By Alex Epner
When I first caught word of the debate over Apple not allowing Flash player on their iPods, iPhones, and iPads, I thought it selfish on the part of Apple. From what I can tell, pretty much everything runs on Flash. If I want to watch a video or play a game online, I’ve been prompted more than once with a request to download the newest version of Flash. Since it’s free and quick to download, it’s really no problem. For Apple to just black list them, well, that’s not fair.
Now, I happen to be a long time Apple supporter. My family is on to our second iMac and I personally have a MacBook Pro. So to hear about the evils of Apple truly broke my heart. Investigating the matter for myself, I discovered a short article Steve Jobs wrote explaining Apple’s position on the disagreement. After reading it, I realized that the argument was much more complicated than I had once perceived. As Steve Jobs notes in his article (http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/), there are some very compelling reasons for black listing Flash from Apple mobile devices.
Of all the arguments Jobs outlines, the most important are those pertaining to the preparedness of Flash to function on all mobile devices. He notes how Flash is responsible for the majority of Mac crashes, as well as having one of the worst security ratings of 2009. He also points out how the addition of Flash would greatly reduce battery life, and how it was not developed for use with touch screen devices. Most compelling of all is that Adobe, who promised to have a workable Flash client for smart phones in 2009, is yet to deliver said promise. Add those together and you have some good reasons why Apple does not accept Flash. After all, how can you accept a product that doesn’t even exist yet?
In order to fill the void left by the absence of Adobe’s Flash, Apple has decided to use alternative forms of playing video and developing apps. Among these alternatives is the relatively new HTML5. HTML5 is an internet coding language that, unlike its predecessor versions of HTML, can be used to incorporate rich media such as audio and video into websites and programs. Essentially, HTML5 will allow programmers to input rich media without using a third party such as Flash. While it is still a relatively new technology, it is gaining speed, mostly due to Apple’s endorsement and incorporation of it in their most recent products.
The question still remains if Jobs did the right thing. Should he have black listed Flash for these flaws, or still allow them on Apple’s mobile devices? Perhaps they should have tried to reach a compromise of sorts? What would you have done?