qikVideo livecasting service Qik’s long-awaited iPhone app has reportedly been approved by Apple and will appear in the iTunes App Store today.

It’s getting late in the business day here in Apple’s time zone, and the app hasn’t appeared yet, but maybe the App Store staff work IT hours and will put it up tonight.

qiklogoTechCrunch reports that the app will be named Qik Live when it appears, not to be confused with the current app Qik for 3GS, which cannot stream live video.

ustreamQik Live’s addition will mean there are two very popular platforms on which Apple and AT&T will allow iPhone users to transmit live video streams onto the Internet. Ustream Live Broadcaster was the first, appearing in the store on December 9th. Ustream says that since the app became available, the number of concurrent live streams running through their servers has increased tenfold.

ustreamlivePreviously, streaming live video was possible only on “jailbroken” iPhones that had been hacked to end-run Apple’s restrictions. Apple added live video capability to the new iPhone 3G S model in July, but until this month no apps that streamed video were approved and placed in the App Store.

Apple’s approval process is a notorious puzzlebox. No sources have stepped forward to explain why the change in what seemed to be a no-streaming policy, and why now.

Ustream countered Qik’s news today by emailing around a press release announcing a limited-access beta test of a higher quality streaming app, dubbed Ustream HQ Live Broadcaster. Ustream promises picture quality comparable to that of basic Web streaming, by which they mean “resolutions beyond 640×480 at up to 30 frames per second.”

Well, we know Qik on Android already reliably streams 720×480 pixels at 24 frames per second, so I think we need someone who really knows their livestreams — i.e. not me — to do a head-to-head test of Qik vs Ustream once both apps are available. I’ll be glad to blog it.

You can request a copy of Ustream’s beta version of the HQ app by mailing beta@ustream.tv.

[Images: Qik, Ustream]

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