Apple’s Steve Jobs calls Adobe’s Flash web technology a thing of the past. In a letter addressed to Adobe he lists six reasons why Apple will not support Flash-based applications on the iPhone, iPad or iTouch, making certain the public has no doubt about where Apple stands on the matter, and seemingly closing the book on any rumored Apple takeover of Adobe.
Does Apple have something up their sleeves as far developing a competing video/media technology? Apparently not. Jobs frequently mentions H.264 video compression — what he calls “a more modern format” used by YouTube, Blu-ray Disc, and plenty of streaming services and websites.
Of the six reasons given the most reasonable could be Jobs’ statement that “Flash is the number one reason Macs crash.” Yeah, if your product crashed on a propriety application you wouldn’t want it around either.
Another logical reason given was the fact that Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod use touch technology rather than the traditional point-and-click interface found on PCs. Flash uses “rollover” states which Adobe’s multi-touch technology doesn’t support and would not recognize on mobile and touch devices.
But let’s not forget what Flash has done for video on the web. Without it, video websites like YouTube may have been still playing with Quicktime and Windows Media files to display video.
Flash is also the platform for some of the coolest sites on the web (Check out Jim Carrey’s website for example). Most motion pictures build their websites with Flash, and you’ll find embedded Flash modules all over the web including sites like NBA.com where Flash drives their homepage scoreboard.
It’s pretty amazing that Jobs would completely disregard all websites that are built on Flash, but perhaps he is simply separating apples from oranges, or, mobile from PC. But he furthers his reasoning by mentioning that Flash-based video (before adding support for H.264) uses twice the amount of power to process, and therefore more battery consumption. Yes, battery life is important especially for mobile products. But is this good enough reason not to support it?
What Jobs calls the most important reason though, is that his company can not “be at the mercy” of a third party having influence on what Apple’s developers can or cannot do.
Having your products work as seamlessly and error-free as possible is probably at the top of the list for most product designers. Jobs seems to be steering clear of anything that could “taint” Apple’s seamless reputation.
We can find a bit of a trend in his reasoning. Apple has yet to integrate Sony’s Blu-ray technology into its computers. Jobs’ unforgettable comment that Blu-ray introduces a “world of hurt” may be as forward as his calling Adobe Flash a “closed system.”