Somehow Apple managed to screw up watching videos on a phone even more

It’s been over a year since I watched the entire Harry Potter series on a tablet during my morning commute. I converted all 8 films to MP4 using Handbrake, put them on a microsd card, installed VLC, and watched them. All 8 on a 7″ Samsung tablet. This, because putting a video on an Apple device is torturous. Not that the tablet was so great, but much better than Apple.

I decided this week to load up some movies on my iPhone. New iOS, new phone (6S), it must be better. Right?

In a word, no. Movies still have to be encoded to Apple’s spec — MP4 with h264 video stream and aac audio stream — which meant recompiling ffmpeg from source to add libfdk_aac. Once the video is in the correct format, it still has to be dragged onto iTunes, iPhone connected via lightning cable, and synced via sync button. Wifi syncing might also work. But this is all old news, iTunes has worked this way for years.

What’s new is that the Videos app is now renamed TV and is a piece of crap. Specifically it requires a network connection just to open the app. If one isn’t available it spins for about 2 minutes before putting a naggy banner across the top:

iOS TV app loading screen while I was in the LIRR tunnel

Once you’re finally in the app, it doesn’t remember what you were watching or where you were. It just shows the splash screen.

Oh look at that one DS9 episode I have to see every time

Also, there seems to be no way to delete items from within TV. So I can’t delete that one episode of Deep Space Nine that’s been on my phone for months.

This all sucks. I don’t know how Apple can manage to screw up such simple concepts as “load, list and play music or video” but they really have turned it into an art.

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