10 Reasons Why Steve Jobs and Apple Wont Support Adobe Flash

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10 Reasons Why Steve Jobs and Apple Wont Support Adobe Flash

by Darryl K. Taft

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Jobs Shares His Thoughts

In an April 29 blog post Apple CEO Steve Jobs delivered his "Thoughts on Flash" so that "customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads."

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Flash Is Not Open

Jobs said Adobe's Flash is 100 percent proprietary. Indeed, Jobs said Flash products are "only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc. While Adobe's Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system."

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Meanwhile, Apple Supports Open Web Standards

Although Jobs said Flash is closed, he maintains that Apple is open despite the iPhone, iPad and iPod being proprietary products. "We strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the Web should be open," Jobs said. "Rather than use Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript - all open standards. Apple's mobile devices all ship with high performance, low power implementations of these open standards. HTML5, the new Web standard that has been adopted by Apple, Google and many others, lets Web developers create advanced graphics, typography, animations and transitions without relying on third-party browser plugins (like Flash). HTML5 is completely open and controlled by a standards committee, of which Apple is a member." Jobs also reminds all that Apple created the open-source WebKit browser engine.

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Flash Is Not the Only Web Video Game in Town

Said Jobs: "Adobe has repeatedly said that Apple mobile devices cannot access -the full Web because 75 percent of video on the web is in Flash. What they don't say is that almost all this video is also available in a more modern format, H.264, and viewable on iPhones, iPods and iPads. YouTube, with an estimated 40 percent of the Web's video, shines in an app bundled on all Apple mobile devices, with the iPad offering perhaps the best YouTube discovery and viewing experience ever. Add to this video from Vimeo, Netflix, Facebook, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ESPN, NPR, Time, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, People, National Geographic, and many, many others. iPhone, iPod and iPad users aren't missing much video."

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Flash Is Not Reliable Enough

Jobs said Apple knows "first hand" that Flash is the No. 1 reason Macs crash. "We have been working with Adobe to fix these problems, but they have persisted for several years now," he said. Apple does not want to see that reliability issue creep onto its devices.

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Flash Is Not Secure Enough

Jobs said, "Symantec recently highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009." He then added, "We don't want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash."

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Flash Does Not Perform Well Enough

Jobs said Apple has yet to see Flash perform well on a smartphone. Said Jobs: "Flash has not performed well on mobile devices. We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it. Adobe publicly said that Flash would ship on a smartphone in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. We think it will eventually ship, but we're glad we didn't hold our breath. Who knows how it will perform?"

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Flash Is Bad for Battery Life

Jobs claims that Flash is just plain bad for the battery life on devices. Jobs argues that Flash on the iPhone could mean as much as a 5-hour loss in battery life during video playback. "Although Flash has recently added support for H.264, the video on almost all Flash Websites currently requires an older generation decoder that is not implemented in mobile chips and must be run in software. The difference is striking: on an iPhone, for example, H.264 videos play for up to 10 hours, while videos decoded in software play for less than 5 hours before the battery is fully drained," said Jobs.

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Flash Was Not Designed for Touch

According to Jobs: "Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers. For example, many Flash Websites rely on "rollovers," which generate pop-up menus or other elements when the mouse arrow hovers over a specific spot. Apple's revolutionary multitouch interface doesn't use a mouse, and there is no concept of a rollover. Most Flash Websites will need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices. If developers need to rewrite their Flash Websites, why not use modern technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript?"

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Its All About the Developers

Apple will not allow a third party to come between its platform and its developers. Said Jobs: "We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers."

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