The likelihood of this rumor appears pretty shaky at first glance, but let’s explore the idea for a moment; it’s the weekend and thought experiments are fun.
News of an Apple-run YouTube competitor hit the wires today near the end of an article titled “Apple in talks to sign Drake as iTunes Radio guest DJ.” Buried below some music industry chatter, the author adds [emphasis ours]:
Apple’s plans appear aimed at taking the best of Pandora, Spotify and YouTube and blending it into something that will outgun them all. There are plans for streaming music (and video), artists’ pages, a YouTube-style post-it-yourself destination called Apple Connect and a well-documented reboot of iTunes Radio.
This isn’t the first time Apple’s reportedly planned a service that would reportedly compete with YouTube. In 2011, rumors of an Apple-YouTube competitor turned up on sites like the Huffington Post. The speculation was at least in part fueled by Apple’s then-new data center in Maiden, North Carolina. One year later, Apple booted YouTube off its list of default iOS apps, again sparking speculation of a YouTube killer.
This brings us back to today. In a week Apple will host its own developer conference, where it will likely unveil a Beats-powered streaming service. The service may include “Ping-like” social features that mirror Spotify’s existing feature set. Meanwhile, Spotify has somehow elbowed its way into hosting video content.
If a YouTube competitor is indeed in the works, maybe that’s how Apple could break into Web streaming video, and later, user-generated videos? As much as I’d love to watch Apple flounder with its own YouTube competitor, the idea just doesn’t make sense yet.
Apple’s WWDC kicks of on June 8. There, we’ll probably learn a lot about Apple’s plans for Beats, iOS 9, OS X, a TV streaming service, and new Apple TV hardware. But is a YouTube killer in the works? Probably not. At least, that’s my guess.