Apple puts another nail into Flash's coffin

Apple puts another nail into Flash's coffin

Summary: Apple has put another nail into Flash's coffin with its ban on the use of cross-compilers, like the one that's due in Adobe Creative Suite 5.

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TOPICS: Apple
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ipad-flash.jpgApple's got no love for Flash, that's for sure. But what once was a only skirmish has been upgraded to a full-on assault.

In February Steve Jobs took a position that Flash is buggy on Macs and that it would cut the iPad’s battery life to 1.5 hours. Then Jobs took his anti-Flash message on the road as part of the early iPad negotiations with publishers, several of whom noted that Jobs was quick to bash Flash.

Apple increased the pressure on Adobe and Flash this week with the release of the iPhone 4.0 beta SDK which explicitly prohibits the use of cross-compilers, i.e the Flash-to-iPhone compiler in the upcoming Flash Professional CS5.

Gruber lays out changes in the agreement, which must be agreed to by anyone downloading the 4.0 SDK:

iPhone OS 3.2 SDK of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement:

3.3.1 — Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs.

iPhone OS 4.0 beta SDK of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement:

3.3.1 — 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).

ZDNet's own Larry Dignan notes that Apple's Flash Jihad is so significant that Adobe is legally obligated to disclose it in its quarterly filing with the SEC (emphasis mine):

...new releases of operating systems or other third-party products, platforms or devices, such as the Apple iPhone or iPad, make it more difficult for our products to perform, and our customers are persuaded to use alternative technologies, our business could be harmed.

Could this the be final nail in the coffin for Flash?

Topic: Apple

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72 comments
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  • Apple's Worst Day

    I think this is Apple's worst day, and quite possibly the day it jumped the shark.

    This is a horrible move by Apple and shows that they really don't want to compete.

    Jon Gruber wrote an embarassing apologist blog post about why Apple did this. His main claim is that this is to prevent poor apps from infesting the app store. This is utterly wrong.

    Apple's real fear is that the apps may actually be extremely good. If a framework exists that can target the iPhone and make great apps, but also great apps for WP7 and Android then they're in trouble.

    Lets be clear, web apps (html/javascript) are amongst the most horrible you can write across any vectory (quality, performance, etc...), yet Apple will allow those, despite them not being "native" apps. Why? Because they know those apps will never be that great. They don't threaten the fact that they have the best app store in the world. But if Monotouch apps started being the premiere apps, then Apple would worry, because it's a 10 second port to make it a Windows Phone app.

    This IMO, is the darkest day for Apple. While I've never been a huge fan of Jobs, I think they crossed a line with this language.

    While Apple may have put another nail in Flash's coffin, I think they've unwittingly helped seal their own fate.
    DevStar
    • ....

      [i]While Apple may have put another nail in Flash's coffin, I think they've unwittingly helped seal their own fate.[/i]

      And yet, I get the feeling that for the most part they'll come out smelling like roses.
      Badgered
    • I cannot agree more

      very well put!

      As if the programming language used has any
      bearing on the quality of the resulting code!

      This is completely orthogonal. You can (easily)
      make a horrible application with C++ and a
      beautiful app with Flash or Silverlight.

      And what most commenters has been missing: This
      is not just blocking out "Flash". Adobe had
      prepared a cross-compiler for iPhone OS which
      would <i>compile</i> a Flash/Flex app into a
      <i>native</i> iPhone app.

      No plugin needed, no Flash runtime needed. Pure
      native iPhone code. Which means that security
      reservations etc. are moot.

      In a sense, Adobe called Apple on their bluff.
      And Apple has now shown their hand: They are
      not at all concerned about the quality of the
      apps, they are concerned about competition.

      Apple is mounting a powerplay: Either you are
      with us or you are against us. You <i>can
      not</i> be allowed to develop an app for cross-
      platform.

      One can only hope that developers have had
      enough with Jobs throwing fits. Developing for
      Apple platform has become a liability.
      honeymonster
      • Sure you can...

        [i]You can not be allowed to develop an app for cross-
        platform.[/i]

        Just use HTML 5.
        Bruizer
        • Why?

          Bruizer, I don't find any reason to believe your statement, Why?
          kyawam
    • Flash is a dyeing technology

      I find it funny. Go back 3 years and EVERYONE simply hated flash.
      Much like Windows users hate QT and Mac users hate WMP. From
      Windows users to Mac users, both really disliked Flash. Flash was that
      evil you had to have installed simply because. You can go back and
      read cursed blog after cursed blog stating why it should die.

      Go to 2007...

      Then the iPhone came out not supporting flash. It did not mater that
      other mobile platforms did not (or if they did, it was so poor as to be
      laughable) suport Flash. But it did give the rallying point for all who
      hated Apple simply because to flame against Apple. It did not matter
      that these same people, just months before were saying how bad
      Flash was and how it would be nice if there were alternatives.

      Now, Mr. Jobs is saying the same thing others had for years. Flash
      really is not that good. It is the VB of the web. It links structure, content and behavior in a single wrapped package and allows people
      with no design skill to make something that looks OK.

      but....

      It does a horrid job of adapting to different screen sizes. It really is a
      processor hog and a battery hog (though some recent version with HW acceleration are a bit better). And on the Mac, (the platform that Steve
      is concerned about), it is amazingly bad and buggy.

      Add to this, a long history of Adobe screwing with Apple (starting
      back int he NeXT days with display-postscript. How long did it take
      Adobe to come out with an OS X version of PS?) and I think Steve, as
      well as many of the old-timers from the NeXT days still at Apple, has
      simply had enough of Adobe.

      Yes, 70% of sites have Flash content. Almost all of that content is
      advertising. Most major video sites now have non-Flash based
      alternatives. They are cheaper (no Flash tools/licensing). They work
      on more mobile browsers.

      Yep, Flash is dyeing like the 3.5" Floppy (yes, I have a project that still
      uses 5 1/4" and 3.5" floppies. Does not change the fact the
      technology is effectively dead) did 10+ years ago.

      To point to your assertion as being off base, simply look at iAd.
      These are developed in HTML 5. As such, the advertising company
      that develops them will be able to deploy on WP7, Android and any
      other HTML 5 based mobile system.
      Bruizer
      • I totally agree that flash sucks and should die, BUT

        HTML5 cannot replace all of the functionality of flash. Flash is very powerful application framework and the level of functionality provided by it is allays going to be in demand.

        Weather or not flash continues to be that provider remains to be seen - see my post below about silverlight.
        toadlife
        • I have yet to see anything done in Flash...

          That canot be replicated in HTML 5. HTML 5 really can replace Flash and
          all its functionality and be fully cross platform.

          It provides better separation of structure, content and behavior than
          Flash could ever hope for.
          Bruizer
          • lol

            So you think a text markup language with rudimentary 2D animation abilities and a video tag can replace 3D flash games?

            Thanks for the laugh!
            toadlife
          • Thanks for the laugh.

            I love it when people don't understand the abilities of HTML
            5/Javascript...

            Flash is dead, it just does not know it yet.
            Bruizer
          • You're welcome

            I've tons many demos of "applications" written in javascript. They are slow as molasses and HTML5 will not (and cannot) change that.
            toadlife
          • Don't know flash capability? Then don't...

            Bruizer, you seem like you don't know what flash can do...
            kyawam
          • @kyawam

            So, do tell what Flash can do on touchscreens?
            zkiwi
          • HTML 5 - still not a standard

            You keep banging on about HTML 5 - it hasn't even been finalised.

            You don't know which of the proposals are going to be accepted nor the form that they will take - all you've seen are best guesses.
            webbod
          • what about cartoonists?

            So what should a cartoonist use for animations (interactive or not)? I am looking at upgrading my hardware and software, and have always been a Mac user. Is there something other than Flash that I can use which is supported by Macs and Windows?
            kingpen
      • "Dyeing"? What color is it being dyed?

        :D

        Doesn't Google welcome Flash in its mobile devices?

        And how do you know HTML5 won't be "optimized" for individual mobile systems, meaning one set of code won't work on other HTML5-based systems from different vendors?
        HypnoToad72
        • Don'thca just HATE funky grammar...?

          Oy... I'm having a nasty sensation of deja vu - all over again...

          [b]And how do you know HTML5 won't be "optimized" for individual mobile systems, meaning one set of code won't work on other HTML5-based systems from different vendors? [/b]

          Isn't this specifically the problem everybody has had with IE? Isn't that what web standards and the drive for passing the bleeping ACiD tests is all about?

          Sadly, I think you're probably right. Especially since HTML 5 has yet to be written in stone and won't be for another decade.
          Wolfie2K3
    • Vote with your dollars and your feet then, buy the alternatives!

      I guess there is a Google, HTC, Meth-berry or the alternative drones
      running Android in your future. HTML5 and H.264/MPEG-4 AVC serves
      99.9% of Mac users are fine with HD via International standards not
      Adobe Flash which keeps crashing my browser. The Trillion Dollar
      global porn industry based in San Fernando Valley, California and
      distributed globally who brought you Flash and micro credit
      transactions is moving toward HTML5 for streaming video content as
      there are no licenses from Adobe required and for downloads they are
      using H.264/MPEG-4 AVC. So flash was dead the moment the porn
      industry discovered synergies on lowering their cost using HTML5 and
      H.264/MPEG-4 AVC. The porn industry defined the secured online
      payment system not the banks, they came later. The fact of the matter
      is wether you watch or download porn or not HTML5 and H.264/MPEG-
      4 AVC is their future and were porn goes so goes the de facto online
      standards! So if you need flash don't use Apple hardware go to the
      competition but please stop wining about flash! If Adobe had not been
      so arrogant and had improved the Flash development platform for the
      new paradigm it may have enjoyed more longevity and support from
      Apple! Now having said that, I don't care about the plumbing I just want
      the video to play period!
      Appreciate-Tech
    • Hilarious

      The same anti-Apple crew who were complaining about flash with the
      rest of the world have suddenly been cornered into making it their poster
      boy just to maintain their anti-apple at all costs stance.
      Its interesting to hear the tales of how this annoying, buggy, slow
      technology will be the great white hope of the iphone competitors.
      Tigertank
  • RE: Apple puts another nail into Flash's coffin

    Do you think apple Might kill off youtube with this whole Flash thing? or reduce sells of their micro department ?
    http://truxtertech.com/news/2010/04/10/mac-shuns-more-flash/

    I think it it will hurt apple to not be able to stream media like flash can do.
    TruXter