Steve Jobs sets the record straight with Adobe's Flash

Since the original iPhone was release a few years ago, the major knock on the iPhone OS was its lack of support for one of the Web's most ubiquitous plug-ins--Flash. Steve Jobs, on Apple's homepage has set the record straight.

Since the original iPhone was release a few years ago, the major knock on the iPhone OS was its lack of support for one of the Web's most ubiquitous plug-ins--Flash. Steve Jobs, on Apple's homepage has set the record straight, leaving little doubt where Apple's stance is on the much maligned Flash.

Though the entire open letter is worth reading, the juicy bits includes Jobs' main reasons for disallowing Flash on the iPhone, iPod, and iPad platforms:

  1. The concept of 'Open'. Specifically, though Flash is widely used, Adobe controls the entire Flash ecosystem, which makes it 100% proprietary and therefore entirely closed.
  2. The concept of 'The Full Web'. Adobe has been bashing the iPhone OS for its lack of providing the "full web" experience due to its lack of Flash support. Jobs notes that nearly all the major sources for Flash-based video provide the open Web standard H.264 encoded versions of those same videos that work great on the iPhone OS platform.
  3. Reliability, performance, and security. With Adobe's Flash being ranked as having one of the worst security records in 2009 and the noticeable lack of performance on low power devices (like iPhones, iPods, and iPads), the already shaky reliability of Flash in Apple's experience gains no points. Not to mention, have you seen a mobile device running Flash yet? Neither have I.
  4. Battery life. See the above issues with performance. Flash is a battery killer, especially on mobile devices.
  5. Touch. Apple's mobile strategy is based almost entirely on a touch interface. Flash, on the other hand, was built to be used by a mouse, utilizing concepts like rollovers which do not exist on touch interfaces.
  6. Control. Though Jobs doesn't expressly say that his final reason is about control, he does imply it. With Adobe coming between Apple's iPhone OS and developers (and users), Apple loses control over important things like feature implementation. By sticking to open standards like HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript, Apple is free to innovate as quickly as it can, without having to worry if Adobe will include new features with Flash.

In summary, Jobs labels Flash as an old technology and encourages developers to consider reaching out to the new, open Web standards of HTML5 , CSS, and JavaScript--languages that companies like Google, Vimeo, The New York Times, and of course Apple, fully support. The Flash issue has many staunch supporters on either side. Where do you stand? Is Flash a good thing for the mobile space, or is Steve Jobs correct in not allowing it on his devices? Let us know in the comments!


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About the author

    Joe is a seasoned Mac veteran with years of experience on the platform. He reports on Macs, iPods, iPhones and anything else Apple sells. He even has worked in Apple retail stores. He's also a creative professional who knows how to use a Mac to get the job done.

     

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