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Thursday, April 29, 2010
Apple's Jobs Attacks Flash


Apple CEO Steve Jobs atacked Adobe's Flash technology, claiming that the technology is insecure, buggy, battery-draining and not compatible with Apple's multi-touch interface used in the iPhone and iPad.

In a statement Thursday, Jobs laid out his reasons for excluding Flash - the most popular vehicle for videos and games on the Internet - from Apple's handheld devices.

Apple has received a lot of criricism on the fact that the company does not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. Adobe has characterized Apple's decision as being primarily business driven claiming that Apple want to protect their App Store. Last week Adobe said that it would stop the development of a Flash-to-iPhone software tool introduced with its Creative Suite 5 earlier this month. Today Jobs gave an answer claiming that technology issues are not allowing Apple to support the flash technology.

Rather than use flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript ? all 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).

Adobe has said that Apple mobile devices cannot access "the full web" because 75% 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, "Jobs said. "YouTube, with an estimated 40% 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," Jobs added.

Jobs also mentioned that there are reliability, security and performance issues related to the flash technology. 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," Jobs said.

Apple's CEO also claims that Flash does not perform 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," he said.

Jobs also said that the Flash technology requires software decoding, which uses too much power.

"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," Jobs said.

Jobs continued mentioning that Flash is a PC-oriented technology to work on the iPhone and iPad.

"Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers. For example, many Flash websites rely on 'rollovers', which pop up menus or other elements when the mouse arrow hovers over a specific spot. Apple?s revolutionary multi-touch 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?", Jobs said.

Jobs finally said the most important reason for excluding Flash is that it puts a third party between Apple and software developers. That means developers can take advantage of improvements from Apple only if Adobe chose to upgrade its own software, Jobs wrote.

"Flash was created during the PC era ? for PCs and mice.." he said. "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," Jobs wrote.

Steve's Jobs complete article is available at Apple's web site.


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