A few weeks ago, Apple CEO Steve Jobs reportedly made a trip down to New York City where he hobnobbed with executives from both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal in an effort to further highlight the potential of the iPad as just the device to save print media.
While we’re obviously not privy to the precise details of what went down, Valleywag is reporting that Jobs used his time at the WSJ newsroom to launch a full out assault on Flash, which the Journal uses quite frequently for video playback and multimedia content like slideshows and interactive infographics.
Citing people familiar with the meeting, Valleywag writes that Jobs pulled no punches when talking down Flash, pointing out that Flash is buggy, is responsible for crashes, is a CPU hog, a source of security holes, and in a final nail in the coffin, Jobs labeled it a dying technology.
“We don’t spend a lot of energy on old technology,” Jobs reportedly stated. Jobs, however, wasn’t finished, and went on to compare Flash to a number of other dead or dying technologies that Apple had no problem abandoning – i.e the lack of a floppy drive on the iMac, Apple’s own Firewire technology on its MacBooks, and CCFL backlit LCD screens.
Jobs went on to point out that the iPad’s impressive 10 hour battery life would magically shrink to 1.5 hours if “it had to spend its CPU cycles decoding Flash.” To be fair, this seems to imply that the iPad can support continuous video playback for 10 hours without Flash – color us skeptical.
Next, Jobs opined that abandoning flash would be a trivial, yet strategic, move for the WSJ, while also suggesing that the paper use the iPad compatible H.264 codec for video playback. Valleywag astutely points out, however, that it might not be as trivial as Jobs suggests.
But we assume Jobs didn’t mention that H. 264 is patented, privately licensed and could get expensive fast.
Even setting that aside, H. 264 does not fully replace Flash. While it can handle video, it does not comprise a system for the rapid development of interactive graphics, as Flash does. Yet Jobs also reportedly said Flash would be “trivial” in this sense, as well — that it would be “trivial” to make an entire copy of the Journal website with the non-video Flash content also redone.
The crusade against Flash is underway, and Steve Jobs and co. are clearly leading the charge.