Adobe responds to Apple’s issues regarding Flash on the iPhone and the iPad

Thu, Mar 11, 2010


It’s no secret that Steve Jobs and Apple don’t think too highly of Flash, with Jobs reportedly noting during an internal Apple meeting that the majority of crashes on Safari are due to Flash related bugs.

Apple has refused to budge from its position of not supporting Flash on the iPhone, and with the Flash-less iPad set to hit the streets in just a few weeks, we’ll soon find out if user demand for Apple’s latest and greatest product outweighs user demand for a complete web browsing experience.

In the video below, Anup Mura, Adobe’s director of technology strategy and development for the Flash platform, address’s some of the more common complaints levied against Flash.

In regards to the claim that Flash drains battery life, Mura responds: “We’re using the same video hardware, we’re using the same graphics hardware, we’re moving more things off the CPU into hardware acceleration that gives us similar performance and similar profile as all these other devices.”

Looking forward, Mura highlights some of the improvements we can expect to see in Adobe’s upcoming Flash 10.1 player

We’ve actually done some optimizations to look at where flash is on a web page, and if content is off-screen, we actually suspend that flash instance, so that there’s extra processing not happening off-screen. Browsers don’t necessarily do that, web pages don’t necessarily do that, we’ve actually been able to be thinking about this problem more broadly and it’s not just  about what can we do in the runtime and using hardware better, but also be thinking about how the application or the webpage is being rendered, and what is being rendered on the screen, where are we in memory..

That sounds pretty nifty, but the only way Apple will cave and support flash on the iPhone and/or iPad is if consumers start complaining with their wallets. Unless that happens, Adobe’s Flash improvements are akin to the school nerd buying the headd cheerleader flowers – it’s a nice gesture, but it ain’t gonna seal the deal.

Further Reading:

Steve Jobs disses Flash, calls it a dying technology

Steve Jobs calls Adobe lazy


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14 Comments For This Post

  1. skips Says:

    I suspect that the divide is even deeper than this article implies. Adobe gave Windows priority treatment in the development of several of its products, which led them to perform better in the Windows world than the MacOS world. This difference was used by a number of the PC manufacturers and retailers to substantiate that MacOS was irrelevant and people should buy Windows machines.

    Until Adobe provides Apple with some real evidence that this situation _cannot_ happen again, I doubt that Apple will trust them. Apple is speaking with its wallet by refusing to support Flash on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. I am guessing from the stream of press releases from Adobe that they are feeling the pinch.

  2. dogbot Says:

    What you call “pretty nifty” sounds to me like an incredibly basic optimization that should have been in in version 3 or 4, not 10.

  3. john Says:

    jobs doesnt want flash on iphone/ipad for two reasons:

    1. it would mean you could get compelling flash content such as games, apps, videos etc without going through the itunes store
    2. flash enables developers to dream up new ui interfaces. this would cause a fragmentation on how the iphone looks/feels to users as each app would have its own ui implementation. by blocking out this ‘threat’ jobs is ensuring a consistent experience on the device

  4. Jessy Says:

    I don’t trust anybody with that many chins.

  5. Chad Zeluff Says:

    There’s another very important reason not to have Flash on this device:

    it wouldn’t work properly anyway. Here’s how:

    Alot of Flash out there relies on the location of the mouse pointer. “Clicking” with the mouse is not enough information. Where it’s hovering greatly affects what happens in Flash animations. Take a look at for example. Everytime you mouse-over something, it changes.

    Apple would rather have something removed from the iPad, than work improperly. I think that is 100% justifiable.

  6. Omar Zafra Says:

    Why would anyone want an archaic runtime that is severely bias towards one single platform, is not open, and drains your battery faster than the newer, open, better alternative, such as, H.264 or HTML5 which is platform-agnostic (meaning cross-platform), it’s open-source and REALLY uses GPU hardware acceleration, and consumes tons less battery life, by efficiently using a combination of CPU and GPU. Why develop using old technology, instead let’s think to the future and develop using the latest technology that does not limit the platforms you can develop for or the audience you can reach.

  7. Honcho Says:

    Lest Adobe forget that Apple made them. Is anyone old enough to remember how Adobe Postscript fueled Apple’s Desktop Publishing revolution? Without Apple, Adobe would not be what it is today. Or was back then.

  8. addicted Says:

    So will Adobe now respond to Android stakeholders (don’t forget, Android doesn’t still have Flash), MSFT (which has said Winmo 7 won’t have flash because of performance concerns), Mozilla (which disables flash on mobile FF because of performance concerns) too?

  9. addicted Says:


    I guess that is why Apple has been pushing HTML5 apps as a dev platform? The only reason the App Store was even created because of developer uproar that Apple was pushing only Web dev over native dev.

    And what are Mozilla’s, MSFT’s, and Android’s reasons for not having Flash yet?

  10. Nick Says:

    @ Chad Zeluff

    … and have you noticed how horrible that home star runner website is? I dont want sounds popping out of the speakers whenever I move the mouse, it turns me away instantly.

    Websites like that divulge in their own beliefs, not giving the user the experience they deserve.

    Flash isn’t a bad bit of software, but it leads to bad design in a lot of instances. Steve Jobs idea is that if we can minimise the amount of bad work out there then the whole experience will be uch richer user end.


  11. Nick Says:

    Oh… and not to mention that it just doesn’t work in many instances without there being a mouse cursor, making it pointless to a lot, if not all touchscreen devices.

    Flash doesn’t and will not ever work on a touchscreen device… There is no way of replicating the movement and click of a mouse without the device becoming clumsy with extra buttons etc, whcih goes against the whole Apple theory…


  12. Mark Says:

    The big problem with flash is that it’s a programming environment for non-programmers! Anyone who’s ever tried to create a “pause” in flash, knows what I mean. It’s clumsy and bass-ackwards to program in and is thusly not very efficient in it’s use of programming cycles. That’s why it’s so processor intensive. Now, there are some programmers with amazing skills that make smooth efficient code in Flash, but that is far from the norm. So, I don’t think there really is any way for Adobe to make Flash more efficient, it’s flawed from the start.

  13. Alex Says:

    John couldn’t be more wrong. Flash content is not compelling–it has helped to create a a content and technology wasteland on the web. Flash has a built-in obsolesance (like most technologies) that has become clearly evident a while back– it is clearly beyond it’s prime. As alluded to, it will be a strugle to adopt it to new paradigms of interaction. Of course, those vested developers will cause a annoying lingering of its presence.

  14. Chris156 Says:

    I don’t like 90% of the flash content out there. (Which is why I use ad blocking plugins.)

    But for the 10% of flash apps and videos that I DO want to see I want the *choice* of enabling flash.

    The choice should be with the user – not some greedy CEO bent on forcing us to get all our apps through his store.

    Flash is not the only example of this they have a laundry list of things they don’t allow because they don’t want users to have a choice over any apple provided functionality. This includes blocking alternative email clients, browsers, calendar apps etc.. Ridiculous.

    I also don’t think we’ll be seeing java – or any kind of open technology for development on the iThing platform either!

    I don’t accept the analogy with the floppy disk – with that being replaced we had better alternatives (CDs and flash drives)

    This is not about technical ‘innovation’ or moving forward. It’s a business decision pure and simple, to benefit apples bank balance at the detriment of user choice.

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