Apple’s credibility flashing by…

Posted: February 1, 2010 in Uncategorized

Apple released the Apple iPad last week. Other than a horrible name, I thought it was a great design and am very tempted to buy one. Three things I think will make this device:

  1. It’s thin, it’s lightweight, and looks good (hopefully they don’t break too easily)
  2. Battery life is up to 10 hours (we’ll have to see real-world numbers though)
  3. A simple, easy-to-use OS

But I wondered, what about Adobe Flash support? Jobs said that “you will be able to see the web as it actually is”. I figured I’d read about it in a few days. The answer was no. Jobs gave two reasons:

  1. Flash will eventually die and give way to HTML5
  2. Flash is one of the largest reasons why a Mac crashes. (Really? I thought a Mac doesn’t crash :() )

According to Adobe, 99% of all Internet-enabled desktops in mature markets as well as a wide range of devices have some version of Flash installed. While taking into account a little marketing tweeking, it is still used by the majority of everyday web users.

HTML5 is still being developed and accoring to Ian Hickson, editor of HTML5 specification, the expected W3C Candidate Recommendation stage will be in 2012 which means Microsoft will likely not pick it up until after then. So what are we going to do until then? Two choices. One being make the end-users see a broken flash placeholder or second being make and maintain two versions of your website. Neither are a good solution.

HTML5 is aimed at reducing the need for proprietary plug-in-based RIA technologies such as Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, and Sun JavaFX according to Wikipedia. HTML5 will introduce native 2D drawing, media playback, drag-and-drop, messaging and more. So does Jobs expect that everyone just drop the millions if not billions of Flash apps out on the Internet now and try to convert everything to HTML 5? Besides, flash is still rapidly evolving with new features and frameworks like Flex. It’s just not going to die, anytime remotely soon.

Right now Apple seems to have it out for Google. But Google did one thing right with their Chrome browser. They managed plugins that break. So if Flash crashed, only the specific block of the webpage would show a broken-flash placeholder and you could either reload and try again or go on to the rest of the webpage uninterrupted. So wouldn’t that be a little more reasonable solution for Apple? In Apple’s mobile browser, mimic this great Chrome feature and Jobs second reason would be void and the end-user would benefit greatly.

Jobs needs to step up and not hide behind whatever agenda he has against Adobe. So, I will probally wait to buy another competitor’s Tablet until Jobs can get in gear. Not to mention it’s limited to AT&T for 3G wireless service again. Ug.

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