Why won’t Apple allow Flash on the iPhone and iPad? If you want to read all the reasons all in one place, check out this post. It’s by a guy who knows what he’s talking about: Steve Jobs.
The reasons, as he states them:
- Flash is closed, and Web technologies should be open
- Most of the video people really want to watch is available in iPhone/iPad-compatible HTML5 anyhow
- With 50,000 games for the iPhone and iPad, who cares if they won’t play Flash games?
- Flash is too unreliable and insecure
- Flash for mobile devices has been delayed too often
- Flash kills battery life
- Flash was never designed for touch interfaces
- Flash is an additional layer that lets developers create cross-platform apps, but at the expense of building apps that truly leverage the platforms they run on
It’s easy to poke holes in certain parts of Jobs’ arguments–for instance, he says that “iPhone, iPod and iPod users aren’t missing much video,” which will be news to anyone who’s traveled around the Web on an Apple mobile device and found more giant empty blocks than video players. And lots of people–me included–would rather have the opportunity to choose for themselves whether to use Flash and Flash content on their mobile gadgets. (It’s possible to opt for a Flash-free PC or Mac; hardly anyone does.)
Overall, though, Jobs’s piece is pretty cogent. I came away from it feeling that Apple’s stance on Flash is controlling–but not nefarious. It’s the latest in a long list of instances of Apple getting to the future a little ahead of everyone else, in ways that are problematic at first but work out okay in the long run.
I hope that Adobe responds. The company has some good bloggers, including Mike Chambers and John Nack. Unfortunately, though, the most prominent Adobe employee who blogs about Flash is an evangelist named Lee Brimelow who seems to specialize in being kinda childish. His blog is called The Flash Blog, and has included a rant that ended “Go screw yourself, Apple” and another post which seems to criticize the iPad for not supporting Flash-based porn. I get why an Adobe staffer–especially one charged with being passionate about Flash–might be irate about all this. But Brimelow isn’t the guy to take on Steve Jobs directly.
Brimelow says that The Flash Blog isn’t the official Adobe Flash blog. Given his position with the company and the blog’s title–and the fact there isn’t an official Flash blog as far as I can tell–I understand why people might be confused.
There’s a case to be made for Flash on Apple platforms, and Adobe ought to make it–calmly, coherently, and soon. Even if it’s a lost cause. Which it is…