Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Flash Chicken: iPad Update

For those of you just tuning in, Apple has been playing chicken with Adobe's Flash by expecting the world to use something else to accommodate users of Apple's mobile products. Adobe has responded to Apple's criticism that Adobe is a lazy developer that ships bug-balls that breed security problems by explaining that Steve Jobs doesn't understand Flash and that everybody really needs Flash and can't get along without it, and Adobe looks forward to Apple coming around and allowing the Flash plug-in Adobe has developed.

So far, Apple has been winning this game of chicken. Content providers and Flash competitors eager to enjoy the competitive advantage of reaching Apple's mobile customers have taken steps to allow content access without Flash. The latest of these is ABC, whose online video content can be accessed via an iPad app. The ironic twist? ABC advertises its iPad app in a Flash banner.

Presumably, Apple expects open-standards solutions like HTML5 to pose a Flash replacement, as nobody is going to deploy an Apple-only solution. Rich media tools are important to the web, but support for novel interfaces isn't trivial and can't be bolted onto platforms like Flash that assume moving pointers and other elements that don't exist on the iPad and would require users to interact with Flash content completely differently than they do with everything else on their handheld unit.

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