Lack of Flash Cripples iPad as Travel Device

| Dave Hamilton's Blog

Based on Steve Jobs’ open letter today, I can say with near-certainty that neither the iPhone nor the iPad will ever support Adobe Flash in any way, shape or form. I now know that, and it’s good to hear it clearly and directly from Apple.

But it doesn’t mean I agree with it — at least not yet. I’ve been an iPhone user for two years, and never once did I miss having Flash on that device. However, it took just two weeks with the iPad for me to miss it there. To read Steve Jobs lump both together as “mobile devices” is lazy and inaccurate (or more probably just marketing speak). The iPhone, definitely, but the iPad is more than that: it’s has the potential to be an über-portable computer and, in many ways, it already is.

Sitting on my couch, working in my office, even on the train (with a Verizon MiFi, of course), I never once missed Flash on my iPad and find its functionality works great for me in place of my laptop. However, when I took it on vacation with me and attempted to use it as my laptop replacement it failed miserably because of this one issue.

For the most part, I don’t care if I can’t see the Flash-y bells and whistles on websites. But last week on vacation my family and I had to decide where to eat dinner each night. As a family steeped in technology — and with two children whose parents don’t like to eat junk food for dinner — we’ve come to rely on being able to scope out the menu ahead of our visit to ensure everyone will find something to their liking. And on 90% of the restaurant websites we visited, Flash was required to just get to view the menu. The same was true with about half of the museum websites we attempted to visit as we planned our daily activities.

Yes, it shouldn’t be this way. Yes, these designers should be publicly flogged for their bad decisions. And, yes, in time this will change. But right now the reality is that I needed Flash to do this, and that means my iPad is crippled as a light-usage travel-replacement for my laptop.

And let’s face it, if Apple truly believed that Flash wasn’t a necessary component of our daily browsing lives they wouldn’t ship Mac OS X with the plug-in preinstalled, now would they?

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Comments

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Dave, I’ve pointed this out before, but what’s really disingenuous about Steve’s Flash/HTML5 schtick is that on iPhone Safari, HTML5 does not even do the <audio> tag in a useful way. So if you’re looking to replace Flash with HTML5 canvas and <audio> sound, you lose 1/2. How many iPhone games do you have that play no sound? So developers can’t deliver a compelling game on iPhone without making an app (and going through the App Store chokepoint). Example on request if anyone needs it again…

I am sorry you bought a crippled device though. That sucks.

Edwin

Try shopping for a car online without Flash.
Impossible.

FlipFriddle

If anyone decides they don’t want their “crippled device” I will gladly dispose of it for them free of charge.

Dave Hamilton

If anyone decides they don?t want their ?crippled device? I will gladly dispose of it for them free of charge.

LOL - as I said, for the most part, I love the iPad, and last week I used it for everything *but* this. The unfortunate part is I’ll still feel the need to grab my laptop when going on a trip like this.

Lee Dronick

Try shopping for a car online without Flash.

Keep visiting the car sales websites. When they realize that they are losing sales because you can’t shop they will lose Flash.

Aaron

Some websites, like Zagat’s, include menus from restaurants. Might not be the most updated, but it’s a good way to get around this problem, until restaurants provide Flash alternatives on their websites.

Bobby

So lets just say, for a moment, that your iPad had flash. How would mouse overs work on those restaurant sites? Remember the days when you HAD to use Internet Explorer? Then web developers finally realized that there was a whole world out there that didn’t use IE and learned to build sites that worked on a variety of platforms and browsers.
I realize that it’s going to take some time for the majority of sites to figure out how to get along without flash, but to ignore mobile computing, which doesn’t use mouse-over at all, is just short sighted and lazy.
What did you do before you had a laptop?

“we?ve come to rely on being able to scope out the menu ahead of our visit to ensure everyone will find something to their liking.”-quit whining and get on with your life.

Dave Hamilton

So lets just say, for a moment, that your iPad had flash. How would mouse overs work on those restaurant sites?

THat wouldn’t work, just like it doesn’t work when I visit an HTML page that relies on mouse-overs. It’s a reality of working on the iPad, and one users must accept. We also (as I stated) have to accept living without Flash. But I can still share my thoughts about it. wink

Alphaman

Meh.  If this is the biggest argument against the iPad anyone can come up with, I’m still buying mine tomorrow afternoon.

The solution is simple: until the restauranteurs quit using last century web gaming technology for their menus, I’ll revert to even older technology: the dead tree menus.  smile  I know, that doesn’t help much when you’re in the hotel room with 2 screaming kiddies, but I can’t find fault with Jobs & Co. for sticking to their guns and wanting the web to stay open and not proprietary.  FWIW, I’ve hated Flash since last century for exactly this reason, regardless of what SJ says.

dmuzzy

@ Bosco
I don’t quite agree with you on the iPad being “crippled”. My thoughts being: I have a typical sedan that seats 4. My co-worker has an SUV that seats 6. When there are 5-6 of us going out, I don’t look at my car and think “too bad I bought the crippled version of the people-mover”. I just realize that I thought that fuel economy and maneuverability were more important than “full-functionality”.

In the same vein, most iPad owners I’ve talked to look at their device as a compromise between portability and functionality. No, they can’t do everything on it, but the trade-off for an ultra-portable, easy-to-use device is OK with them.

All that being said, I do wish Apple would allow a “Flash Viewer” type app. One that would allow *basic* viewing of simple flash content. I’ve noticed that 90% of the flash that I see on the web is usually just images and/or formatted text, not overly-interactive content. I’m basing this on the times that I click on the “Click-to-flash” to see what I’m missing and it’s just text/images. Allowing a simple Flash viewer to see that content might be nice.

Anyway, just my 2 cents.

Ethan

“wanting the web to stay open and not proprietary” that describes Apple’s video format of choice does it?

Apple gives lip service to the web. They want everything on the web to be processed through those proprietary apps that they make 30% on. When was the last add you saw a commercial for the iPhone that wasn’t highlighting an app?

fultonkbd

“However, when I took it on vacation with me and attempted to use it as my laptop replacement it failed miserably because of this one issue.”

Because it couldn’t access a restaurant menu it fails miserably as a replacement for your laptop? Really….? That’s all it took to fail “MISERABLY”?

Sheesh… if that all it takes in your eyes to fail miserably… I wouldn’t want you as a father.  smile

Steve Thorn

Am I the only person that thinks the reasoning is upside down about not having Flash available on a given platform?

Maybe I’m an old school developer but my logic has always ran with I make a site that everyone can get to, see the product and buy the product.

I think Steve Jobs makes some very good points about the power consumption of Flash on mobile devices. And to me, that sets off warning bells that, hey, this is a tablet-based product that could eventually have millions and millions of users. 

Do I want to cut myself out of that consumer stream?  No.  I will sniff the browser and the platform and I will attempt to accomodate every user that wants to surf my domain. So, yes, there will be extra work involved but why would you not take the extra step to make sure your site works for visitors? I’ve been doing that to some extent for many years, dating back to the Netscape/Internet Explorer days.

sflocal

You want Flash but I would bet money that you guys will be the first to criticize Apple for poor battery life because of it.  Can’t have it both ways.

It’s true that the web designers should be on the wall for designing Flash-intensive sites.  Because as it stands, ALL mobile handsets that do run Flash do it horribly and inefficiently.

I really believe that site designers have gotten the hint that Flash is a has-been technology.  It’s only a matter of time for those sites to be re-done in HTML5.

Is HTML5 perfect.  No.  But I’ll gladly take it easy over Flash any day.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

You want Flash but I would bet money that you guys will be the first to criticize Apple for poor battery life because of it.? Can?t have it both ways.

Well, over in the Android world where all of us genius geeks play now (and obviously nobody with an IQ less than 85 could survive), there is actually a little chart that shows battery usage. Settings—> About Phone—> Battery Use. It identifies services and applications and the percent of the current drain they account for.

Sunlight solves most problems.

jragosta

I really wish people would stick to facts in their complaints rather than Adobe shill comments.

As of today, there IS no full version of Flash for ANY mobile device. None. Zip. Nada. It just doesn’t exist other than as Adobe vaporware. And even the betas out there reportedly are slow and choppy.

So why in the world are you criticizing Apple for not including something that doesn’t exist? That makes no more sense than complaining because the Easter Bunny doesn’t deliver the iPad to you.

Dean Lewis

Maybe I?m an old school developer but my logic has always ran with I make a site that everyone can get to, see the product and buy the product.

Nope, you aren’t alone. I just had to work the kinks out of a website so it would show properly (or as well as possible at the moment) on MSIE 6. We’re two versions and several years past that, and I personally can’t wait to see the last of it, but unfortunately if people using the site are using it, I have to doctor my code or provide some sort of alternative. Some sites I have the luxury of ignoring them; some I don’t. So, the question is how much site developers and businesses want to ignore an ever-growing population of web using devices that can’t run Flash well or at all.

Of course, Adobe could just fix Flash (unless they can’t) and finish the betas that are floating around. But maybe it’s easier to sit on laurels.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@jragosta… So why ban Flash to iPhone compilation? There are over 100 apps in the App Store right now made with that tool. “Flash” is more than a browser plugin. It is a development platform. And right now, that platform is delivering popular apps to the App Store.

Dave Hamilton

As of today, there IS no full version of Flash for ANY mobile device. [...] So why in the world are you criticizing Apple for not including something that doesn?t exist?

Because I don’t see the iPad as a “mobile device”, I see it as a ultra-portable device, and Flash *does* exist on those. If the iPad is to compete with other slates and tablets and netbooks, then it has to be held to the capabilities of those machines.

sflocal

Well, over in the Android world where all of us genius geeks play now (and obviously nobody with an IQ less than 85 could survive), there is actually a little chart that shows battery usage. Settings?> About Phone?> Battery Use. It identifies services and applications and the percent of the current drain they account for.

Of course Bosco.  Android lets you monitor every tiny little process and investigate every little tiny thing that goes on with your device.  You make it sound so easy.  Perfect for the geeks that feel the need to control every aspect.

I can understand why the news hasn’t reached you due to you sitting so high-above everyone.

Apple’s mobile hugely successful implementation means that people can just use their handsets and not bother about settings.  They don’t care nor do they want to have to treat their mobile devices like their tweak-everything Windows / Android counterparts.

Geeks comprise such a small segment of Apple’s business.  I’m sure it just irks the heck out of you that most mobile users prefer a simpler model.  My non-geek friends that own Android phones are always complaining about the difficulty of using Android phones.  It’s a geek curiosity and will continue to be that way.

We don’t wander over to the Android world not for the low-IQ that you state, but because we can’t squeeze in the room with the big Android egos.

pats

@Dave one question for you.  Why did you buy an iPad knowing full well that it did not support flash.  Obviously you feel flash provides a critical function, otherwise the iPad would not be crippled.  For a technology Guru to complain about a lack of a feature in a product he buys knowing that the feature does not exist is nonsense.  Go buy some other device with flash if that is the killer feature.  Unlike Bosco I have zero sympathy if lack of flash is ruining your experience.

iphonzie

On my Mac I use ClickToFlash, which makes it obvious where Flash is being used. Sites that rely on Flash when other tools would serve as well don’t get my repeat business. The only thing I seem to be missing is the Flash ads on sites like The Mac Observer.

Do you still get paid when the Flash ad is blocked?

Flash had its day. It was grand and glorious, but it’s time to let it go.

cb50dc

I don?t quite agree with you on the iPad being ?crippled?... I don?t look at my car and think ?too bad I bought the crippled version of the people-mover?.... fuel economy and maneuverability were more important than ?full-functionality?... most iPad owners I?ve talked to look at their device as a compromise between portability and functionality.

dmuzzy, that simple analogy puts it in perspective more clearly than anything else I’ve heard. Thanks.

Dave Hamilton

@Dave one question for you.? Why did you buy an iPad knowing full well that it did not support flash.?

Two reasons:

1) the lack of Flash never bothered me on the iPhone
2) For everything else, I love the iPad, as well. The lack of Flash didn’t bother me there, either, until I tried to rely on it when traveling. Otherwise, I’m impressed by the device and more impressed by its potential.

jragosta

@Edwin
“Try shopping for a car online without Flash.”

Depends on where you look. Edmunds has a mobile site where I can search for cars. And I fully expect that the car makers will follow cbs, youtube, hulu, cnet, etc, etc, etc, and offer non-Flash versions of my site.

Besides, why would you be searching for a car on your mobile phone? That sure makes a lot of sense:
“Here I am 50 miles from home and it just occurred to me that I’d like to spend $40,000 on a new car. There are no car dealers around for me to go to and I don’t know what I want, anyway, but if I could just see the cars on a little bitty 3” screen, I’d run right out and buy a new car THIS INSTANT.”

Do you REALLY think that’s something that happens often in the real world?

cb50dc

Dave, it seems that many responses berating the article failed to grasp your third paragraph.

jragosta

@Bosco:
“So why ban Flash to iPhone compilation? There are over 100 apps in the App Store right now made with that tool. ?Flash? is more than a browser plugin. It is a development platform. And right now, that platform is delivering popular apps to the App Store.”

Jobs already answered that. It leads to second rate apps. Do you really think that adding another layer of complexity will somehow IMPROVE the app?

Cross-platform stuff stinks. Want a relevant example? Look at hardware acceleration in Flash 10.1. Apple gave Adobe permission to use it last week and they just released a beta, so it must have been going in the lab. Based on Adobe’s development processes, it’s a port of the Windows version.

Now, go to Engadget’s review. On the i5, the new version of Flash with hardware acceleration takes MORE CPU power than the old version. Even on an i7, watching a video with hardware acceleration STILL requires 50% CPU time. If they were doing hardware acceleration properly, the GPU should be doing all that work.

Cross-platform apps are rarely all that good in ANY circumstances, but in the case of systems with very little performance to waste (like a mobile phone), it can be disastrous. Even if it came from someone better at it than Adobe.

I love the way people like you insist that you know more about computer development and operation than Apple. If you’re so knowledgeable, go start your own company and you can add Flash all day long.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

pats wins this thread. Classic and classy!!

@sflocal… Ah, I love the “you’re a geek if you don’t like it the Apple way” argument. So I’m the pretentious nerd and the readership of this site overwhelmingly installs browser plugins to block Flash. See this poll result. Hilarious.

This is just like the missing iPhone thing. Most of you didn’t really give a rat’s ass about Flash until Steve called it out. Just like most of you weren’t card carrying members of the found property gestapo until Gruber told you how to be on Apple’s side. Again, hilarious. And funnier when your *magical* products are further marginalized because Steve Jobs can’t even try to be a good guy and work things out.

Dave Hamilton

Dave, it seems that many responses berating the article failed to grasp your third paragraph.

Yes, it does seem they missed that. The title, too, where I clearly say my beef is with the lack of Flash on the iPad and not at all about the iPhone or any other mobile phone. And then there’s that whole “mobile device” thing. grin

cb50dc

Deleted due to inadvertent repeat post. D’oh.

jragosta

@Dave:
“Because I don?t see the iPad as a ?mobile device?”

When you make your own device, you can call it whatever you want and add any features you want.

Apple specifically said right from the start that it’s not a laptop replacement - yet you’re criticizing it for not being a laptop replacement. See the error?

sflocal

I find Dave Hamilton’s piece about being disappointed with not seeing a Flash menu while on vacation for restaurants quite disturbing.  He definitely does not sound like someone anyone would want to vacation with.

When I travel on vacation, the last thing that comes to mind is going online and check menus.  I ask locals, talk to people, look around the area of interest for something that grabs my attention.  It seems obvious that these social things scare Mr. Hamilton.

Talk about having high standards!

Dave Hamilton

@jragosta: no error. Apple said that right from the start, but I didn’t believe it then, nor do I believe it now. See my original article on the subject for my initial thoughts on the iPad (which still stand, by the way).

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Jobs already answered that. It leads to second rate apps. Do you really think that adding another layer of complexity will somehow IMPROVE the app?

Cross-platform stuff stinks.

Tell that to the tens of thousands of kids (many disadvantaged) who are developing crucial literacy skills with a cross-platform (Windows, Mac) app that I wrote and continue to improve. The promise I make to them and their teachers year in and year out for almost 7 years with this product now, is that if their administrators decide to shift purchasing from Mac to Windows or vice versa, their data won’t be held hostage. There is a possibility I can extend this to Android cost-effectively. There is no possibility I can do the same to iPad despite the fact that my tools vendor has been laying groundwork for two years to support iPhone OS.

You’re just ignorant, in a bad, bad way.

cb50dc

you?re criticizing it for not being a laptop replacement.

Dave, I know you’re a big boy and you can stand up for yourself, but lemme jump in here before I get back to work.

jragosta, nope, he’s not expecting it to be a laptop replacement. He cites the absence of Flash, period. Adding Flash to the iPad would not make it a laptop replacement.

If someone says, “I can’t print like I can from my MBP, I can’t use the iSight like I can on my MBP, I can’t work in Logic Pro or Photoshop or Final Cut like I can in my MBP,” then THAT person is trying to make the iPad a laptop replacement.

Geez.

[edit: I see you already got it. But I don’t mind adding detail.]

Back to work, or something like it, for me.

jragosta

“Apple said that right from the start, but I didn?t believe it then, nor do I believe it now.”

Sorry, Apple was very clear on the device and that it’s not a laptop replacement. The fact that YOU don’t believe them isn’t grounds to criticize them. You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, but that doesn’t make Apple wrong.

I’m just curious about one thing. Why in the world are you criticizing Apple for not including something that doesn’t exist? There is NO full version of Flash that could work on the iPad today. None. Even if Apple wanted it, it doesn’t exist. Sure, we have Adobe’s vaporware promises that will be out there some day, but they’ve been saying that for years.

I guess it’s Apple’s fault that there’s no Santa Clause, too. After all, they had one Christmas commercial where PC was dressed up like Santa Claus and no one delivered free presents down my chimney on Christmas. Must be Apple’s fault. That makes as much sense as blaming Apple for not including a product that doesn’t exist.

jragosta

@cbsofla:
” nope, he?s not expecting it to be a laptop replacement.”

Really? Then maybe you missed where he said:
“However, when I took it on vacation with me and attempted to use it as my laptop replacement it failed miserably because of this one issue.”

Clearly, he attempted to use it as a laptop replacement even though Apple was very clear that it’s NOT a laptop replacement - and now he’s upset that it’s not a laptop replacement. Unjustified whining, pure and simple.

jragosta

@bosco:
“Tell that to the tens of thousands of kids (many disadvantaged) who are developing crucial literacy skills with a cross-platform (Windows, Mac) app that I wrote and continue to improve. The promise I make to them and their teachers year in and year out for almost 7 years with this product now, is that if their administrators decide to shift purchasing from Mac to Windows or vice versa, their data won?t be held hostage.”

I see. So the point is that you don’t know the difference between file format compatibility and cross-platform apps?

It’s quite possible to have the data in a format that will not be lost even if you have to use different apps on the different platforms. Your argument doesn’t make any sense at all.

Joe Kelley

Dave,
This is just a painful transition phase all us early adopters go through.  Lets face it, resource sucking, buggy Flash sux on OS X and would on the iPhone OS.  If Adobe had its s4!t together three years ago and made flash work for Macs like it does on Windows, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.  The fact is, Adobe has always treated Mac users like second-class citizens and now they’re paying for it.  I predict in 24 months Flash will be bad distant memory.  Orgs like the New York Times, WSJ, YouTube and others are well on their way to dumping Flash altogether and others are beginning to fall in line quickly.  “Patience, Grasshopper”, Apple has the bigger stick in this fight.

Steve W

Try shopping for a car online without Flash.
Impossible.

How is that working for the car companies? LOL!

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I write once, deploy on Mac and Windows. I customize some experience for Mac, some Windows, yet it’s stuff you’d never notice. Or maybe you would notice the dirty state for the close box. We’ve had feature parity since day 1. We’ve had several large customers switch platforms on a dime and keep going without a hitch. It used to be mostly Windows—> Mac switchers, and I’d like to think that at the time, you might have thought I was a hero for making that possible and simple. But Steve has issued the Flash Fatwa, and so people like me get our proven methodologies swept up and called crap.

You argue from a position of total ignorance.

jragosta

@Bosco:
“You argue from a position of total ignorance.”

Oh, yes, I forgot that you know more about software development than Apple Computer. Geez.

What you’re describing can be done in C, as well, as long as you separate the UI from the core code. Or do it in html. There’s nothing that requires Flash - and Flash is the least efficient way to do it.

Sure, it’s easier for people who are nothing more than script authors, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that it’s too buggy, insecure, and hogs too much CPU time for mobile devices.

sflocal

But Steve has issued the Flash Fatwa, and so people like me get our proven methodologies swept up and called crap.

You argue from a position of total ignorance.

Actually, your position is that of one living in denial.

Change is the only permanent thing in technology.  Flash had its 15 minutes of fame and is heading down the path of obsolescence.  Only Adobe carries that burden since they were too complacent and took too long to adapt.  That is absolutely the truth and you very well know that.

You want to write it once and have it be cross-platform?  Time to get up to speed and start reading those HTML5 books.  If you are unwilling / scared to make the change to the next platform, then be prepared for the group of folks totally ready and willing to take your clients.

“Flash Fatwa”... how funny!

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Actually guys, my tool of choice is REAL Studio. What the Flash Fatwa has ensured is that in order for Steve to keep his toll booths up at the App Store, developers like me have no affordable path to iPad. Section 3.3.1 precludes it. The dishonest and anti-intellectual anti-cross-platform rhetoric precludes it.

I choose a higher level language for 95% of the codebase of my projects because it eliminates/quarantines the common low level errors (null pointer dereferencing, memory leaks) associated with C. Where I need to for speed, I program in C and, back when PPC was the main architecture for Macs, wrote optimized AltiVec code to get 4x improvement on costly graphic routines. So yes, I have the chops to play anywhere I have to, and I’ve always been damned good at it.

I also have the wisdom to choose my tools so that I get the best bang for my buck, the most output for my time, and produce the best software for my customers. Two decades of experience and an advanced degree in the field tell me that will ALWAYS on balance be with a higher level cross-platform tool than a C derivative and vendor APIs. And yeah, my home, cars, family, gadgets, friends, and dogs are testament to me knowing this issue damned well.

Steve knows it damned well too. He just lies to you.

jragosta

@Bosco:
“Actually guys, my tool of choice is REAL Studio.”

Then maybe it’s time you learned something that works on mobile devices.

Here’s they hypocrisy in your statements. You’re claiming that Apple is lying and that Flash is absolutely essential for your work - and that Apple is evil for not having Flash on the iPhone.

Yet, there is not a single mobile device today running a full version of Flash. It doesn’t exist other than as vaporware. So either:
1. Mobile devices don’t use your product, anyway, so there’s no reason for Apple to care
or
2. You’re lying (Ordinarily, I wouldn’t say that, but you accused Jobs of lying - without even making that only one scenario)

So which is it?

woode

Dave, did you send emails to the sites to let them know that you didn’t go to their restaurant/museum/whatever because you couldn’t see their site? A little input to them so that they know they are losing page views AND visitor dollars will work far better than impotently blogging about how the iPad sucks as a travel device. As you acknowledged, Flash ain’t coming to the iPad, so you can’t change that side of the equation.

cb50dc

maybe you missed where he said:
?However, when I took it on vacation with me and attempted to use it as my laptop replacement it failed miserably because of this one issue.?

D’oh. Gotta cut back on my dimtwit pills.

Ehhh, not “maybe” ? definitely. I sit corrected. My apologies, jragosta. (can’t find an emoticon for “sheepish”)

That’s what I get for rushing through my responses. Despite the explicit statement, the rest of it hadn’t come across that way to me.

(At least I did get some work done meanwhile.)

sflocal

I choose a higher level language for 95% of the codebase of my projects because it eliminates/quarantines the common low level errors (null pointer dereferencing, memory leaks) associated with C. Where I need to for speed, I program in C and, back when PPC was the main architecture for Macs, wrote optimized AltiVec code to get 4x improvement on costly graphic routines. So yes, I have the chops to play anywhere I have to, and I?ve always been damned good at it.

I also have the wisdom to choose my tools so that I get the best bang for my buck, the most output for my time, and produce the best software for my customers. Two decades of experience and an advanced degree in the field tell me that will ALWAYS on balance be with a higher level cross-platform tool than a C derivative and vendor APIs. And yeah, my home, cars, family, gadgets, friends, and dogs are testament to me knowing this issue damned well.

So what you’re basically telling us is that either technology adapts to how you do your work or that you’re simply afraid to learn a new platform?

In my 20+ years of software design, I too have learned a few things as well and that is to either adapt to the latest and greatest framework or wither-away and die.  Sounds to me like you’re just venting to having to learn something new.

And since you brought it up, I can safely say that my home (fully paid for in San Francisco), cars, motorcycles, family, gadgets, friends, and (late) dog are testament to me knowing this issue damned well too!

Dave Hamilton

To offer some clarity: I do see the iPad as a (future?) laptop replacement, but perhaps not the way many of you are interpreting that statement.

When I’m traveling (i.e. when I’m using my laptop for its portability), my needs are often significantly less than when I’m here in my office. I can live with less software options, and I can live with there being only one path to get something done whereas on a full-blown Mac I might have 5 options. And the iPad’s form-factor (without the fold-out keyboard mess of a laptop) is *fantastic* for traveling. It’s great on planes, trains, and in hotel rooms. So yes, I do see it as a laptop replacement (for ME), but not as a laptop equal. That said, the lack of Flash (as I described in the article) was the sole holdup that kept it from being even that on last week’s trip. Prior to that I was of the opinion that Flash didn’t matter on the iPad (and iPhone).

I realize that my goals and intended usage for the iPad doesn’t match Apple’s current marketing message. That’s irrelevant. We all buy lots of tools and use them for purposes other than which those the manufacturer advertises (and don’t even get me started on prescription drugs and the same!). There’s nothing wrong with that, and accordingly there’s nothing wrong with pointing out how this (newly-released) tool fails at something that other users may someday intend to try. In fact, it’s my responsibility to do just that! grin

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@jragosta

You misquote me. And you still haven’t accounted for the 100+ apps currently in the App Store that were compiled from Flash source. My iPhone battery is dead from a week of non-use, so I can’t cite a really fun game I bought offhand. But I can cite the South Park Avatar creator. For what it does, it’s a pretty kick ass little app. Doesn’t even slow my crippled 3GS down. I can’t figure out what the hell Steve is talking about when he rails against cross-compilation (or you when you go parrot with that for that matter).

I will throw you a bone though, where REAL Software publicly suggests the possibility of iPhone (and thus, iPad) targets. They never promised of course, but this is the one public suggestion. Ironically, it was posted the morning that 3.3.1 was discovered.

The CEO is a Facebook friend of mine and I’ve spent a few long hours on the phone with him over the past decade. He’s still very pro-Apple, bought his daughter an iPad on day 1. Admittedly, I’m a first class prick, and it serves me well. But he’s an example of the collateral damage of having a turd like Steve Jobs flapping his lips and running the show. Just my opinion. Most definitely not his.

jragosta

@Dave:
“I realize that my goals and intended usage for the iPad doesn?t match Apple?s current marketing message. That?s irrelevant.”

That’s nonsense is what it is.

Apple sold you a wrench and you’re complaining that you can’t use it as a screwdriver.

That’s not Apple’s fault and if you had a shred of integrity, you’d rewrite the blog and take all the Apple-bashing out of it. The problem is that you want to use the device as something it’s not designed for. That is not the manufacturer’s fault and it’s extremely disingenuous of you to imply that it is (which is exactly what you’re doing).

Dave Hamilton

Oh… and… one more thing: anyone who thinks that Apple intends to leave the iPad as nothing more than an iPod touch (or iPhone) with a big screen is clearly missing the point. Right now, that’s essentially all it is, yes. But there’s no WAY it’s going to stay that way. More functionality is coming, mark my words.

jragosta

@Bosco:
“I can?t figure out what the hell Steve is talking about when he rails against cross-compilation “

So you’re back to thinking you know more about software development than Apple.

Must suck to have an ego so large you can’t fit your head through the door.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Cue REACT at Dave’s house in 3… 2… 1…

Yeah, Steve is just the ultimate turd. Need to change the subject? Slap Adobe this morning. That’ll change it good.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@jragosta… Ok, this time in Spanish… El Appo South Park. El App Store. Heche en Flash. Whole enchilada. Investigato por favor!

jragosta

@Dave
“Oh? and? one more thing: anyone who thinks that Apple intends to leave the iPad as nothing more than an iPod touch (or iPhone) with a big screen is clearly missing the point.”

I don’t think Apple will stop with the current iPad. Their entire history (the entire industry, for that matter) consists of newer versions of products with increased capabilities.

What does that have to do with your unjustified attack?

You’re still attempting to use the product as something that Apple specifically says it’s not designed for. If Apple says in 2 years that the new iPad 3.0 is suitable as a desktop replacement, then you’re free to complain if you think it doesn’t work as a desktop replacement. But today, you’re complaining because it won’t do something that you specifically told that it wouldn’t do - which is just plain unfair.

What part of that don’t you understand?

jragosta

@Bosco
” Ok, this time in Spanish? El Appo South Park. El App Store. Heche en Flash. Whole enchilada. Investigato por favor!”

So the fact that you can translate a sentence into Spanish is somehow supposed to indicate that you know more about software development than Apple? Sorry, I don’t follow the logic.

toke

Dave,
you don’t know how to VNC to your Mac back home with your iPad?
Or you just didn’t do it, so you could write this article?

sflocal

The CEO is a Facebook friend of mine and I?ve spent a few long hours on the phone with him over the past decade. He?s still very pro-Apple, bought his daughter an iPad on day 1. Admittedly, I?m a first class prick, and it serves me well. But he?s an example of the collateral damage of having a turd like Steve Jobs flapping his lips and running the show. Just my opinion. Most definitely not his.

Yes, you’re absolutely right Bosco.  You know what’s better for all of us millions of Apple customers.  We are just a bunch of lemmings blindly following the “Jobs” and his teachings.  I suppose Apple is a complete failure for not bowing down to how you think the mobile space should be.

“Collateral Damage” is nonsense.  That CEO’s daughter is the future focus of what computing will be like.  But you’re too blinded in your own reality to see the change that’s coming.  Either adapt and join the fun, or be quiet and let the world pass you by.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Let me spell it out for you. P-L-E-A-S-E   E-X-P-L-A-I-N   H-O-W aw screw it. This is tiresome. Just answer this for me…

Here are some apps made with Flash that are in the App Store, right now. If Flash and cross-platform development suck as bad as Steve claims, how are any of these possible?

Fruit Smash is a really fun, addictive little game. See it in the third video on that page.

jragosta

@toke:
“Dave,
you don?t know how to VNC to your Mac back home with your iPad?
Or you just didn?t do it, so you could write this article?”

Good point. Or GoToMyPC. Or LogMeIn.

ctopher

Bosco, Steve hates your customers. They are poor. Don’t take it personally. (oh wait, I mean do.)

Dave Hamilton

Dave,
you don?t know how to VNC to your Mac back home with your iPad?
Or you just didn?t do it, so you could write this article?

Neither, though that’s a good option in a pinch and something to keep in mind if I *am* traveling with just the iPad and run into a similar scenario.

The reality was my MacBook Pro was right there (I brought it as a backup) so I just grabbed that and did what I need to. Got the job done in the shortest amount of time.

jragosta

@Dave:
“The reality was my MacBook Pro was right there”

Geez, Louis.

OK. So you carried your laptop with you because Apple told you that the iPad is not a laptop replacement. Then the iPad wouldn’t work as an iPad replacement so you used the MBP that you had with you anyway. And you blamed Apple.

Or, to put it in other terms since you seem to have trouble with the concepts: Apple told you that the iPad is a wrench and you can’t use it as a screwdriver, so you took both a wrench and a screwdriver with you. When you needed to tighten a screw, you had to use the real screwdriver instead of the wrench. AND, there was a way to use the wrench as a screwdriver in a pinch, anyway.

And THAT is the basis of your insane iPad-bashing story? You really ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Dean Lewis

FWIW, I understand Dave’s point completely. As for what can be done about it right now, since dumping the iPad isn’t an option as Dave does like it for everything but, I agree with a previous respondent: complain to the restaurants. If they don’t know their customers are having problems reading their info, then they won’t change it. A quick email to them saying you went elsewhere because they didn’t have at least a mobile version of their site to get to the menu (they didn’t, right?) is all that’s needed. Eventually, the reports will add up to a noise level loud enough for them to make a change of some kind. (I’d be curious about accessibility issues if they don’t have something other than Flash, too—although that can be cost/time prohibitive depending on the size of the restaurant, if it is a chain, etc.).

Probably easier to change that than to change either Apple or Adobe on this. Looks like they’ve both drawn their lines and are standing behind them no matter what.

The LogMeIn/VNC stuff is an interesting idea. I’m going to test that out soon. Hey, is Bosco’s Screen Share available for the iPad? smile (I actually like it and have used it in the past.)

Dave Hamilton

insane iPad-bashing story

I get that you like to argue, but you really are missing the point (or choosing to miss it): As many others have understood from the original story, I *like* the iPad. I use it constantly. It works well for me as a laptop replacement in all but one circumstance, and that turned out to be a fairly big deal, so I blogged about it. But no, I’m not bashing the iPad entirely, just a small piece of it. Thanks.

Dave Hamilton

complain to the restaurants. [...] Probably easier to change that than to change either Apple or Adobe on this.

Agreed that notifying the restaurants is a good option. That gets more difficult if you can’t contact them because of the same Flash limitations, but your point is valid nonetheless.

In the end, it *is* the restaurants (and museums, and shop owners, and designers, etc) who will make the choice based on their customers and their own marketing needs. My guess is Flash will go away (and I hope it does, I hate the freakin’ thing!), but until it does it *will* be a source of frustration for many “mobile” users.

jragosta

@Dave:
” you really are missing the point (or choosing to miss it):”

No, YOU are missing the point. The iPad doesn’t do something is wasn’t supposed to do and you’re criticizing it for that failure. Whether you like it overall is irrelevant. Your criticism (which formed the basis of this entire article) is misplaced.

Here, let me write your next few headlines for you:

“iPad is crippled because it won’t replace mainframe computer”

“iPad is crippled because it can’t make phone calls without VOIP”

“iPad is crippled because it won’t make my breakfast”

“iPad is crippled because it needs to be recharged”

Your complaint doesn’t have any more validity than those.

Lee Dronick
Dave Hamilton

The iPad doesn?t do something is wasn?t supposed to do

Actually, it was Steve Jobs who said the iPad is (supposedly) the best way to experience the web. That’s all I was trying to do. Thanks.

sflocal

@Dave

Change the heading of your article from “Lack of Flash Cripples iPad as Travel Device”

to:
“iPad makes a great travel device sans Flash”.

and then you’ll maybe get some legitimacy.  Until then, you’re simply vying for web-hits.

Dean Lewis

I don’t know about Mac Observer, but on a lot of sites and definitely in print media, the writers rarely also write the headline.

pats

@ Dave
I think most of the folks who follow this site are well aware that the lack of flash can affect the viewing of some web sites.  In my experience with the Iphone, the limitation has been removed by the availability of applications.  When I went to DC on a recent vacation the Iphone without flash was able to accomplish all my tasks and research but we were unable to purchase tickets via the iphone to the spy museum so we dialed the number and talked to a human.  With applications like Yelp and Where to and Google Maps, the mobile browsing experience on the iPhone is best in class.  We all would like version 1 of any system to be perfect but their is not a single electronic manufacture that actually delivers.  As Apple attempt to enable new technology like Grand Central Dispatch and OpenCL, they need developer buy in to rewrite their software both on iPhone and iPad.  My guess is Adobe’s flash would slow this technology adoption since windows is going their own direction with parallel processing Apple does not was a cross platform solution which removes these technology advances.  Time will tell if their decision on Flash will hurt their market.  I bet it won’t.

Tiger

Again, the market speaks volumes.

AAPL     268.64   +7.04
ADBE       34.96   -0.51

doogie

So why ban Flash to iPhone compilation? There are over 100 apps in the App Store right now made with that tool. ?Flash? is more than a browser plugin. It is a development platform. And right now, that platform is delivering popular apps to the App Store.

Because they don’t want the iPhone OS to be a delivery device for another platform.  They want the iPhone device to be the platform.

Technical hurdles aside, this likely proceeds one of two ways.  Apple gets comfortable with the fact that iPhone native apps are clearly distinguished from Flash apps/plug-in content and allows them.  Apple continues to feel that Flash is a trojan horse for applications that are indistinguishable from those running on other platforms and feels threatened by the inability to market a clearly distinguishable, premium product that commands premium prices.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

+200 for honesty doogie. Now, why can’t Steve just be as honest as you and say that instead of impugning a specific popular tool and a widespread, proven development methodology?

Note: I still think it’s bullshit, but at least it’s honest bullshit. Play Fruit Smash and play Scrabble or Doodle Jump without knowing which was Flash-based and which wasn’t and then tell me which is.

doogie

Perhaps it would be more succinct to say:

Apple sells premium priced products by differentiating them.

Cross-platform undermines differentiation.

sflocal

+200 for honesty doogie. Now, why can?t Steve just be as honest as you and say that instead of impugning a specific popular tool and a widespread, proven development methodology?

SJ has said that in one form or another since the iPhone has been out.  He’s said similar things when the iPad was introduced as well.  No matter how often he says it, you will continuously pick-and-choose only what you want to hear.  The cycle never ends.

doogie

Frankly, Bosco, I think Steve would feel the same about your cross-platform software, unless it can be turned into a vehicle for switching people.

It’s pretty obvious that they’re not worried about cross-platform software as a requirement to switch people to the iPhone.  People are switching in droves from platforms not called Android or RIM.

If they can continue to capture the most profitable segments of the (consumer) market, there will never be an incentive to change.

doogie

Now, why can?t Steve just be as honest

I thought I was just paraphrasing Steve’s words about differentiation.  The speculation about the future is my own, of course.

doogie

Disregard

ilikeimac

Wow, I finally made it to the end of the comments. For now. Most work days I wouldn’t have had time but it’s turning into a slow afternoon. Thanks for the entertaining rants guys.

Here’s the things I found interesting in Steve’s letter and the discussion here.

1. Steve mentioned hardware decoding of H.264. I hadn’t given much thought before to how the iPad could offer such long battery life while watching video, and why Flash would take more battery. It figures that in developing their own system on a chip Apple could implement this in hardware and save a ton of juice, whilst Flash, if allowed to run, would run in software or require an additional piece of hardware for video decoding to be on par.

2. I was greatly amused on page two of the comments when Bosco dropped the shroud from his face (so to speak) and revealed that he is heavily invested in Flash development and therefore has quite a bit at stake with being locked out of so much Apple hardware. It doesn’t validate or invalidate his arguments, but it helps explain his, um, passion.

3. Steve Jobs derided meta-platforms for utilizing only the “lowest common denominator” on all supported platforms. Someone in this thread talked (in support of eschewing Flash on web pages) about how web designers should strive to make pages accessible on as many devices as possible, apparently by choosing accepted standards and coding in special cases for popular, if standards-deviant browsers. Since I agree with both statements to an extent, so I guess this means I favor platform-locked but high-powered desktop tools, and open standard but possibly less “fancy” web sites. Note I said I agree “to an extent;” there are caveats and commendable compromises in both arenas; the interesting part is the flip-flopping of my priorities between compatibility and usefulness/aesthetics.

4. @Bosco, thanks for the great link the gallery of Flash iPhone apps, and is the number “100” which everyone is throwing around really accurate? With (according to Steve’s letter) 200,000 apps in the store, and one developer that I know of having at least 10 Flash games in the App store, “100” sounds really really low, and kinda makes the issue seem laughably unimportant. I would guess there are far more than 100, maybe more like 1-5% of the store. What about the blockbuster iPhone and iPad game “Plants vs. Zombies?” Since portions of it are playable on the web and other platforms I’m pretty sure it’s Flash. This is one area where I understand Apple’s reasons but I think they might be hurting themselves.

5. I wish Adobe and others would take the last part of Steve’s letter to heart, about investing in HTML5. Since I do favor open standards for web development, I would love to see Adobe or others make high-quality tools for developing HTML5 content, instead of clinging to their proprietary format.

6. Apple could defuse some (ok, probably just a tiny amount) of this criticism if it would introduce some high-level APIs that compete with the power and convenience of Flash. Granted I haven’t delved into Flash or iPhone development but I have dabbled in Cocoa programming and Objective C, while awesome for a lot of things, is unnecessarily low-level for the needs of some projects. Come to think of it though, if HTML5 is as powerful as they say I suppose you could implement something in HTML5 and display it in WebKit if you wanted to.

OK, coworkers swung by and gave me more work. Time to shut up.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@sflocal… If I picked and chose, I’d ignore his comments about Adobe being lazy or how they never supported the Mac. Speaking of which, do you know what else was in Yellow Box? I got a personal, one on one sit down “confidential” briefing about it in January, 1997, not two weeks after Apple bought NeXT. The thing I was assured was in Yellow Box (Bryan could guess for you) got “cancelled” by Steve 4 months later. So do you think developers, especially the big ones, might have had reason to be hesitant when Mac OS X and Cocoa finally came around? How about the disposition of AppleScript? Anyone remember the drama with that?

@doogie… You’re absolutely right about how Steve would feel. Three years ago, he would have loved us. This year, we’ve opened up inexpensive, almost disposable netbooks as a wonderful kid friendly option for our software. But hell, mutual Adobe/Apple customers easily account for 30% of Apple’s high-end (highest margin) Mac sales. And Steve has no problem taking Adobe to task.

@ilikeimac… I’m not a Flash developer. I do use cross-platform tools. Steve’s characterizations of cross-platform software are just plain inaccurate. Nor does he weigh his inaccurate claims against clear benefits in eliminating common, stupid bugs and having more leverage for finding difficult bugs.

doogie

It seems to me that Adobe could export Flash to HTML5/CSS/H.264 as easily as to iPhone code.

Of course, that would undermine their stranglehold on “cross-platform platforms”.

Just politics, of course, that everybody gets so sanctimonious about their position, when really it’s all about the bottom line.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Video, sure. How about immersive, interactive experiences? Oh, and have you tried the HTML5 <audio> tag out on iPhone. Useless!

ilikeimac

@Bosco Sorry, I misread that. Interesting. I guess that means your toolkit is an interpreter or cross-compiler rather than a C or Objective C library that abstracts calls to the windowing system?

doogie

I haven’t.  I’m just another layman when it comes to Flash programming.  I’ve seen some impressive interactive demos, but the details and limitations of each are beyond me.

It does seem to be a litmus test for HTML5 as a Flash replacement.

Of course, there are no third party tools to create such a test, which brings us back to…

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@ilikeimac… Nope, it’s all compiled. And most of the REAL Studio generated code runs as efficiently as non-hand-tuned C. I do some small parts in C (plugins to REAL Studio), but just the stuff that has to run really fast.

REAL Studio is a very capable development environment, with an enthusiastic user base and a great little company behind it. But according to Steve Jobs:

We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features.

The substandard apps part is patently false. The “holding up the platform” part is also crap when you’re talking about tools that allow the developer to tap directly into underlying platform SDKs. While he may be right about Flash on that point, he’s not right about a bunch of other frameworks and tools.

He’s lying to you. I think it’s sad that you let him, regardless of how strong your feelings are about Flash or Adobe. There are other people in the Apple ecosystem affected by Steve’s belligerence.

doogie

Seems counterintuitive that video is fine, but audio fails, doesn’t it?  Your observation seems correct, though, in some quick tests.

doogie

“Sub-standard” smacks of code for “not showing off Apple strengths”, i.e. selling the argument.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Here’s a quick test for you:

http://storyteller.realelibrary.com/iphone

It’s a pure HTML5 app that uses <audio> tags to play sounds. Try it in Safari on your Mac. It works. Try it on your iPad. Supposedly it works. Try it on your iPhone. No dice with the audio. Been reported to Apple. Apple’s reply was that it works as designed. Apparently, there’s no need for a web app on iPhone to make sound.

Seriously, if you were gonna launch global-thermonuclear war against a market partner and claim that your way (HTML5) is better than their way (Flash), wouldn’t you sweat a couple of those little details so you don’t look stupid?

doogie

You can see the same thing in the arguments from both sides.

Flash player doubles the battery drain (when not playing back H.264 with hardware decoding).

Flash player patently does not consume more battery life [when playing back H.264 video using hardware decoding].

doogie

We’re out of sequence.

Garion

I wonder how many reataurant owners are aware that they are losing business when they make their whole website exclusively in Flash?

And Mr. Hamiltons observation is quite true: a surprising number of restaurant websites are indeed 100% Flash. That’s just dumb, if you ask me.

There are currently over 50 million mobile internet devices out there with an Apple logo on them, and God only knows how many more smartphones that also can’t show Flash. And these restaurants don’t realize that people actually use these mobile devices when they want to look up a place to eat?

That to me looks more like a job for a web developer with solid HTML skills. Call these Flash-restaurants and offer them to remake their websites so that ALL people have access to their websites!

dhp

And let?s face it, if Apple truly believed that Flash wasn?t a necessary component of our daily browsing lives they wouldn?t ship Mac OS X with the plug-in preinstalled, now would they?

Oh, I’ve always wondered why I can’t move or delete Chess from my applications folder without the next OS update reinstalling it. Obviously it’s a necessary component of my computing life.

jameskatt

Try shopping for a car online without Flash.
Impossible.

Cars.com has their own app.
It uses no Flash.
It’s great for shopping for cars.

more probably

What is “more probably”?  How can something be “more probably”?  I understand how something could be “more probable” or “more likely”, but what does “more probably” mean?  Best and the brightest at work…

Boxav8r

Doctor Jobs to us patients: “We’re going to have to remove Flash.  It’ll only hurt for a little while. Soon you’ll find yourself adapting to life without this sick appendage”.

And it was so.

Temporary pain . . . And I found it a little more than ironic that Komando’s Video review of “Killer Apps for the iPad” was not visible on the iPad because it was in Flash. Things that make you go “Hmmm”.

I look forward to the day when Flash is a thing of the past. Sorry Adobe. You make some really powerful products, but the overhead is just too much of a price to pay.  So I’ll slog though in the interim; not always happy with this ‘Flash Extraction’ that’s been performed, but better off (I think) in the long run.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@Boxav8r… You know, I think you’re right. And it turns out that HTML5 can do animations today too! Check this out. But first, open a Terminal and issue the “top” command. Safari only uses about 98% of a 2006 MBP core to do that simple animation.

You think Flash is a pig? Oh wait until you meet the new pig on the block grin.

iphonzie

. Safari only uses about 98% of a 2006 MBP core to do that simple animation.

Dude, it’s time to upgrade your MBP. Apple (nor anyone else) isn’t particularly worried about the performance of 2010 technologies on your 2006 computer.

Also, the primary complaint with Flash is it’s use for the simple task of playing back video, not animation. Flash still has it’s place where interactive animations are needed. Regarding the issues raised in this article - restaurant menus - this is a silly way to design what should be a simple web page.

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