To those of you who have been wondering why Apple mobile products are so anti-flash, there was a really good explanation published by Steve Jobs recently that we thought could be helpful for the consumers. In a nutshell, the reasons were not business-related –it was more technical.
First, Flash websites rely on the arrow of the mouse and does not support touch based devices. If you look at some really nice Flash websites, a lot of them have rollover effects –all depending on where users point the mouse. We thought this made total sense. How would an iPad’s touch interface support that kind of action? There is no concept of “rollover” with any of Apple’s mobile devices. Flash rollover effects of the mouse on navigation menus and certain animated rollover areas all would just not work if there is no mouse. There’s also the battery life. Mobile devices use what’s called a H.264 decoder for playing video. This hardware technology is the best way to decode video and save battery life- opposed to decoding it with software where it takes twice the battery life. Flash has recently added support for H.264, but the problem is, video on almost all Flash websites require an older generation of a decoder –which are not implemented in mobile chips. As a result, Flash videos run on software and the mobile battery is drained more quickly. Speaking of videos, H.264 is the most up to date and “industry standard format” that has been adopted by the biggest media playing networks like Vimeo, Netflix, YouTube all viewable in iPhones, iPods, and iPads.
Aside from the battery life and the touch aspect, the biggest reason was the fact that Flash was a third party software that comes in between the platform and the developer where it actually “hinders the enhancement and progress” of the platform. This means no enhancements, innovations, or modifications to the platform whatsoever unless the third party chooses to do so. So in short, it limits the developer from producing some of the most amazing apps because of their limited library of features and without a direct relationship to the platform.
In general, Flash has never worked well with Apple products. According to Steve Jobs, the #1 reason why Macs crashed was because of Flash. It hasn’t performed well with mobile devices till now, and has yet to show them improvement. We’re glad it’s finally clear on some of the reasons why Apple does not support Flash –and it definitely has nothing to do with winning over business.