While Apple claims its iPad has the “best web browsing experience,” the lack of Flash on the company’s mobile devices is a common complaint. Adobe’s Flash has long been a standard for presenting web video, animations and applications, which means many Web sites do not function as expected when using the mobile version of Safari, the Web browser found on the iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone. Today, Steve Jobs detailed why he Apple and Adobe share “few joint interests.”
Apple’s CEO discussed six reasons why you won’t see Flash on any of Apple’s most mobile products: Flash is a closed system, publishers’ move to H.264 encoded video, security vulnerabilities, battery life, lack of multi-touch capability and the fact that Apple does not want developers using Flash to develop iPhone OS applications.
Steve Jobs concluded his open letter by explaining why he thinks Flash is not the right technology for mobile devices:
Flash was created during the PC era for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards all areas where Flash falls short.
The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 200,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games.
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.
For now, Flash is an integral part of the Web. Using a Web Browser without Flash prevents users from having a seamless browsing experience. Many of the most popular sites on the Web still rely on Flash to present pertinent information, navigation links and multimedia. Many small sites, including countless small businesses Web sites, cannot function at all without Flash.