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Jobs: Thoughts on Flash

Bye bye Adobe?


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CUPERTINO (Rixstep) — Steve Jobs put his John Hancock on a post against Flash and Adobe today. The article is a well formulated summary of the grievances Apple and everybody else cited all along.

The article explains why Apple don't want Flash on their mobile devices in six salient points.

√ 'Open'. Flash might be cross-platform but it's closed. Apple today are instead using open standards such as HTML5, CSS, and Javascript. Apple also maintain WebKit which is used by all mobile devices save those trashed by Microsoft. And WebKit is completely open.

√ 'Full web'. 75% of web video might be in Flash but almost all of this content is available today in the more modern H.264 and therefore accessible by Apple's mobile devices.

√ Reliability, security, performance. Flash has a terrible security record and it's the #1 reason Apple hardware crashes. [Thanks, Adobe. Ed.] Apple have worked with Adobe for years to fix the issues but with no tangible results. Flash is bad enough on OS X - it's worse on mobile devices. Apple have repeatedly encouraged Adobe to fix Flash for mobile devices but nothing gets done. The latest (broken) promise is Adobe might have a contender in the latter half of 2010. O RLY? Who cares?

√ Battery life. Mobile devices have hardware H.264 decoding which impacts battery life about half of what software decoding does. Yet once websites convert to H.264, they no longer need Flash at all. Tough decision.

√ Touch. Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not mobile devices using touch screens, Jobs points out. Flash interactivity concepts make no sense with a multi-touch interface.

√ Native code. Jobs comes with the good news that Adobe are finally (after ten years) shipping a mostly 'native' Cocoa product. The stories of screwed over users are myriad as Adobe stuffed PEF binaries in Carbon wrappers, broke people's products because their code was not kept up to date, and so forth. Worse is the fact half of Adobe's customers are on the platform Adobe ignored for over ten years. There's never been an excuse for Adobe's neglect. Jobs:

Although Mac OS X has been shipping for almost 10 years now, Adobe just adopted it fully (Cocoa) two weeks ago when they shipped CS5.

WTG, Adobe. Jobs again:

Our motivation is simple - we want to provide the most advanced and innovative platform to our developers, and we want them to stand directly on the shoulders of this platform and create the best apps the world has ever seen. We want to continually enhance the platform so developers can create even more amazing, powerful, fun and useful applications. Everyone wins - we sell more devices because we have the best apps, developers reach a wider and wider audience and customer base, and users are continually delighted by the broadest and best selection of apps on any platform.

'Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticising Apple for leaving the past behind', concludes Jobs. Hear hear.

See Also
Red Hat Diaries: Steve Jobs is Right
Apple/Steve Jobs: Thoughts on Flash

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