday.

Mr Reid called on manufacturers of the next generation of smart phones to "put the fight against crime at the very heart of the product development process".

"In the week before the iPhone is launched in the US, it is more important than ever that we engage with industry to ensure we build a strong working relationship," he said.

"We are working closely with businesses to imagine how the gadgets of the future can be redesigned to be less tempting and less useful to thieves and criminals without making them any less desirable to law abiding consumers.

"We must grasp this exciting opportunity to nip crime in the bud and save millions of pounds by making anti-crime features as important as any other design element" (By Catherine Elsworth)


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