Three days ago Apple published a post by Steve Jobs defending their decision to not allow Flash on their shiny mobile devices (namely the iPhone, iPod and iPad). To sum up, here are the reasons:
- Apple’s solution is being more “open” than Adobe.
- Missing flash doesn’t hinder the user’s ability to browse and enjoy the web as the world is submitting to Apple’s “innovative” interface.
- Flash is a security menace.
- Using flash for video would drain battery because there were no hardware decoders.
- Flash doesn’t fit in Apple’s touch agenda.
- Apple thinks there should not be anything between its operating system (OS) and application so developers could exploit the full potential of the OS.
There has been various long and detailed arguments counter and support Jobs’ view. Mine is below.
No doubt Jobs is very convincing. It’s his job! The article gives you the feeling Apple is the good guy here and they have been benevolent to Adobe so far. Adobe just can’t live without Apple and Apple has been the source of innovations all along.
While it’s true that Apple had helped Adobe to exit their “proverbial garage”. Apple didn’t get out of it on their own. Say, where did the interface for MacOS came originated? And while Apple is busy praising their “novel” concept of a touch interface, I have been scrolling web pages under the touch of one finger on my p990i for years. To give Apple credit for the touch interface is like giving a wheel rim manufacturer credit for inventing the wheel while in fact all they did were making golden rims. Should we stop using iron-cast rims when there’s the golden rim? That is a change but not such a big one. Marketing hype did the most part of the job! (Introduction and point 5)
Criticizing Adobe for not publishing Flash as a standard and emphasizing Apple’s role in the creation of HTML5 doesn’t make Jobs look better :/. Who are using the web? The users or some technical manager at Apple? Don’t they deserve a choice on what to view and what not to? Would excluding Flash make their device crash-free? It’s the device we spent our money on, and we don’t have a damn right to crash it? :/ If Flash had crashed that much and is such a big security exploit, why doesn’t Opera, Firefox, Chrome or Safari block it? 😐 (Point 3)
And who forced us to pay to use the proprietary H.264 format by rejecting a free and open alternative? While I would agree that HTML5 is the future, Apple’s conservative stance is making it worse! (Point 1 and 4)
As a developer, I just hate the time when you need to do something a bit advanced on Windows, you have to go online and asks for some hidden API buried in some stupid-named dll. What kind of name is MCEWMDRMNDBootstrap? And how come when I wanted something to run on Linux I have to fork a new code path and recompile it? I’m just glad there were Java! To prohibit flash in favor of MacOS’ API is like prohibiting Java to run on Windows. Imagine that! What is the big idea in this step back? 😐 (Point 1 and 6)
And to say Flash is complex and all content developer should abandon it to produce faster, richer application is like telling all Word (or iWork) users to write documents with notepad and automate with C++! The designer’s job is to design, not to learn objective-C! There are thousands application on the App Store but how about millions of games already there on the internet? Are you absolutely sure that everything the world will ever need is in the App store? (Point 2)
By the way, speaking of the App store has just reminded me of how paranoid Apple is to Google (and to changes). First they rejected Google voice to “ensure a streamlined experience to our users”. Meh, why don’t they just say that their own voice application is trash and they are afraid of competition? 😐 And then they threatened a third party developer for a one-line mention of Google’s Android! Plain drama! (Point 1 again)
In conclusion, from my point of view Apple is not the only mobile manufacturer in the world. We still have a lot of alternative choices, make yours wise. Would you trust your data in the hand of a dictator who won’t even allow you to to have an extra battery for your phone? 😐