Steve Jobs just posted an essay called Thoughts on Flash on Apple’s website. In it, he lists the reasons Apple will not work with Adobe and Flash. His main points:
* Flash is 100% controlled by Adobe, making it a “closed system.” Apple, on the other hand, lets developers add to its Web standards.
* Flash has a horrible security record.
* Flash does not perform well on mobile devices.
* Flash drains mobile batteries.
* Flash needs to be rewritten in order to support touch-based systems.
* “Adobe…has said that Apple mobile devices cannot access the ‘full web’ because 75% of video on the web is Flash,” writes Jobs. He also says that most of this video is also available to users in the “more modern” H.264 format.
* Most importantly: Apple does not want to be beholden to a third party between itself and developers. “Developers only have access to the lowest common denominator set of features,” according to Jobs. “Flash is a cross platform development tool. It is not Adobe’s goal to help developers write the best iPhone, iPod and iPad apps. It is their goal to help developers write cross platform apps. And Adobe has been painfully slow to adopt enhancements to Apple’s platforms.”
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.
Read Jobs’ full essay here.