Adobe vs Apple: Flash of the Titans

| Analysis

Apple has one of the most popular smartphone platforms around, and Adobe has what’s seen as the industry standard for Internet streaming content. On the surface it sounds like a perfect match, but the reality is that we likely won’t ever see Flash on the iPhone and Adobe is hopping mad.

The notion that Apple wouldn’t add Flash support to the iPhone, iPod touch, and now the iPad, isn’t exactly new. When the first iPhone model shipped, it didn’t offer Flash support and that hasn’t changed with each new model release or iPhone OS software update.

Adobe eventually got the message and developed its own cross-compiler system that lets developers create content with its Flash tools, and then convert their work into iPhone-native code that runs just like any other title available at Apple’s App Store.

To Adobe’s credit, the company found a way to convert cross-compiled apps into native iPhone code instead of simply slapping a wrapper on top of Flash code, so it’s fairly difficult to tell the difference between a Flash-based iPhone app and one developed with Apple’s own SDK. The downside is that some some features, like taking advantage of native iPhone OS controls, aren’t available because developers aren’t using Apple’s approved SDK tools.

Apple let those applications pass through its screening process, and end users buying those apps most likely had no idea — and didn’t care — that their new download started life in Adobe’s Flash world.

From the perspective of some developers, that all changed on April 8 when Apple offered a public preview of what’s in store for iPhone OS 4.0 this summer.

Apple highlighted a few features during its special media event, such as multi-tasking support for third-party apps, folders for organizing apps, Bluetooth keyboard support and a revamped Mail app, which are all features developers and iPhone users had been asking for. What soured some developers, however, was a change to the license agreement for the iPhone Developer Program prohibiting the use of cross-compilers.

Section 3.3.1 in the license agreement for the beta version of iPhone 4.0 SDK states:

Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

In other words, if you want to code for the iPhone in Flash and then compile as a native iPhone app, you’re out of luck.

For the average iPhone owner and a substantial number of iPhone app coders, the updated SDK license agreement could have slipped by unnoticed because it doesn’t change anything about the apps end users buy or the tools developers use to write them. For a few, however, the change means they just lost one of their iPhone app development tools.

From Adobe’s standpoint, they were blocked from getting a foothold on the coveted iPhone platform. Adding insult to injury, Adobe had been touting its iPhone app compiler in Flash CS5, which is due to ship in May.

The restrictions Apple is imposing on developers went down poorly with Adobe’s Flash evangelist, Lee Brimelow. “What is clear is that Apple has timed that purposely to hurt sales of CS5,” he said on his blog. “This has nothing to do whatsoever with bringing the Flash player to Apple’s devices. That is a separate discussion entirely. What they are saying is that they won’t allow applications onto their marketplace solely because of what language was originally used to create them.”

Mr. Brimelow later removed his comment about Apple timing the iPhone OS 4.0 announcement to hurt Adobe and added a disclaimer at Adobe’s request clarifying that his opinions weren’t official company views or statements.

He went on to say “This is a frightening move that has no rational defense other than wanting tyrannical control over developers and more importantly, wanting to use developers as pawns in their crusade against Adobe.”

It didn’t take long for an anti-Apple “I’m with Adobe” fan page to pop up on Facebook, and shortly after that “screw you apple” t-shirts appeared on Cafe Press.

The Facebook fan page description states “The recent war between Adobe and Apple reached a breaking point on April 8, 2010, when Steve Jobs not only recommitted to never allowing Flash to run on the iPhone or iPad, but even banning Adobe’s new Flash-to-iPhone C compiler which was to go on sale Saturday, April 10. There is no longer any debate as to who the ‘bad guy’ is in this story — Apple has proven themselves to be anti-competition, anti-developer, and anti-consumer.”

The sentiment in the t-shirts at Cafe Press is fairly self explanatory.

Even Adobe CTO, Kevin Lynch, chimed in, but with a decidedly more level-headed take than Mr. Brimelow. “The ability to package an application for the iPhone or iPad is one feature in one product in Creative Suite. CS5 consists of 15 industry-leading applications, which contain hundreds of new capabilities and a ton of innovation,” Mr. Lynch said. “We intend to still deliver this capability in CS5 and it is up to Apple whether they choose to allow or disallow applications as their rules shift over time.”

TaoEffect CEO, Greg Slepak, emailed Apple CEO Steve Jobs voicing his concerns over the new SDK licensing terms. “Lots of people are pissed off at Apple’s mandate that applications be ‘originally written’ in C/C++/Objective-C,” he said. “I love your product, but your SDK TOS are growing on it like an invisible cancer.”

Mr. Jobs replied and even referenced the analysis Daring Fireball’s John Gruber offered on the changes. Mr. Jobs’s stance is that cross-compilers dilute the iPhone’s value because developers can release the same app on multiple devices, and that developers and end users would be limited by third-party SDKs that aren’t updated to take advantage of new iPhone features.

The notion that Adobe is being treated unfairly by Apple is understandable considering there are many apps that will never make it to the iPhone now, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that Apple should change its policy. Apple’s job is to build a strong platform for the iPhone and related products, and to grow that market in the way it deems best, just as Adobe does for its products.

From Apple’s perspective, allowing Flash, or any of the other cross-compiler options currently available for iPhone apps, to continue leads to the lowest common denominator syndrome. Developers can code once, and deploy across multiple devices, but in the process will include only the features that are available on the least capable target device. That means the app experience on a device like the iPhone, or Google’s Nexus One, would be no better than a stripped-down discount smartphone, and that’s clearly a situation Apple wants to avoid.

Of course, there’s the argument that Apple has already set a precedent with supporting cross-compilers on Mac OS X. Apple has used its Web site to highlight applications and games ported to the Mac through cross-compiler tools in the past, and the applications brought to the Mac through those tools helped raise interest in the platform.

The iPhone OS, however, while a derivative of Mac OS X, is being treated as a completely different beast by Apple. The hardware and software is being controlled in a way Apple could never impose on Mac users, and that’s primarily because the company started from scratch with its iPhone software model. Apple created a one-stop-shop for all approved iPhone OS-compatible apps with its App Store, and the only way to get in on the game is by playing by Apple’s rules.

It’s true that iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users are potentially missing out on part of what the Internet has to offer, and on apps that will never make it to customer’s hands — and Apple is OK with that. Apple looks ready to weather whatever backlash comes out of its SDK license changes because it still has complete control over the iPhone platform, and can use that control to (hopefully) ensure that its customers have the best user experience compared to any other handheld device.

Adobe’s decision to try to cash in on some of the iPhone’s success is perfectly understandable. The iPhone is a big success, Flash is everywhere, and if they can get Flash-based apps onto the iPhone, why not?

But that doesn’t mean Apple has to let Adobe, or any other company that builds cross-compilers in on the iPhone game, and for now it looks like they’re quite happy keeping them out.

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Ya know, I have no problem with a phone just being a phone. My problem is the manufacturer trying to tell me I can’t use my phone as I see fit.


Then buy a phone that fits your needs. We buy items for “features” if the iPhone doesn’t provide the features you like, buy something else.

On the other hand, I have a problem with Adobe very easily putting engineers to work and quickly getting this cross compiler put together, yet has left us Mac users of their software behind the times for years (opting to put their efforts into the Windows version of their software). Why were they not as quick to the table in keeping their Mac software updated and with the times, and written in Cocoa?


@daemon: Apple isn’t stopping you from doing what ever you want to your iPhone. Just jailbreak it. Just don’t expect Apple support for it.

If they wanted to stop jail breaking, they’d lock it up so tight that the jail breaking software wouldn’t have a chance. They only seem to be making feeble attempts at locking it up. I mean, jail breakers have already cracked 4.0.

Most people who buy the iPhone appreciate the whole locked up platform. Simple to use, secure, etc.

The iPhone development platform is another whole story. You want in on that? You have to play by their rules, they made the platform.


I’m on the fence about this, myself. On the one hand, I think the backlash over Apple nixing Flash content & Apps is certainly overblown (game companies have the same agreement with game developers on their platform). I’m personally a little disappointed that I won’t be able to create a portfolio in Flash and export it as an App, but I’m not shaking my fist about that, either.

On the other hand… there most certainly is that lack of freedom to do what you want with your phone in a walled environment. Everything must be filtered through Apple’s App store. You cannot plug your phone into your computer in “hard disc mode” and use it for file storage (nor with your iPod Touch). Etc, etc.

Mark Hernandez

I have read pretty much everything written about this topic.  This is an excellent well-written analysis and overview of the whole situation that draws the proper conclusions—well done Jeff. 

If you, as a reader, disagree then I suggest you continue researching the many tradeoffs Apple is balancing here until you understand.  Emotions cloud logic and reason. The mobile marketplace is a lucrative, exponentially expanding and fierce battleground, and these are Apple’s products, not ours. If you’re a developer like me, it’s our responsibility to avoid being a casualty of war if you’re gonna play along and be a pilot fish to the shark.  grin

Mark Hernandez
Information Workshop


The real question is going to be: will a jury buy Apple’s “dilute the value” story when they get sued or charged over this? A lawyer could say it’s like refusing to sell apps written by ethnic minorities.

Mac Help

After all is said and done, this argument is mostly about money and a bit about future technology.

Flash, Adobe’s closed, proprietary, lowest-common-denominator software has had ample opportunity to improve over the years but Adobe has been unwilling or unable to achieve that goal.  Ever try to run Flash on a smartphone? Any smartphone. You can’t because it’s not available. And due to that inability to improve it will eventually be surpassed by the open industry standard, HTML5.

In 2007 Apple introduced the iPhone and shortly thereafter the iPod Touch, neither of which support Flash. To date there have been over 35 million iPhones and over 50 million iPod Touches sold. Apple has sold over 450,000 iPads in its first week and the projected estimated for the year’s sales in iPads looks to be between 6-15 million. None of which run Flash. When you speak of a market of 100 million potential buyers for your product this is a HUGH market for application developers.

But, developers DO have a choice. They can write for Flash-based devices, or Windows-based devices, or any number of other operating system based devices and follow the guidelines set by THOSE manufacturers. But IF they want to write for Apple’s devices and have the opportunity to tap into Apple’s hugh user base, they’ll have to play by Apple’s rules.


Let’s say I’ve just created a piece of hardware and need some software to go with it. Now I have some in house programmers and they’re pretty good but I have them working on some future projects and hire an outside agency. They show me a demo of what they created and it looks like the specs. Since I know my hardware real well and seeing their demo I realize I missed some creative use oportunities and revise my specs. Minor things, but hardware speciific. Now this agency is saying it’s going to cost a whole lot more for just these few changes and I find out they had pulled some old project off the shelf they had tried out for another company on some other platform and cleaned it up a little. My minor changes means they have to start again. Was I suppose to insure use of native in the specs?

To the quick as a consumer: If I’m paying money for a piece of software to run on a specific hardware I expect it to run in native and shame on me if I didn’t know which I was looking at. If nothing else through this article (and others), I now know to ask. I’ve become more aware, more knowledgeable.


Mostly all of this makes me laugh. I agree Jeff, that currently nascent technology (*cough*HTML5, CSS animation*cough*) as they mature will emulate the functionality of Flash to the point that the majority of end users won’t know the difference, and I think you are correct, they really won’t care. I suspect Adobe knows this too. wink

It also boggles my mind when I read comments on my tech sites from geeks who should be used to the ephemeral nature of everything in technology, getting all uppity about change. Change is the byword on which this entire industry is resting; if anyone doesn’t have an eye for possibilities, I always immediately suspect their computers or devices serve mainly to play video games and watch porn.

How is this any different from Google or Microsoft emulating the iPhone OS (and hoping that their end users don’t notice or care)? Or for that matter Windows and by extension Linux emulating the Mac OS? Marketing and bottom lines aside, everyone wants the best functionality, the coolest tricks. 

To me this all amounts to a temper tantrum (on both sides), but I suspect by the end of it all, Adobe will be using different standards too.


Something people are forgetting is that Apple also suffers financially by blocking Flash.  If Flash developers are waiting to bring their apps to iPhad, then how much more $$ would Apple make from selling those apps?

Further more the fact that Safari on iPhad does not render Flash could likely lower the consumers perceived value of the product.

I think Apple is being honest whey they say it truly is about moving the developers into it’s native SDK API’s then it is about money.

I see this move as financially hurtful to both Adobe AND Apple, but challenges to push application development for the platform to a more advanced level.

No doubt Apple believes they will regain $$ in the long run, but I think they want it by absolutely being the best.  Best products with the best apps.



@klasseng   On the other hand, I have a problem with Adobe very easily putting engineers to work and quickly getting this cross compiler put together, yet has left us Mac users of their software behind the times for years (opting to put their efforts into the Windows version of their software). Why were they not as quick to the table in keeping their Mac software updated and with the times, and written in Cocoa?
Not to be a MS supporter here but this is because Windows has >90% market share.  When resources are limited where would you put your efforts to maximize returns?

Mark Hernandez

James makes a good point.

One thing we all need to keep in mind is the fourth dimension - TIME.  Everything is in motion, and one’s assessments are suspect if they take a snapshot in time and draw big conclusions from that.

iPhone OS 4.0, for instance, was probably decided on and placed on Apple’s internal timeline a year ago.  All of Apple’s product’s feature updates - hardware and software - are all planned out for at least a few years.  Apple “has to see where to puck is going to be” to skate to it, as we’ve heard said.  And this discussion of Section 3.3.1 involves future planning to a great degree.

So, the word “timeline” should always be kept in mind in our understanding of Apple, the marketplace, feature release schedules and marketing strategies. 

Some things will lag, some will leapfrog, and others are preemptive, like this.

One thing that’s sort of the inverse of this is that I hear some friends saying they’re going to wait for the second generation of the iPad, and I want to tell them, well, while you’re waiting, I’m going to spend a year enjoying the hell out of what little I’ve been given.  grin



I have become sick of the Apple vs Adobe pissing contest.  And frankly I think Steve Jobs is going too far with this issue.  If they kill off all third party compilers then they kill excellent development tools like Unity 3D (which I use!).  And if you look at the top selling apps on the App Store, you’ll notice they are all Unity based games.  Customers want third-party compilers.

The reason the iPhone has been such an incredible success, is because of the apps.  The core features are great, and the interface is superb.  But what I do most on my iPhone, is use third-party apps.  And without those apps I would not have bought an iPhone.

I have been a major Mac supporter since the early nineties.  Hell I used to write for this web site!  (Idiots anybody?)  But dammit Steve, get over your own hubris and remember you make products for us, the consumers, not for your own personal vanity.  This little war you’re waging with Adobe is now having a negative effect on your customers.  Did you hear that?  Your pissing contest is directly hurting the very people who buy your products and make your company a success.

Remember when Macs were the computer for the rest of us.  It seems like now Steve wants Macs to be the computers for just Steve Job.


@Ben: Windows may have 90% market share but certainly not among users of Adobe CS. Graphics professionals are very much more likely to use Macs than everyday office users. Maybe over 50% but I don’t have the numbers. However, if you attend print/photo/graphics conferences you’ll see more Macs than Windows laptops.

Adobe went to Windows a few years ago because it thought that Apple was about to die. It was a bad judgement call

Mac Help

@Chiefbobo -You said: ‘Customers want third-party compilers.’ I beg to differ. Customers don’t give a damn about compilers of any sort. They just want they apps to work. They want to take advantage of every feature that the iPod, iPhone, and iPad has to offer. If your compiler doesn’t support a particular feature, then you’ve created a sub-par program for Apple’s customer base.
When people get annoyed that the program doesn’t work the way they want it to, they’ll be calling Apple and not you.


@MacHelp: very true. And they want their battery to last the day too


There is some gamesmanship going on here, and I don’t get it. I DON’T LIKE IT.
If Microsoft pulled this seemingly “petty, arrogant” bull, we’d be ALL over them.
Job’s “dilution of whatever” is absolute laughable crap. Prove it. Adobe has always had their share of world class standards that Apple makes money on i.e CS etc. Maybe Adobe should stop making CS for Mac, abandon the whole Mac platform and concentrate on Windows. So what if they lose a bunch of money, I’ll bet a lot of Mac graphics studios would switch to Windows in a heartbeat to stay in business. Or not. Point is they’ve always been in bed together and NOW Steve is acting waaay too weird for me. Flash is f’in great. It’s easy to be simple and easy to be sophisticated, the files are ubiquitous and small and…..
porting, compiling, ....butt out of HOW I make my Apps, Steve.


No one here seems to remember the bad old days of System 7 and 8, with all the extension hell.

This single-channel method, insures that the conflicts of those old Systems won’t re-emerge on the iPhone platform.

One of my Mac OS 8.6 systems would hard-lock if I looked at it funny. I was very glad to make the transition to Mac OS X, without that ability to be expanded. I suffered through the lack-of-features period, so that Mac OS X could become a viable OS to create something like the iPhone OS universe.

The iPhone OS is much more mature, from all that background of NExT and Mac OS X. The App Store just makes it better.

Mac Help

@CudaBoy -You said: “...I don?t get it.” Like most PC users, no you don’t.

So let me make it simple for you. You don’t have to thank me, I’m just that sort of guy.

In 2007 Apple introduced the iPhone and the iPhone OS. The iPhone OS is a subset of Apple’s Unix-based Mac OS X. Apple also introduced the App Store and shortly thereafter publishes the SDK for iPhone/iPod Touch. The Apps store grow exponentially until today it supports over 185,000 applications which have been downloaded a total of 4 billion times. To date Apple has sold over 35 million iPhones, and 50 million iPod Touches (which runs the same OS) and will probably sell close to 10 million iPads by years end. That’s close to 100 million device users. A pretty sizable market for a developer.

Now, here’s the important bits?All of those apps in the App Store run according to Apple’s guidelines. They followed the rules Apple set down in the SDK. They’re gold. Literally! Adobe wants to be able to use it’s own rules to be able to put applications into Apple’s store. Adobe has had a pretty poor track record of keeping up to date with it’s products on the Mac side of things. Adobe makes a bucket full of money from selling their products to Mac users and it wants to make more by getting into the App Store [and that’s OK]. But here’s the problem, it’s Apple’s store. They can make the rules, change the rules, revoke the rules, and any other thing they want. But what Apple can not tolerate is creating a product that has a certain feature set that can’t be accessed by it’s users because a company like Adobe hasn’t updated it’s products (like Flash) to use Apple’s feature set. This makes the product operate poorly. And the fault, while lying with Adobe, would be perceived as Apple’s.

Now take Flash, for example. Does it work on smartphones? Nope. Does it work on netbooks? Not very well. Does it work with touch screen interfaces? Not anytime soon. Does it work with Mac OS X (even after 10 years)? Barely. Adobe is a pretty smart company. They make some really good products. Flash just isn’t one of them


@CudaBoy -You said: ?...I don?t get it.? Like most PC users, no you don?t.

So let me make it simple for you. You don?t have to thank me, I?m just that sort of guy.

Mac Help, you are one simple person.
1st, I’ve used Macs exclusively since the late 80’s

2nd, you sound as arrogant and shortsighted as Jobs in this matter. You haven’t given a INKLING as to why in the REAL world Apple’s toys should not have the UBIQUITOUS format for many types of animation on the web i.e. Flash. Are you telling me Flash can’t be ported???
Also, Flash runs fantastically on OS X, OS 9, even OS 8, but that would be before your time.
I have no problem with most SDK’s but not when hubris (that’s a false sense of importance- Mac Help) forces one to change the rules as you go along…. sorry but that is weak.

Mac Help

@CudaBoy- You said: ‘Are you telling me Flash can?t be ported?’ No, not at all. And if you’re willing to accept mediocre, sub par programs, and incessant pop-up advertisements, it’s fine. Fortunately for Apple and the thousands of application developers whose products meet Apple’s SDK criteria and are sold in Apple’s App Store, Flash’s level of lackluster performance just doesn’t cut it.

Sonny, I’ve been riding shotgun on Macs since 1984. And yes, Flash ran at an acceptable level on those antiquated Systems. But we were all young then, we didn’t know any better. We thought dot matrix printers and 1200 baud modems were good, too.

Unfortunately for Adobe, ten years ago Apple migrated to a Unix-based OS. Adobe bet that Apple would fail and threw in with the Window crowd. Whether that decision was the right one, is being decided in the marketplace even now.

Adobe is at a critical point in it’s history (as are the developers who, for whatever reason, don’t want to invest the time and/or resources to write code in Apple’s preferred manner)?does it play nice with Apple and it’s 100 million iPod/iPhone/iPad users who, it appears, are quite happy not using Flash on their mobile devices or does it abandon the fastest growing computer/electronics company in the US? Quite a dilemma. Do you hold to your principles and lose 100 million potential customers or do you readjust your ideals to accommodate all that money that 100 million customers could generate. Yup, that’s a tough one.


OK Mac Help, if you’ve flown Mac Air as long as I…. here is the irony…only ONE of them I could list…..
back when our PC brethren were rocking orange or green text on a command line interface… and I played with the first Mac with a mouse and WYSIWYG etc. naturally we are blown away…..but NONE of it was cool without Photoshop and certain music apps Performer(non Adobe,I know) etc. right from the get go..
Adobe was there with apps that MADE the mac what it is today. If I hadn’t seen Photoshop & Pagemaker and Aldus Freehand and all that I wouldn’t have cared about a mouse and a box. Hand in hand. JPEG, PSD, AI. on and on.
And NOW, Jobs get’s greedy or has control issues with Flash? Let’s just leave it that I think Steve crossed the line for apparently no reason except ego here. Financially, Adobe and Apple are win win.
Also, what happened to Apple buying Adobe?? Wasn’t that on the table a couple years ago?? Did somebody’s feelings get hurt back then?


Delusion alert ...

Also, Flash runs fantastically on OS X, OS 9, even OS 8

You’ll have to provide evidence. Not just “runs” but “runs fantastically”.

And, by the way, Flash could possibly be ported. But Adobe owns it and has not done so. No-one else can. Whether anyone is telling you it can’t be done is beside the point - Adobe has had years to do it and has not done so. What they’re doing now is like telling the teacher you slept in the morning of the test and that you’d like to be able to take it now. Please, pretty please.

Fix CS first, dudes.


I’m telling you, not one word has come as to why this could not work, not one. Some people quote the corporate line of “dilution of ....profit potential etc.” but no business model supports that, plus both companies are so tied together in a lot of ways since the beginning - I think a psychologist and therapy is needed if not a wedding counselor for Adapple, I mean Adobe and Apple.

Yo vp, what part of CS?? Just curious…be nice, I use it every day at least Indesign and P’shop and then thru Creo, Prinergy and down the line to plate with no hiccups. What part is bad that I don’t see or use?
Is it as bad as the latest Safari browser that loads blank white pages?
Or, could we always just keep fixing things as we do, I think they call them updates or revisions.

Jak Keyser

I wonder if we will see Apple come out with a content creation tool for HTML5, along the lines of how Final Cut Pro is a content creation tool for video and Aperture for photography.

They could set the bar high, and offer features to compete with Flash. They might even have a light version that they contribute to the Open Source community, or include with iWeb, or an Express version. This would bring about a faster adoption of HTML5, provide sophisticated tools and algorithms to provide the same functions as Flash, perhaps more, and yet be more processor efficient and user friendly.

Adobe’s Flash tools are kind of quirky and clunky (unlike their long ago attempt with Live-Motion, which was a pretty decent interface).

How about it Apple? You got game?


A lawyer could say it?s like refusing to sell apps written by ethnic minorities.

They could, but they’d be using the dumbest, unrelated analogy possible. I’m sure there is some classless ass out there who has considered that angle, though.

Graphics professionals are very much more likely to use Macs than everyday office users. Maybe over 50% but I don?t have the numbers

Last time I checked, Windows users represented 60% of Adobe’s revenue (or something to that effect). Given my work experience and what I know, my suspicion is that the bulk of PC’s using Adobe products are one man marketing departments, in-house graphics people at smaller businesses that are fully Windows, that sort of thing - as opposed to full fledge marketing, art or publishing departments. So they never really were the moral majority for Adobe’s publishing software.

Job?s ?dilution of whatever? is absolute laughable crap. Prove it. I?ll bet a lot of Mac graphics studios would switch to Windows in a heartbeat to stay in business.

The proof you need is from the people who have used cross-pollinated software in the past and can testify that - yep - they run like crap. Jason Snell from Macworld had commented recently that in the 90’s, as Javascript was being pushed as a “develop once, distribute anywhere” platform, there was a lot of software made for the Mac that didn’t work well. Those comparisons to what went on in the 90’s are all over the web; all you have to do is look for it.

My experience has been that content creators are generally loyal to the platform, not the software they run on it. The reasons why publishers love Macs goes far beyond Adobe CS, and frankly the last few versions haven’t provided a whole lot that really enhances how I do my work… so if Adobe up and quit supporting the Mac, I wouldn’t be hurting by either sticking with their old software or switching to something else, by any means. I’ll take that bet.


I think some people need to realize that developers are not Apple’s customer base. Apple is, above all, a hardware company. Any software developed by or provided by Apple has but one purpose: to make Apple’s hardware the best thing to have. The average person who buys an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad only wants one thing: a cool device that does what they want when they want it - a device that “Just Works”. These average, every day customers of Apple products could care less WHY it “Just Works”. Many do not have the educational background to truly understand WHY it “Just Works” even if it were explained to them. They just care that it does “Just Work”.

Apple is taking the stance that to provide the above demand to their customers, they need to assure that the apps their customers purchase will, in all cases, make the iDevice continue to “Just Work”. Now, leaving out Flash may cause some Apple customers their iDevice is NOT doing what they want, and Apple will lose them as customers.  That is a risk Apple is taking. But then any company knows that they cannot please everyone; the idea is to please as many as possible. Apple’s bet is that more people will be pleased with the way iDevices work as they are and will not care that Flash is not supported. Judging by continued growth in sales of all Apple’s iDevices, they’re making a safe bet.

But developers: you are NOT Apple customers as a developer. You may own Apple devices, and in that you are an Apple customer. But AS A DEVELOPER you are acting as a business partner, not as a customer.  You are USING the popularity of Apple iDevices to make money for yourself. And in that, if you want to use Apple, then there is nothing wrong with the requirement to play by Apple’s rules which are aimed at making as certain as possible each and every component of Apple’s iDevices, including all apps, result in a “Just Works” experience.


CudaBoy: Flash does exist on the Mac, obviously it can be ported. The problem is that it is an Adobe product, and, as such Flash Players are written by Adobe. Not Apple, not a third party; Adobe. If someone else wants to write a Flash Player, they’d have to have Adobe’s permission. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t expect that to happen.

Since OS X, Flash on the Mac has been, in my experience, a piece of crap. I quite frankly don’t remember much about Flash in older Mac OS’s. I didn’t watch much online video before 2002-3, by which time I was running OS X (and finally getting over my nostalgia for the halcyon days of OS 7.5—but I digress).

Why does running a web video hog all of my processor? It doesn’t on PC’s, which I also use (at least in XP and Windows 7, I assume that’s true in Vista). According to engadget’s review, Flash wipes out the Joo Joo’s battery also, which doesn’t bode well for Windows based tablet computers that boast about Flash as a feature. All I can say is, thank you ClickToFlash.

The issue isn’t Flash per se, it’s that it is poorly supported in terms of Flash Player and plug-ins on non-Windows platforms. Even on Windows, it’s not that well supported, with Adobe announcing that initial releases of Windows Phone 7 won’t have Flash support! If it wants Flash to remain a standard, perhaps Adobe should think about writing decent Flash Players for Mac and mobile platforms. Unfortunately, I think it’s too late for that.

I agree that Adobe makes some great products. I also agree that Flash Player and plugins aren’t included in that category.


As a designer and a programmer, I used to have much ore respect for Apple, but this anti-Flash stance has just become so absurd. I really don’t want Father Jobs dictating what content I can and can not view. In fact, no one can deny that without Adobe and Flash in particular, the internet would have no where near the functionality, capabilities, or creativity that it has today.  I understand that people can and do build some crummy stuff with Flash. I have also been to equally crummy sites built with HTML and Java. In that case however, you do not hear people shouting ?HTML must die!?, it is interesting how Flash on the other hand takes the flack for poor designer work. I am an Apple user myself, but I also have news for all of the little iSheep who follow Steve Jobs and Apple religiously: he is actually not a God, but only a marketing genius with a nice sense of style. So all of the people who have their iPad and are OK with not being able to view all the content from about 80% of the sites on the web, you are truly as brain-washed iSheep and you might want to open your eyes a bit. In fact, Steve?s choice to lock down his platforms to any non-Apple-approved languages is in fact a backwards maneuver and may only serve to stunt the growth of the internet and developers in general, it is so far from the ?open web? a lot of other people seem to be ironically championing. Hey, at least Steve finally admitted it was so he could retain control (and make more money), and that it really had nothing to do with Flash.


You guys are very misinformed, reading these comments made me laugh. Thanks.

Mac Help

@Enlightened - So you’re willing to walk away from a customer pool of 100 million customers? You got some big stones. More power to you!

This is really simple?If you play in Apple’s sandbox, you play by Apple’s rules. Don’t want to/Can’t/Unwilling to follow Apple’s rules…find another sandbox. No one is forcing you to write for Apple devices. Write for RIM. Write for Android. Write for Palm. But then don’t complain that you’re not generating any revenue because your customer market share is so small compared to Apple’s.

Mac Help

@DrShakagee - Perhaps you’d care to enlighten all of us.


As a consumer, if you want/need Flash ability, you need to buy something else. If you want an Apple iDevice, you’ll have to make do without Flash.  It is that simple. Apple is betting that the latter will not, in too many cases, lead to the former.

Sales figures thus far indicate Apple has a good bet.

And, again, if you are a developer, your relationship to Apple is that of business partner, not consumer. If you want your app to be available to Apple’s consumer base, play by their rules. If you don’t want to play by Apple’s rules, write for any one, or many, of the other personal devices out there. Apple isn’t stopping you from doing anything except requiring Apple to conform to your commercial desires.


This is really simple?If you play in Apple?s sandbox, you play by Apple?s rules. Don?t want to/Can?t/Unwilling to follow Apple?s rules?find another sandbox. No one is forcing you to write for Apple devices. Write for RIM. Write for Android. Write for Palm. But then don?t complain that you?re not generating any revenue because your customer market share is so small compared to Apple?s.

Yes, actually that is what I am doing, in fact I am writing for RIM and Android. Actually, around 75% of the market is non-Apple, with Android gaining, so there is some decent cash to be made. Not to say that I won’t write for Apple too, but the point of my post was that Jobs choices are completely asinine and restrictive, and will no doubt harm the company when/if all of the little iSheep open their eyes up enough to see everyone else’s smartphone playing so much more rich media. Answer me, are really you OK with a tablet PC/smartphone which can not support all of the current content on the internet? I just can’t see who would be, there is no excuse for it. Poor little blind iSheep. It will be years before HTML5 catches up, meanwhile you miss out, but at least Jobs is happy. You have completely fallen for the marketing…..advertising works! Woah.


People have been saying the same thing about all Apple products since the first Mac. It’s still the same load. Apple makes products people like - they work, and work well. They see other products doing more, (how often has it been pointed out how many more applications, games etc. are available for Windows?) but they also invariably see these “do more” products having more problems and issues.  Many decide that having it just work is more important than having more abilities tied to more problems. At least, enough do so to make Apple an extremely profitable business.

People who choose Apple are hardly “iSheep”. To say so simply projects the type of narrow minded arrogance you accuse Jobs of having. People who choose Apple products like what they like: devices that combine “COOL!” with “it just works”. It’s that simple.


“it just works”.

In my experience: No, it doesn’t.


Ah, yes, Princeton, center of the known universe.

Are you a student, professor, or an IT at Princeton?

OR, is “in my experience” the result of searching the internet for reports of difficulties involving iPads?

Michael Marcus

Apples policies and strict guidelines frustrate me tremendously. I will never build anything for any of their platforms because of this. I’m with Adobe 100%. I hope Apple suffers from their silly decisions. I hope there is a crack available that can modify the iPhone/iPad to force flash to play anyways, rub it back in Apples face.

Mac Help

My problem is the manufacturer trying to tell me I can?t use my phone as I see fit.

Manufacturers have been telling end users what they can and can’t do with their products for years.

“You can’t wash silk or polyester in this clothes washer”

“You can’t drive this car more than 130 miles per hour”

“Do not use this blow dryer in the shower”

Mac Help

@Michael Marcus - My compliments to you and the hundreds of thousands of developers who are currently creating software in the Flash environment and are, it seems, more than willing to forgo a market of 100 million users instead of rising to the call of learning how to properly develop an application for Apple’s products. My friends, you have stones of steel and more power to you.

I know I would have a difficult time walking away from that size of a market (and one that is growing every quarter). But these diehard individualists, these buggy whip manufacturers in a time of automobile supremacy, these Greyhound Bus travelers in a time of wide-bodies super jet, these mavericks are toeing the line and sticking to their principles of holding high the flame of antiquity and proclaiming loudly, “WE WILL NOT CHANGE. THEY REST OF YOU CAN TAKE A FLYING LEAP!”


Ya know, I have no problem with a phone just being a phone. My problem is the manufacturer trying to tell me I can?t use my phone as I see fit.

Well, it’s not that complicated - buy something you like!
You also cannot run OS X on a PC (whether you like that or not).

You remind me of the guy that bought a Porsche and insisted it was modified to throw in his GM or Dodge engine ... buy a Dodge Neon, and be happy!



What I think is the biggest problem is that people aren’t truly understanding the situation from a designers perspective.

Designers need flash for rich interactive content.  Supposedly you can create the same content with a combination of Javascript, HTML5, and CSS3.  But here’s the issue—designers can’t!!! A programmer can, but how many programers can actually design?

Another issue is that people are comparing Adobe Flash with the open standards of Javascript, HTML5, and CSS3.  You can’t compare it, they are totally 2 different animals.  Javascript, HTML5, and CSS3 are computer languages, while flash is an application.  Flash does use a bastardized version of the computer language, Javascript, which adobe called ActionScript, but that’s goes without saying. 

See I can go inside Flash and create a stunning advertisement without knowing a lick of code.  There is no such editor currently on the market that has a WYSIWYG user interface, that converts Javascript, HTML5, and CSS3. If I’m wrong please point me to one.

I have thought about this for a while and came up with a solution.

Note: This solution isn’t perfected but it’s a point in the right direction Also this solution is for the


tag which is the new HTML5 tag which enables the user to have flash like content on their page:

Either Adobe, Apple, and/or an Independent company needs to create a MAC/PC compatible application that solves this problem.  Personally I would like to see Apple make it. Although if Adobe made it they would add support to Photoshop, Illustrator and/or other apps in their line up.  The type of support only adobe could do like layers and editing.

I would call this Application iCanvas(Apple), Canvas H5(Adobe).  Of course they would never use these names cause they would feel some type of way about using a name I created for their apps since I don’t work for them.

The App:
I would add a timeline, code/designer view, the many tool palettes that are currently available in most creation applications, and of course a canvas for creation.  The canvas is where you would create your animations and such, just like you would do in Flash except to the left/right would be the code view in which you could see the actual code that creates these animations. That way an expert coder could also adjust, fix, and/or add custom code.  The app should also automatically create an external CSS3 file to go with the project, but give the user the flexibility to name the styles being used.

Once the designer finishes the project the user saves it in 2 different formats. The first format would be the native app project format. the second format would be a text file that the web could use.

Implementing this file so that the web can use it.  The solution for this would be create a new tag or alter the existing




<canvas embed class="whatever" id="custom"> .../directory/fileName.canvas</canvas

.  You would place that tag in the area where the current flash file is located.  You would use the class/id for positioning, borders, height, width, and so on.

Embedding the file would be better so you can have other files point to it rather than having to copy and paste the code to each file that wants to use that particular file.

Adobe might not want to do this cause it would compete against their current line up of apps, Flash/DreamWeaver.  But they could make it as an extension/plugin for those apps.

Now this is just me brainstorming, but Adobe/Apple have teams and think tanks that can take this idea and transform it something more powerful.

One thing I will add before I end this very long comment is that any independent company that sees this idea please jump on it… The first company to make such an app will have millions of purchasers…
And if Apple is reading this then I want you to hurry up make it…. PLEASE!!!!

Thank you for taking the time out to read this…

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