After a two-year absence, popular video player VLC is returning to the App Store with a new app for the iPhone and iPad. The new VLC for iOS will be available later today (it will start propagating at midnight in the various international App Stores) as a free download.
I’ve been able to test the new VLC for iOS for the past few weeks, and, in terms of visual appearances, the app isn’t too dissimilar from the old version that was available on the App Store in 2010. A main screen lists all your media with thumbnail previews, and you can tap on an item to start playback in a full-screen media player. However, in spite of a UI reminiscent of the old version, VLC has been completely rewritten to use modern audio and video output modules, multi-core decoding, and support for any file type supported by VLC on the desktop. In my tests, the app was able to quickly start playing any video file that I threw at it, such as .mp4 and .mkv files.
Although I greatly appreciate the engineering effort necessary to make the decoding process multithreaded, a big boon for multicore iOS devices, the app’s UI still leaves much to be desired.