VLC for iPad now available, iPhone version coming soon

Have you ever heard of VLC? If you’re even the most casual video watcher, I’d certainly hope so — when it comes to video players, VLC is king. It’s super lightweight, and can handle just about any video format you can throw at it. It’s cross-platform, with builds for Windows, OS X, and Linux.. and starting today, iOS.

Imagine being able to throw just about any crazy video format you can think of on the iPad, and play it back without conversion. That’s VLC. Oh, and best of all: it’s totally free.

The only downside? It’s iPad only for now. Don’t sweat that too much, though; Applidium, the folks behind this build of VLC, promise that an iPhone version is on the way.

Many were a bit dubious as to whether or not VLC would be able to jump through all the right hoops and find its way in the App Store. It is, after all, a video player, and Apple includes a video player out of the box. In the past, such things would be blasted away with little more than “duplication of functionality” blamed, even if the third-party app went far beyond what the original offered.

Fortunately, Apple’s been getting more and more lenient over the past few months. First, alternative WebKit-based browsers started making their way in to the App Store; then came browsers based on entirely new engines. Just last week, Google Voice apps began trickling into the store after many months on the disapproval back-burner. And now, a full-blooded, mighty-powerful alternative video player. Hurrah!

It’s slowly rolling out country by country, but it should be available worldwide by the end of the day. Get your freakishly-codec’d video files ready, and keep checkin’ this link.