Why Apple did not use Flash for the iPad?

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Apple

Apple, being the second most successful multinational company based on computer technology, has finally released the iPad ! In case you don’t know this already, the iPad was one of Apple’s most successful produces yet. Apple had so many pre-ordered iPad’s to deliver that it had to temporarily shut down the Apple store to rebuild the stocks of the iPad.

The iPad was really made fun of at first. There were many jokes on the iPad. The most popular being those of MadTV and Hitler.

The main reason everyone thought that the iPad was going to be a iFailure was because it did not support flash. At this moment 90% of the internet is based on flash content. Flash was Adobe’s most successful product yet and is used by almost all web developers to deliver dynamic content.

The iPad not supporting flash was really shocking, as some people planned to use the iPad as a mini-pc. If the iPad could not load 90% of the web pages, then why buy it ?

Steve Jobs answered this question personally on the Apple Site.

Apple vs Flash

“New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.”

says Jobs.

According to Jobs, Apple has been teamed up with Adobe for a long time. But now when Adobe realized that Apple’s latest product does not support Flash it was really shocking to them.

Reasons why Apple is against Flash

1. Apple is not really Open

“Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary. They 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.”

says Jobs.

Basically he means to say that there are some other open-source platforms such as scripting languages using which a user can create dynamic content. Flash need not be that dynamic content.

2. Availability of Open Standards

“Though the operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open. 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 plug-ins (like Flash). HTML5 is completely open and controlled by a standards committee, of which Apple is a member.”

says Jobs.

These open standards are much better alternatives to Flash. They are recommended by W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), the non-profit organization created by the creator of the Internet (WWW) to promote open source standards for the internet. Its always better to use W3C standards rather than the standards which may look good.

3. Problem with the ‘Full Web’

The Full Web is the web pages that you see on your PC web browser. Mobile platforms usually cannot support the full web as they need powerful graphics card and a good memory space for that. This creates a major problem. Most users like the create that full web. Apple confirms that if the iPad had to support flash then it would not be as good as it is now.

4. Reliability, Security and Performance

“Symantec recently highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009. We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash. We have been working with Adobe to fix these problems, but they have persisted for several years now. We don’t want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash.”

says Jobs.

This is a major concern to Apple. Many users have complained that the products that support Flash are really unstable and insecure. To remove this threat to the iPad, they completely eradicated Flash from the scene.

5. Battery Life

To achieve long battery life when playing video, mobile devices must decode the video in hardware; decoding it in software uses too much power. Flash is software !

6. Compatibility of Versions

Not all Flash sites use the latest version of Flash. The newer versions of Flash include H.264 decoder, but not all flash content will use this decoder. The decoder used depends on the version of flash used. If a web designer uses an old version of flash to create his site, then the flash decoder used will be old. The older the version, the more stress on battery life too.

7. Apple Touch Technology

Flash was meant for PC’s using mice, not mobile gadgets with touch screen. Apple’s touch technology is one of the best in the world. Have you noticed how responsive apple’s touch devices are ? Apple could surely not afford to risk its touch technology.

8. Flash is an external app

This according to Steve Jobs is the most important reason. He lays a lot of emphasis on it. Using external apps and third party layered software could really kill Apple. Its really not easy to apply third party apps in the iPad. For this reason, the iPad clearly discarded flash.

Did you miss out on our post: WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF GRAPHICS ? We’ve explained what alternatives could be better than flash in that post.
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  • http://chaaps.com Chethan Thimmappa

    awesome article!