Flashtastrophy – Flash and the iPad

One result of the iPad announcement is the Jerry Springer-like feud between Adobe and Apple over Flash support on the iPad and iPhone. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the iPad doesn’t support the Flash plug-in in Mobile Safari.

Apple’s public reason for this is that Flash sucks. I tend to agree. Flash stems back to 1996 and, while it empowers web designers to add many bells and whistles to their sites, it also enables them to cripple my browser. While Apple has not said this publicly, Steve Jobs reportedly said as much at an Apple Town Hall Meeting after announcing the iPad. I don’t need any Apple crash reports to verify this; I see it on my own Mac. The lack of Flash stability is a big reason why the web is moving on with the .h264 and html5 standards.

Another reason I suspect Apple is distancing itself from Flash is the fact that Flash is Adobe’s proprietary code and the only proprietary code Apple wants on its mobile devices is its own. Some pundits have seized on this to claim Apple is trying to foist its own Quicktime format on people but I don’t think so. There have been no such overt moves and Apple seems more interested in the open html5 standard which does not match Flash’s feature set (yet) but is open and less prone to throttle your browser.

Adobe’s reason for wanting Flash on Apple mobile devices is simple. There are a lot of them. The more devices that turn their back on Flash, the less likely developers are to use it. Flash then losses its ubiquity. Today, Flash’s CTO, Kevin Lynch, explains, in essence, the ball is in Apple’s court. Apparently Adobe doesn’t realize or is ignoring the fact that Apple is not in the court. Indeed, Apple is not even in the stadium. Interestingly, the Lynch article also talks about how the web should be “open.”

We strongly believe the Web should remain an open
environment with consistent access to content and
applications regardless of your viewing device,

I’m not sure how that makes sense while Flash remains proprietary (closed) code.

Regardless, this issue is now very exciting and subject to much public gnashing of teeth. I think a significant portion of the “No Flash=No Purchase” posts/rants/comments are disingenuous. There are a lot of people that for reasons, both rational and irrational, want the iPad to fail, miserably. These folks had their posts written before January 27 and were simply waiting to fill in the blank on the fatal missing features.

For those genuinely upset about the absence of Flash, I think they should not be surprised given Apple’s prior exclusion of Flash. To those people I would first ask, “Do you really need Flash? Really?” Last year I installed Click2Flash on my Mac. This application stops all Flash code in its tracks unless you specifically allow it. Immediately after installing it, I witnessed a noticeable speed increase and stability improvement in Safari. I’ve also discovered it is a very rare case when I actually need to click to see a flash box. Whatever I’ve lost in the display of colorful (and distracting) advertising has been gained in clock cycles and stability.

The fact is, content creators don’t care about a religious war over browser plugins. They will use whatever will get their content before people’s eyes. That means they will code to the open standards if that’s what it takes. Sadly, it won’t be long before even Adobe’s listed pornography site will work just fine without Flash. Finally, If the availability of Flash is that important to you, don’t buy an iPad. There will be countless “iPad Killers” released in the next year chock full of Flash and other code to slow you down.

Another casualty of Apple’s removal of Flash is the loss of Flash gaming. This also seems to me a straw man argument. All of the internet Flash games I’ve ever experienced are largely keyboard based and I don’t see them translating well to a tablet device. Furthermore, there is the App store that includes many free mind-numbing games, many of which are direct ports of their Flash counterparts.

The scrap heap of technology includes many items Apple was “crazy” to abandon. Unless Adobe takes extreme measures to change course, in the not so distant future I suspect Flash will be sitting there right next to a dusty floppy drive.

26 Comments Flashtastrophy – Flash and the iPad

  1. Simongraham6@googlemail.com

    Thanks for that David. It was a very clear, stripped down and ‘non-techie’ article I’ve read on the browser plugin wars. Which is a relief after Reading lots of stuff that rather obscure the issues.

    Reply
  2. Simongraham6@googlemail.com

    Thanks for that David. It was a very clear, stripped down and ‘non-techie’ article I’ve read on the browser plugin wars. Which is a relief after Reading lots of stuff that rather obscure the issues.

    Reply
  3. Simongraham6@googlemail.com

    Thanks for that David. It was a very clear, stripped down and ‘non-techie’ article I’ve read on the browser plugin wars. Which is a relief after Reading lots of stuff that rather obscure the issues.

    Reply
  4. Simongraham6@googlemail.com

    Thanks for that David. It was a very clear, stripped down and ‘non-techie’ article I’ve read on the browser plugin wars. Which is a relief after Reading lots of stuff that rather obscure the issues.

    Reply
  5. Simongraham6@googlemail.com

    Thanks for that David. It was a very clear, stripped down and ‘non-techie’ article I’ve read on the browser plugin wars. Which is a relief after Reading lots of stuff that rather obscure the issues.

    Reply
  6. nlavitt@gmail.com

    I’m in total agreement over the problems with Flash and the stance Apple has taken over this, but for education it is going to be a initial barrier. Sure there will be apps developed, but this is not going to make it compelling in the short haul for schools where Flash based learning objects are highly valuable.

    The fact as you say is that this device will not be for everyone. Its true and at this time it won’t be for schools. The netbook or sub-notebook will continue to rule here or perhaps one of the forthcoming android generation of tablets that will do Flash.

    I did see education as a big market for Apple with this device and certainly the ebook capability will make it a strong runner for textbook and paper replacements. However, I think this will be Higher Tertairy Education and not in Primary and Junior High. Not in the short haul though.

    I’m not so sure about Flash crashing Mac’s. I’ve had very few problems with Flash crashing Mac’s in school I have worked at. It seems to take down windows machines running XP nicely though. Main problem is CPU cycles which in batteries = big drain 🙁

    Reply
  7. nlavitt@gmail.com

    I’m in total agreement over the problems with Flash and the stance Apple has taken over this, but for education it is going to be a initial barrier. Sure there will be apps developed, but this is not going to make it compelling in the short haul for schools where Flash based learning objects are highly valuable.

    The fact as you say is that this device will not be for everyone. Its true and at this time it won’t be for schools. The netbook or sub-notebook will continue to rule here or perhaps one of the forthcoming android generation of tablets that will do Flash.

    I did see education as a big market for Apple with this device and certainly the ebook capability will make it a strong runner for textbook and paper replacements. However, I think this will be Higher Tertairy Education and not in Primary and Junior High. Not in the short haul though.

    I’m not so sure about Flash crashing Mac’s. I’ve had very few problems with Flash crashing Mac’s in school I have worked at. It seems to take down windows machines running XP nicely though. Main problem is CPU cycles which in batteries = big drain 🙁

    Reply
  8. nlavitt@gmail.com

    I’m in total agreement over the problems with Flash and the stance Apple has taken over this, but for education it is going to be a initial barrier. Sure there will be apps developed, but this is not going to make it compelling in the short haul for schools where Flash based learning objects are highly valuable.

    The fact as you say is that this device will not be for everyone. Its true and at this time it won’t be for schools. The netbook or sub-notebook will continue to rule here or perhaps one of the forthcoming android generation of tablets that will do Flash.

    I did see education as a big market for Apple with this device and certainly the ebook capability will make it a strong runner for textbook and paper replacements. However, I think this will be Higher Tertairy Education and not in Primary and Junior High. Not in the short haul though.

    I’m not so sure about Flash crashing Mac’s. I’ve had very few problems with Flash crashing Mac’s in school I have worked at. It seems to take down windows machines running XP nicely though. Main problem is CPU cycles which in batteries = big drain 🙁

    Reply
  9. nlavitt@gmail.com

    I’m in total agreement over the problems with Flash and the stance Apple has taken over this, but for education it is going to be a initial barrier. Sure there will be apps developed, but this is not going to make it compelling in the short haul for schools where Flash based learning objects are highly valuable.

    The fact as you say is that this device will not be for everyone. Its true and at this time it won’t be for schools. The netbook or sub-notebook will continue to rule here or perhaps one of the forthcoming android generation of tablets that will do Flash.

    I did see education as a big market for Apple with this device and certainly the ebook capability will make it a strong runner for textbook and paper replacements. However, I think this will be Higher Tertairy Education and not in Primary and Junior High. Not in the short haul though.

    I’m not so sure about Flash crashing Mac’s. I’ve had very few problems with Flash crashing Mac’s in school I have worked at. It seems to take down windows machines running XP nicely though. Main problem is CPU cycles which in batteries = big drain 🙁

    Reply
  10. nlavitt@gmail.com

    I’m in total agreement over the problems with Flash and the stance Apple has taken over this, but for education it is going to be a initial barrier. Sure there will be apps developed, but this is not going to make it compelling in the short haul for schools where Flash based learning objects are highly valuable.

    The fact as you say is that this device will not be for everyone. Its true and at this time it won’t be for schools. The netbook or sub-notebook will continue to rule here or perhaps one of the forthcoming android generation of tablets that will do Flash.

    I did see education as a big market for Apple with this device and certainly the ebook capability will make it a strong runner for textbook and paper replacements. However, I think this will be Higher Tertairy Education and not in Primary and Junior High. Not in the short haul though.

    I’m not so sure about Flash crashing Mac’s. I’ve had very few problems with Flash crashing Mac’s in school I have worked at. It seems to take down windows machines running XP nicely though. Main problem is CPU cycles which in batteries = big drain 🙁

    Reply
  11. youngdad33@me.com

    Thats their biggest gripe, that it won’t play Farmville?! That’s just an insane argument. I agree with you David, if you want to use flash, get something that will be sub-par, and make you wish you’d bought the iPad.

    Reply
  12. youngdad33@me.com

    Thats their biggest gripe, that it won’t play Farmville?! That’s just an insane argument. I agree with you David, if you want to use flash, get something that will be sub-par, and make you wish you’d bought the iPad.

    Reply
  13. youngdad33@me.com

    Thats their biggest gripe, that it won’t play Farmville?! That’s just an insane argument. I agree with you David, if you want to use flash, get something that will be sub-par, and make you wish you’d bought the iPad.

    Reply
  14. youngdad33@me.com

    Thats their biggest gripe, that it won’t play Farmville?! That’s just an insane argument. I agree with you David, if you want to use flash, get something that will be sub-par, and make you wish you’d bought the iPad.

    Reply
  15. youngdad33@me.com

    Thats their biggest gripe, that it won’t play Farmville?! That’s just an insane argument. I agree with you David, if you want to use flash, get something that will be sub-par, and make you wish you’d bought the iPad.

    Reply
  16. Andy

    I don’t use Safari. I have stuck to Firefox and I rarely have a problem. I will be buying an iPad though and will learn to live without Flash. The only place that I actually notice it is on the pop-forward windows that show images. Then again most of my browsing is online forums.

    Reply
  17. eddiesmith78@gmail.com

    I agree that Flash has a limited life, and I’ve never been a big fan of it. For me, it falls into the category of "just because you can, doesn’t mean you should." Graphics are wonderful, but for information junkies like myself, I’d much rather strip out the glop and get to the text.

    Reply
  18. eddiesmith78@gmail.com

    I agree that Flash has a limited life, and I’ve never been a big fan of it. For me, it falls into the category of "just because you can, doesn’t mean you should." Graphics are wonderful, but for information junkies like myself, I’d much rather strip out the glop and get to the text.

    Reply
  19. eddiesmith78@gmail.com

    I agree that Flash has a limited life, and I’ve never been a big fan of it. For me, it falls into the category of "just because you can, doesn’t mean you should." Graphics are wonderful, but for information junkies like myself, I’d much rather strip out the glop and get to the text.

    Reply
  20. eddiesmith78@gmail.com

    I agree that Flash has a limited life, and I’ve never been a big fan of it. For me, it falls into the category of "just because you can, doesn’t mean you should." Graphics are wonderful, but for information junkies like myself, I’d much rather strip out the glop and get to the text.

    Reply
  21. eddiesmith78@gmail.com

    I agree that Flash has a limited life, and I’ve never been a big fan of it. For me, it falls into the category of "just because you can, doesn’t mean you should." Graphics are wonderful, but for information junkies like myself, I’d much rather strip out the glop and get to the text.

    Reply
  22. armwood@armwood.com

    The lack if flash support on the iPad will make it impossible to watch the news videos I watch every day on MSNBC or the tech videos on CNET. I am sure there are many people like me who like to watch news and information videos on the web. The iPad will not work for them. This is a shame.

    Reply
  23. armwood@armwood.com

    The lack if flash support on the iPad will make it impossible to watch the news videos I watch every day on MSNBC or the tech videos on CNET. I am sure there are many people like me who like to watch news and information videos on the web. The iPad will not work for them. This is a shame.

    Reply
  24. armwood@armwood.com

    The lack if flash support on the iPad will make it impossible to watch the news videos I watch every day on MSNBC or the tech videos on CNET. I am sure there are many people like me who like to watch news and information videos on the web. The iPad will not work for them. This is a shame.

    Reply
  25. armwood@armwood.com

    The lack if flash support on the iPad will make it impossible to watch the news videos I watch every day on MSNBC or the tech videos on CNET. I am sure there are many people like me who like to watch news and information videos on the web. The iPad will not work for them. This is a shame.

    Reply
  26. armwood@armwood.com

    The lack if flash support on the iPad will make it impossible to watch the news videos I watch every day on MSNBC or the tech videos on CNET. I am sure there are many people like me who like to watch news and information videos on the web. The iPad will not work for them. This is a shame.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.