YouTube has been a preloaded app on iPhones and iPads since the devices first launched, but as Google’s relationship with Apple becomes more adversarial by the month – Google Maps won’t be a a part of iOS from this month’s iOS 6 release – the company is taking action to shore up YouTube’s popularity among iOS users.

This morning, Google launched “the official YouTube app for iPhone and iPod touch” on Apple’s App Store, adding more videos, a new channel guide, and new search tools (“Get to videos like ‘Gangnam Style’ faster…”). Google says that it’s working on a similarly-optimised version of YouTube for iPad that will come out “in the coming months”.

On one level, it’s just a new app. But YouTube’s mobile usage is large and growing – 1bn mobile views a day at the moment, with a big chunk of them coming from music videos. As Google and Apple’s fractured relationship continues to splinter, it matters to the music industry how YouTube is accessed on iOS devices.

That said, we’re interested in Apple’s plans for online video too. The company’s recent Mountain Lion update for Mac computers used Vimeo as its default video service, which could hint at a mobile partnership. Meanwhile, Apple has been in the frame (along with Google and Facebook) as a potential exclusive partner for Vevo if it were to ditch YouTube.

For now, you can get the new YouTube iOS app here.