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Is Apple's Attack On Flash Really About Video? 595 595

jamiegau writes "Here we have a long and in-depth blog post analyzing the faults in Steve Jobs's Letter about Flash. The writer concludes with an interesting idea that it is all about online video."
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Is Apple's Attack On Flash Really About Video?

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  • Games too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @10:50AM (#32098192) Journal

    It also makes sense with Flash games. Apple has tons of games it sells in the market place. If people could just play free Flash games (and there would be a lot more of them created), Apple wouldn't get so much $$$$$.

    I know someone comes to say that most Flash games require mouse and keyboard, but that doesn't make any sense. Obviously the games would be created specially for iPhone and iPad. Just like theres such Flash games for Wii [wiiplayable.com].

  • Re:Games too (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drachenstern (160456) <drachenstern@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @10:54AM (#32098250) Journal

    I think the primary complaint (at least for me) for most flash games is the on hover effect. How do you replicate that with a touch interface? Now we have all sorts of wild gestures, so it reduces the simplicity.

    If you can resolve that, I might reconsider my personal stance.

  • by SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @10:56AM (#32098306)

    Advice from someone who requires horizontal scrolling to read the text they're quoting? I don't think so.

  • Re:Games too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @10:57AM (#32098314) Homepage Journal

    I think the primary complaint (at least for me) for most flash games is the on hover effect. How do you replicate that with a touch interface? Now we have all sorts of wild gestures, so it reduces the simplicity.

    So Apple hasn't already solved this for the billion or so webpages that use hover effects? That must suck.

  • Re:Games too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheKidWho (705796) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @10:57AM (#32098316)

    This argument fails because Apple makes barely any profit on the App market itself.

    They make all of their profit on selling the Devices themselves.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @10:57AM (#32098320)

    Seriously, since I disabled plug-ins Safari doesn't crash or freeze every day. In fact it's now so rare that I'm actually shocked when it happens. Adobe let all their non-Windows software rot away and can't be bothered to code properly, so screw them.

  • Re:Games too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:01AM (#32098392) Homepage

    This argument fails because Apple makes barely any profit on the App market itself.

    To paraphrase Dr. Seuss (and subsequently send him spinning in his grave), a profit is a profit no matter how small.

  • Re:Games too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:02AM (#32098412)

    Doesn't seem to be a problem for most sites I encounter. Any decent web dev should be developing sites that still work without hover, the same way they should work as much as possible without CSS or JS.

  • Re:Games too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:04AM (#32098434)

    They can claim security and stability (which are valid points), but it all comes down to money.

    And maybe a touch of sour grapes. Adobe treated Apple like a second class platform back in the 90's when Apple was at its weakest. Now that Apple is on top of this market I think Steve Jobs is handing out a little payback. Loyalty, or the lack of it, is hard to forget.

  • Re:Games too (Score:2, Insightful)

    by medcalf (68293) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:06AM (#32098482) Homepage

    Why is it Apple's job to modify their platform to accommodate Flash?

    Platform vendors are under no obligation to build a platform that works just like all other platforms so that a particular software vendor doesn't have to rework something that makes money for them (the software vendor). If Adobe can't build Flash to fit within the constraints of the device, then too bad.

    You as a consumer can decide to not buy the platform if it doesn't run the applications you want, of course. And if enough people agree with you, I am willing to bet that the platform vendor would either accommodate the application, or be rendered irrelevant in the market.

  • Re:Games too (Score:0, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:06AM (#32098488) Journal

    Barely any profit? They get 30% from all the sales. All of it free no-work money, because developers make them and take the risks.

    In top of that the App Stores enable them to sell developer licenses ($99/year) and Apple computers, because every developer has to use Apple tools. Even if you have no interest in a Mac, you have to get them to yourself or your developers anyway.

  • God save flash! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Crobar (1143477) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:07AM (#32098516)
    Before Apple sunk their teeth into flash, a lot of the posters here also bashed it. It is ironic that as soon as an 800 lb gorilla attacks it, taco and dawson rush to defend it as a superior alternative. Does everyone remember what a pain in the ass it was to get flash support on linux systems? Now that it is available, it is just another user-approved attack vector. H.264 is not perfect, or "free" at all but every criticism Jobs has made of flash is spot on: flawed security, resource pig AND THE LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR for cross platform development. For God's sake, can we please just flash die for a more modern alternative?
  • Apple's post was anti-adobe. This post is Anti-Apple, and pro-Adobe.

    How about just putting them where they belong? Apple makes computers. Adobe makes software. We are talking about standards and the web. Any standard on the web should be completely free, period. The best free standard we have so far is HTML5 + Ogg + Theora. Period. The fact that a huge patent troll is saying they've got something against Theora doesn't make Theora any less free. The same thing was said against virtually all Free Software. And to this day, noone has ever been able to remove a Free Software project from us based on patents. Every single patent troll out there has said that they have patents covering everything from drinking water to clicking buttons for 20+ years. And Free Software is still there. Free standards are still there.
    The has been cases of Privative software stealing code from GPL projects, where the GPL won and this guys had to either arrange a settlement or release their code to be GPL compliant.
    But there has not been A SINGLE CASE of infringing GPL code loosing a legal battle. So, why are we taking MPEG-LA more seriously than we took SCO? It's the same crap, different smell. Just another troll that we need to ignore until it goes away.

    So, Apple, Adobe: Sell your shit and STFU. Regardless of how much you pretend that standards, and the whole industry revolves around you, it doesn't. You're just another company trying to succeed in this market. We will buy your stuff, or we'll buy somebody else's stuff. What you say is not important. And what you pretend to be standards, are NOT. In the meanwhile, we will continue developing Free Open standards, and Free Open software that uses them. We will eventually prevail. We always do.

  • video (Score:5, Insightful)

    by J-1000 (869558) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:09AM (#32098556)

    videos decoded in software play for less than 5 hours before the battery is fully drained.

    This is really good SPIN. Steve is right in that the very OLD verion of flash before 2007 (3 years in internet time is a VERY LONG TIME.) version 9, did use a CPU based codec. But as stated above, H.264 is now the standard and all sites using flash are now using the same H.264 files in flash as is compatible with the Hardware accelerated decoders. As such, Flash 10.1 is as efficient as that can possibly be on these mobile devices. Steve implies Flash cannot do this. Again deceptive and untrue.

    But lets get into the OSX story here. Apple like to blame Adobe for the poor video performance on OSX. Unfortunately, again, Steve has failed to supply the full story. The reason Flash on OSX is so slow and buggy is as follows.

    1. Video, Apple has refused to, until recently, supply the API required to implement it. Flash 10.1 for OSX will have Hardware acceleration as, the API has only just been made available. Steve conveniently failed to mention this. (See Adobe will accelerate Flash video using new Apple API)

    That's a pretty dang good point.

  • by Graff (532189) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:11AM (#32098586)

    Why develop an app with XCode for one platform when you could develop it in Flash and have it run on multiple devices.

    Because you can develop an app with XCode and have it run on multiple devices. It really isn't that difficult.

    Flash is just another layer of middleware which is not necessary and ultimately just gets in the way. It gives quick results but the true headaches are borne by the users and also by developers down the road once you are locked-in to using Flash and want to do something that it doesn't yet support.

    Apple's stance helps all of us. It promotes an alternative to Flash which forces Adobe to clean up its act and open and improve Flash even more. Perhaps it will even get them to come up with some nice HTML5 authoring tools and technologies. We all win.

  • Re:Games too (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jaxim (858185) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:16AM (#32098698) Homepage
    There are many HTML/JS only sites that do not work for these new touch devices because the developers are still stuck in the mouse click/hover mindset. Same holds true for Flash sites/games. Like HTML/JS developers, Flash Developers also need to be mindful to ensure that their creations work on these new touch devices. Developers need to make tweeks to existing code. There shouldn't be a need to rewrite a site/game from scratch just because one individual deems it so.
  • Re:Games too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Skuld-Chan (302449) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:16AM (#32098710)

    So why not sell the apps without a cut?

    http://gorumors.com/crunchies/how-much-money-does-apple-make-from-app-store/ [gorumors.com] - suggests they make anywhere between 240-440 million dollars a year off the app store. Vs. Zero if people just played games on Flash websites.

    Many app-store games are former flash website games too...

  • by CondeZer0 (158969) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:18AM (#32098756) Homepage

    It is all about control.

    Apple's control over users, over developers, over content providers...

  • Re:Games too (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rolfwind (528248) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:19AM (#32098772)

    That doesn't make sense on several levels.

    -Apple said that it was still breaking even on music in the Itunes store. (Not sure if to take their word for it, but still.)
    -There are plenty of free games in the app store
    -pushing HTML5 is opposite of the walled garden people argue. There is a hulu, Netflix, pandora and Rhapsody apps where people can get videos and music outside of Apple's itunes.

    I don't think this is about making money directly. My guess is that Apple's real money will come from selling them new and shiny iPhones every 2 years that perform better and better and have that perpetual upgrade path.

    I think the whole flash thing is because is for the reasons Apple says, basically on a 3 inch screen without mouse, you can't offer a satisfactory flash experience and having to rely on Adobe and flash developers to consider mobile devices in their coding -- basically a losing gamble.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:22AM (#32098814)

    Why are we reading this illiterate fool's ramblings on /.?

  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:23AM (#32098842)

    err, no, according to apple, it's the crazy licensing requirements.

    It makes no sense to use as counter point that the subject said otherwise.

    Obviously Apple wouldn't say "We don't install blurays because we plan to destroy flash and monopolize online video.".

  • Re:What a joke... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dingen (958134) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:23AM (#32098846)

    Yeah, he does this all the time. Even when referring to HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript, he states:

    So compare both, I can use Adobe flash technology and build workable results without paying Adobe a cent. I have access to all the source for the tools that make the swf files. Not so with Apple. So who is more open again?

    This is a ridiculous statement and makes no sense whatsoever. Why the hell would anyone pay anything to Apple in order to create a website powered by HTML5, CSS3 & Javascript and featuring H.264 video?

  • Re:Games too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by siloko (1133863) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:24AM (#32098858)

    If Adobe can't build Flash to fit within the constraints of the device, then too bad.

    Given the constraints aren't technical but political then the chances that Flash could jump through the requisite hoops are zero.

  • Re:Games too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ray-auch (454705) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:24AM (#32098868)

    > If Adobe can't build Flash to fit within the constraints of the device, then too bad.

    They can and they have - at least the technical constraints.

    Legal constraints are the issue - Apple have banned any other programming languages like flash from the platform. Adobe were working round that with a pre-processor / converter but Apple have changed the licence to demand that all apps be written directly in Apple-approved programming languages - no pre-processors allowed.

    Emacs for iPhone - not allowed (before). Now, if you even use Bison / Yacc or anything similar to create your app, it's not allowed.

  • by bobmax48 (1804950) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:28AM (#32098918)
    Do you really believe that it is about control? I am not sure why there is so much animosity on this subject. None of the phones are now using the newest Flash and so why is everyone bitching? I know that every time I go to a Flash site I can watch my laptop battery running out of a charge and the fans on the processor are running at full speed. I use Flash in most of the video work that I do only because the students do not want to upgrade to Quicktime or any other players. Personally I don't care if Flash is used or not although I do know that anything in H.264 is much more efficient then Flash when it comes to the use of the processor.
  • Re:Games too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by twistedsymphony (956982) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:29AM (#32098932) Homepage
    It's apple's job to accommodate Flash in so far as they want their platform to support the features and functionality that their consumers are sold and expecting from the platform.

    Why should apple support HTML or Javascript? or JPGs or any other form of web-media... they support it because it gives their product additional functionality that is desirable to their consumers and expected from the type of product they're selling. It doesn't matter if Flash is the biggest bloated POS closed source platform on the planet... customers want it, and expect it to be supported. And that means Apple should have an interest in making it work and work well with their device. That doesn't mean Adobe shouldn't have a similar interest. but an open Dear John to Adobe from Jobs hardly makes up for the fact that their product still lacks that ability.

    Would you have accepted as much if things were reversed and the iPhone supported flash but no-name company would not... how well do you think sales would be going for the iPhones competitor?

    With serious competition from Google and HTC Apple doesn't have as strong of a foothold in being able to bully around 3rd parties as they once did.
  • Re:Games too (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:33AM (#32099004)

    To paraphrase Dr. Seuss (and subsequently send him spinning in his grave), a profit is a profit no matter how small.

    And that's exactly why Adobe wants Flash on the iPhone. That and keeping their stranglehold on developers.

  • Re:Games too (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DiademBedfordshire (1662223) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:37AM (#32099082)

    but the 30% that Apple is getting from them is mostly covering the cost to provide those apps in the first place and to provide the development environment.

    $440 Million for the development environment and cost of serving the apps? I doubt it.

  • Re:Games too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:38AM (#32099100) Homepage

    Apple benefits from lock-in.

    The more you buy from them that's Apple-only, the more you will be forced to by another Apple product.

    Vendor-lock in games, video and books prop up future iSales.

    Old DRM Music files probably help do the same since many people probably don't care to pay the ransom.

    The less tied my Apple experience is to Apple-only elements, the more free I am to dump them when it's time to upgrade.

  • Re:Games too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ircmaxell (1117387) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:44AM (#32099210) Homepage

    Why is it Apple's job to modify their platform to accommodate Flash?

    Well, it's not. However, it's a straw argument to not provide the APIs to let Flash use the GPU, and then complain that it doesn't use the GPU. That's the problem... Not that Flash is programmed bad, but that it doesn't take advantage of something that Apple's software does when Apple doesn't make it available.

    If Adobe can't build Flash to fit within the constraints of the device, then too bad.

    Correct. If it was Adobe complaining about Flash performance on Apple products, you'd have a point. Heck, even if it was a third party complaining, you'd have a point. But it's Apple that's complaining. They are not giving Adobe the tools to be able to make it better, and then slamming them publicly for not making it better...

    It would be like Balmer saying that PowerPC sucks because it can't run Windows, even though it's MS's fault that they don't compile Windows for PowerPC... It would be like you complaining that I can't drive your car, after you removed the engine from it. It would be like a conference denying you entry, and then complaining that you never showed up... It would be like your company revoking your computer access, and then complaining that you don't do any work...

    Most of Jobs' complaints are straw arguments (and some are blatant lies). That's what TFA was talking about. Sure, there is a decent thought or two in Jobs' letter. But the vast majority of it is pure FUD.

  • Re:Games too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld.gmail@com> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:47AM (#32099254) Homepage
    And maybe a touch of sour grapes. Adobe treated Apple like a second class platform back in the 90's when Apple was at its weakest.

    You mean, back when it WAS a second class platform?

    Now that Apple is on top of this market I think Steve Jobs is handing out a little payback. Loyalty, or the lack of it, is hard to forget.

    Apple owes a tremendous amount to Adobe; without Photoshop Apple would even today be in a weaker position.
  • by Altus (1034) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:56AM (#32099444) Homepage

    Yes, yes it is. The iPhone is not a global communications network, the iPhone is a device that some people like to use and others don't. The fact that the guy next to you has an iPhone is not hampering your ability to use the internet. Adobe not supporting your platform really does hamper your ability to use the internet.

    They are 2 different things, stop acting like they are the same.

  • Re:Games too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:57AM (#32099474) Homepage

    Apple still needs to run the app store. That requires a datacenter for the servers and a lot of bandwidth. It requires an IT staff to maintain those servers, and designers and software engineers to maintain the store itself. It requires customer service reps to answer complaints, another team to analyze and approve apps and service developers, and a legal team to analyze all the legal implications of all of those things. Then it requires some management time to keep all of those people working together.

    You're asking why Apple doesn't just do all that for free? Hmmm.... let me think.

  • Re:Games too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @12:00PM (#32099538)

    If Adobe can't build Flash to fit within the constraints of the device, then too bad.

    But Adobe did that! A major feature of the latest version of Adobe's Flash tools is that they can compile Flash directly for the iPhone so the Flash player isn't required. Apple responded by changing their developer rules so that only applications originally written in ObjC, C, and C++ are allowed.

    Adobe's been bending over backwards to make this work, and Apple keeps inventing more obstacles. We're well past the point where Apple can use the platform as an excuse. It's about obsessive control at all costs.

  • But it's just as black.

    Flash is a despicable disgrace. Most of the time when I talk to a Flash developer, the thing they're the happiest about is the control they get over my computer. This is directly because the Flash player is a piece of garbage closed source tool that purposely caters to developers over end-users. The Open Source gnash (not ganash) player has an option to pause a Flash program. The Adobe player will never, ever end up with that option, ever. Giving me control over my own computer is against Adobe's best interest. Adobe's Flash player is little more than a widely deployed trojan horse that, IMHO, is little better than spyware (Flash cookies anyone? Where's my control over those?).

    I wouldn't complain so bitterly about this if the gnash player were actually a decent drop in replacement for the closed source Flash player, but it isn't. I have to either choose my freedom and Flash that is broken most of the time, or Flash that works while giving up my freedom. I will choose my freedom, thank you very much, but I will be bitter about the stupid choice I'm forced to make.

    So, when one maker of a closed, proprietary platform that steals people's freedom purposely does things to the detriment of another closed proprietary platform that steals people's freedom, I can't help but cheer. And I hope Adobe finds a way to play nasty games with Apple too. The more these two companies can find ways to hurt eachother, the more the rest of us benefit.

  • Re:Games too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bazar (778572) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @12:05PM (#32099618)

    Why is it Apple's job to modify their platform to accommodate Flash?

    I'm not sure where that question came out of.
    The real debate is how apple changed the developer EULA to effectively deny any possibility of a flash developed app running.

    History lesson:
    The first developer EULA prevented any apps from interperting code. So no emulators, or on the fly compliers. This meant that everything had to run as a native executable.
    This denied flash or java from running on the system, in addition to preventing a potential backdoor to the apple shop. (Otherwise you could download a compiler type app (ie: java), and run any program you wished, instead of having your choices controled/taxed by apple's iStore)

    Adobe worked around this EULA limitation, by allowing flash developers to create a native executable for the iphone. It was written using flash, but was an actual native execuitable for the iphone.
    Apple still controled the iStore, but flash developers could now develop for the iPhone.

    Lo and behold, our saviours of the internet, Apple, got around and changed the developer EULA, to explicitly fix that "loophole". Making it against the EULA to write a program that wasn't in objective C (or whatever language apple now demands, i forget)

    The ONLY reason i can comprehend for that change to the EULA was to ban the native flash executables. Theres no other practical reason for it.

    Adobe went out of their way to support the iPhone, and in return Apple pulled the rug out from under them and banned any use of their application for development/use on the iphone/ipad.
    Thats a dick move by apple, the likes of which i haven't seen since Microsoft in the 90's

    And to top it off, now they come out telling us how they are only doing whats best for the ipod/iphone. Well that's bloody obvious. Apple want to force as much vendor lockin as possible, and cross-platform tools are the bane to any company trying to force an OS lock-in. Lock-in is great for apple, the iphone, and ipad.
    Its terrible for everyone and everything else, including the actual iphone consumers!

  • Re:Games too (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @12:10PM (#32099700)

    Platform vendors are under no obligation to build a platform that works just like all other platforms so that a particular software vendor doesn't have to rework something that makes money for them (the software vendor). If Adobe can't build Flash to fit within the constraints of the device, then too bad.

    This isn't an issue of Apple not wanting to change their platform to accommodate Adobe; it's an issue of Apple not wanting flash on their platform no matter what Adobe does to accommodate Apple's platform.

    Adobe even created a packager for Flash CS5 so that developers could publish Flash projects as native iPhone apps - No Flash Player required - and for their efforts Apple changed SDK license agreement to block these apps.

    So, what more do you believe that Adobe needs to do to "build Flash to fit within the constraints of the device" ?

  • by catchblue22 (1004569) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @12:11PM (#32099714) Homepage

    After reading Steve Job's very logical list of reasons for not supporting Flash, and the tit for tat response of the Adobe executive, I suspect that Adobe is trying to create an astroturfing campaign to "refute" Steve Job's claims. I found the Adobe executive's points were similar to the Monty Python "Argument Sketch", in that they were mostly just contradiction, with little evidence or logic provided.

    On my mac, Flash just sucks. It is plain awful. I use ClickToFlash to avoid flash applets, so I am very aware of the effect of opening Flash. When I open a Flash web video, after a short period of time my CPU cooling fan comes on, and gets faster and louder. Even after the video is finished, my CPU fan continues and continues. Only after quitting the browser does the CPU cool back down and the fan stop. My laptop is almost always nearly completely silent. The only other apps that rev my CPU fan up are video editing programs such as Final Cut Pro. And even then, this only happens when I am rendering movies.

    Before Safari started separating the browser processes from the Flash processes, I used to have many browser crashes. When I explored the crash reports, I would inevitably see that Flash played a prominent role. And browsing crashes were the only crashes I was getting on my system. Thus Steve Job's assertion that Flash is the main cause of OS X crashes gybes with my personal experience.

    For the Adobe executive to assert that Flash's poor performance is due to OS X is a patent absurdity worthy of a global warming denier. And I find it suspicious that after hearing the Adobe executive sound off on his opinions, that we are beginning to see blog postings suddenly appearing that support his assertions. The timing of this makes it seem that a corporate decision has been made to counter Apple by paying or influencing bloggers to tow the Adobe line.

  • Re:Games too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Altus (1034) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @12:14PM (#32099760) Homepage

    If customers want it so much, why are they still buying the iPhone when it is well known that flash doesn't work on the iPhone?

    What you want may not be what everyone else wants.

  • Re:Games too (Score:2, Insightful)

    by packman (156280) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @12:14PM (#32099772) Homepage

    Bandwidth, their "review" system for the apps, maintaining an SDK & it's documentation, maintaining a scalable online store of that size in different countries, credit card handling, ... all costs them money. There's more to it than you would expect on first sight...

  • by onefriedrice (1171917) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @12:37PM (#32100218)

    Then let the market decide. GP was right. It is all about locking the developers in, making them choose between creating software for Apple, or all of the other platforms. It's a despicable business practice and as a hobbyist developer I will not have my toolset dictated to me so long as the end result runs natively on the device.

    The market is deciding. As a player in the market, Apple has decided to try to derail Flash adoption for the reasons Apple listed in Jobs's letter. As much as that may suck to you personally, or anyone else who misses Flash on their Apple devices, you'll have to at least agree with Apple that Flash is a proprietary system that should be avoided in the face of open web standards.

    As another player in the market, if you actually disagree with Apple concerning Flash, you have the choice to not only not buy their devices but to also support alternatives. Simple.

  • Re:Games too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by uglyduckling (103926) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @12:39PM (#32100256) Homepage
    Can you explain how that's any different from the other smartphones, or indeed any general-purpose OS? I bought a bunch of apps for my Palm TX, guess what - they don't work on my new (non-Palm) phone. Very few software companies support free cross-grading of apps from one OS to another - about the only large company I ever remember supporting that were Macromedia who usually put Windows and Mac executables on the same CD, but that's stopped since Adobe bought them up.
  • Re:Games too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @12:43PM (#32100356)

    I can buy a lot of arguments about what Apple is doing being bad for developers, though developers still seem to be developing for the platform.

    One argument I hear again and again is that this restriction by Apple will make it hard for developers to develop cross platform apps. This is a valid point. But I disagree with the characterization that this is a new kind of evil that Apple is creating for developers. This situation already exists. If a developer wants to develop a game for the Wii, Xbox, PS3, and PC, it will require lots of work. There is no magical button you can press that allows a developer to compile a game for all platforms. Flash is the closest thing however each platform will require the developer to tweak each version of the game. Otherwise the game has to conform to the lowest denominator and not be able to use platform specific features like motion control, force feedback, etc. Developing any cross platform app on the iPhone is the same. It won't take advantage of multi-touch gestures, acceleronmeter, etc without tweaking.

    The other complaint is that Apple is forcing developers to use Apple tools rather than their own. Not technically true. These restriction state that C or Objective-C must be used. A developer familiar with any text editor and gcc can use them to build; however, using XCode makes things easier.

    I think forcing developers to learn Objective C is the true intent of Apple. If a developer only uses Flash and then exports it to iPhone code that developer never has to learn Objective-C. This makes it easier for Flash developers to write code; it makes it hard for everyone to debug code. Remember Apple has to approve apps so they are invovled. If there was some bug in the app, it makes hard to determine where it is. It could be in the Flash code, the Flash API, the translation, or the iPhone API. A Flash developer never learning Objective C would not be able to determine whether the translation had the bug or it is in Apple's API. All that developer would know is that Apple is not approving their app because of bugs they can't find. If the app has already been approved then the developer can't issue patches to his/her customers. Apple would rather not have this situation at all. No porting; learn Objective-C.

  • Re:Games too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @12:50PM (#32100484) Homepage

    Apple sells digital music because an easy source of high-quality music that requires little thought to access leads to more sales of music which leads to more sales of music players, which Apple manufactures and gets a high margin on.

    It's also worth noting that when Apple opened the iTunes store, there weren't really other decent online stores out there. This meant that you had to go to the store, buy a CD, and then rip it into iTunes. Or pirate. And my point isn't, "Look at how Apple pioneered a new market," (though they did) but rather that they needed an online store to market their product decently. If the record labels had gotten off their asses and done a good job of it themselves, Apple might have simply built iTunes to use one of the existing stores. If Amazon's MP3 store had existed back then, I think it's possible that Apple wouldn't have bothered setting up their own store. However, Amazon's MP3 store was only allowed to exist because Apple set up shop first.

    I think Apple must have learned something from that experience: if you want high-quality content delivered to your content-consumption devices, and you want the experience of delivering that content to be good, then you should just do it yourself.

  • Re:Games too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @12:55PM (#32100614)

    And maybe a touch of sour grapes. Adobe treated Apple like a second class platform back in the 90's when Apple was at its weakest.
    You mean, back when it WAS a second class platform?

    Actually, you're both a little off base. Adobe through the '90s treated Apple as its first-class platform. Illustrator, for example, didn't get a syncronized port for Windows until 1997. Adobe had no problem making the technically backward Classic Mac OS a first-class platform for its software.

    It's only more recently that Adobe has been neglecting OS X. Starting, I suppose, with the decision (later reversed) to discontinue the Mac OS version of Premiere, but continuing with the latest versions of the Creative Suite, which seem to get worse and worse on OS X with every release, despite increasing OS X market share.

    Now that Apple is on top of this market I think Steve Jobs is handing out a little payback. Loyalty, or the lack of it, is hard to forget.

    Apple owes a tremendous amount to Adobe; without Photoshop Apple would even today be in a weaker position.

    Don't be silly. Businesses like Apple and Adobe don't feel obligation. Adobe supports the Mac because there are still a buttload of designers that use the Mac. With regular software, it''s 95/5, 90/10 if you're lucky. With graphic designers and photographers, it's 67/33, maybe 60/40. Adobe's not willing to cut off that limb just yet. It's certainly sent every signal it can that the Mac enjoys no special status there; it's pure business that keeps Adobe coming back.

  • Re:Games too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cowscows (103644) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @12:58PM (#32100664) Journal

    The solution that they have is that the first tap reads as a hover, and the second tap reads as a click. And yes it does suck. It's a pain, but it's just barely useable for browsing through menus or whatever. But as for a low latency input such that a game might require, it would not work at all.

    This isn't just a problem inherent to Apple, it's inherent in the differences between a touch interface and a mouse driven interface. The reality is that websites/applications/whatever that want to work on both types of interfaces are going to have to come up with a design that doesn't rely on the hover effect, or settle for the fact that it'll be cumbersome and crappy on a touch screen.

  • Re:video (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @01:09PM (#32100874)

    Um - that might be because Flash has to go through the overhead of rendering video through Safari, and VLC doesn't.

    Try comparing the CPU usage of a YouTube video between the Flash version and the HTML 5 version. In my tests, the Flash version uses considerably less CPU than the HTML 5 version. And this is under Safari.

  • Couldn't be worse (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nilbog (732352) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @01:29PM (#32101298) Homepage Journal

    I can't imagine someone misunderstanding the issues more than the guy who wrote this. I don't even know where to begin, but I'll point out a few problems with his "in depth analysis." But if you don't read my comment, I recommend familiarizing yourself with the concept of a straw man argument and a red herring before reading the article, because this guy LOVES them.

    First, everyone loves to point out that while Jobs claims flash is proprietary, his own app store is the most proprietary thing ever! The flaw with this argument is that we're not talking about Flash vs. the app store. We're talking about Flash vs. HTML 5. There are not any tools, as the author claims, required from Apple to use HTML 5 video on your site. HTML 5 is an open standard (h.264 is not, flash is not, the app store is not.)

    Second, the author's arguments about performance and how Flash performs better than HTML 5 are moot. He ignores the fact that Apple includes hardware decoders for h.264 and compares software decoding to software decoding. Ignoring any negative feelings you have towards Apple (I have plenty), it's not hard to argue against H.264 direct to the browser being a better experience that h.264, wrapped in flash, to the browser. Even with hardware acceleration Flash video uses massive amount of CPU on my computer - watching an HD video will almost always kick my fans into high gear. Watching the same video on an iPad or something is a much better experience - no fans, no heat, no lost battery performance (note: battery life is the iPad's killer feature).

    The rest of the article accuses Jobs of misdirection while picking out really specific and uncommon examples where he might be wrong. Flash games aren't just bad on the iPad because of mouseovers, they're bad because they were designed from the ground up for keyboards and mice. There is usually some keyboard input required - how are you going to get around that? There are mouse hovers, but also mouse movements, etc. Think of the page itself - how would the browser know if you are trying to scroll down the page or trying to move something in the flash game? The whole experience doesn't make sense. Sure, 1/10 flash games might work well with touch, but it's not worth it. Games are not even a question here - video is the only thing seriously in question.

    I have problems with Apple as much as the next guy, but not supporting Flash in their mobile devices is one of the best things they've done in a long time. As a web developer I have been looking forward to newer technologies taking over where Flash has continually failed. Change will not come gradually - it will only come if a big player in the market forces it, and that is what Apple is doing. They're not saying HTML 5 is going to take over tomorrow, but they're willing to make sacrifices to move the transition along.

    I hate Apple, but I hate Adobe even more. At least Apple has a vision and gets their vision right. Adobe has been a mess for as long as I can remember.

  • by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @01:36PM (#32101466) Homepage
    The problems with Flash are many and technical. It's so badly designed from a security perspective [google.com], that it's almost like a Microsoft product. The giveaway that it is not is that it runs on a handful of linux architectures. Games could just as well be written as Java Applets [sun.com], which would increase the security and portability of the games. For movies, Flash is just plain wrong and other wrappers should be used, Ogg Theora [slashdot.org] being the obvious choice after MPEG or QuickTime [roughlydrafted.com].
  • Re:Games too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ClosedSource (238333) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @01:48PM (#32101700)

    The difference is that there is competition in PCs and other devices that run Windows. There isn't any competition in the Apple hardware market.

  • Fixed some typos (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kimvette (919543) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @01:51PM (#32101748) Homepage Journal

    Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole
    authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc. While Adobe’s Flash products are widely
    available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and
    available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.

    Here is the corrected version

    Apple’s iPhone products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Apple, and Apple has sole
    authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, App availability, etc. While Apple’s iPhone products are widely
    available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Apple and
    available only from Apple. By almost any definition, iPhone is a closed system, and so are iPhone applications because Steve Jobs prohibits open source apps from being offered via the app store.

  • by Kintar1900 (901219) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @01:53PM (#32101812) Homepage

    It would be really nice if it was possible to get an anti-Adobe viewpoint from someone other than an Apple fanboy, and an anti-Apple viewpoint from someone other than an Adobe fanboy. As it stands, most people who have any vested interest in this argument are heavily committed to one side or the other for their livelihood. That tends makes honest debate unlikely.

  • by Yakasha (42321) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @02:14PM (#32102174) Homepage
    He links to a Flash Software Evangelist's website as "proof", claims Apple is "just as bad" as Flash in terms of security and performance, says anybody working with HTML5 is "foolish at best"... He is a flash loving Apple hating blogger that doesn't say anything new and uses (imo worse) similar "misleading" and "bad form" tactics that he derides in Jobs.
    I think the best part though was right in the middle, where I stopped reading. He showed very clearly that he is completely missing the core of what Jobs is trying to do. Jobs is trying to ensure that the end users of the iPad/iPhone/iPod have the best experience possible. Yes, that makes the lives of developers a little more difficult at the start because they have to change a bit. He even agrees with jobs that Adobe's goal is not the same as Apple's:

    “It is their(Adobe) goal to help developers write cross platform” Yes exactly. As a developer, that is exactly what I want.

    But that is NOT what the USERS want.

    Imagine a tool box with only a Hammer in it. That is what Steve is trying to justify here.

    No, Steve is trying to justify a million dollar home. See, the fridge is shiny and cold, foundation solid, rooms large, and its energy efficient. To make sure it is all of the things he thinks the buyer wants, he doesn't let the builders use asbestos. Cancer doesn't sell houses. Crashing, unblockable popups, and buggy interfaces don't sell iPads.

  • by Drakino (10965) <d_slashdot@@@miniinfo...net> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @02:17PM (#32102218) Journal

    "because Steve Jobs prohibits open source apps from being offered via the app store."

    Odd. Why am I able to download the source code for Doom iPhone version then?

    Besides, the point of that part of Steve's letter was because Adobe keeps throwing the open word around, Apple isn't. "Open screen" this, and "open flash" that. Wheres the "open" flash player, and other bits needed to allow someone to play back Flash 10.1 content without any Adobe involvement?

  • by droopycom (470921) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @02:43PM (#32102572)

    While true, it may not matter.

    Why ?

    Users dont buy Flash, they buy iPhones. Obviously most users dont care about iPhone being proprietary, and in the end, Apple will do anything to please the majority users enough so that they will buy more phones. That include keeping a tight control on the platform.

    Users want to buy iPhones and Apps. They dont really care about how the way the apps were programmed, or if its open. They may care about the price and the quality.

    Apple will occasionally switch their stance when they think its ultimately beneficial for them. For example, see how they want from only webapps to native apps. They saw how it would benefits the users, and allow them to sell more phones. They gave the users want they want.

    For sure they will not make things easy for developers. Their strategy is please the users first, the developers will come. They will only encourage the developers if it eventually make it better for the user.
    Microsoft in the past and Android now have the other strategy: please the developers (Who said: "developers! developers! developers!"), they will create great apps and the users will come for the apps, not the phone.

    At the start of the PC era, Microsoft picked the right strategy and won against the Apple. Things have changed, PC and Smartphone users are not just geeks anymore, so Apple strategy might work better now....

    Time will tell.... But the DOJ might be the wild card here....

  • by Yakasha (42321) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @02:53PM (#32102724) Homepage

    Advice from someone who requires horizontal scrolling to read the text they're quoting? I don't think so.

    It is even harder to take him seriously if you actually read his rant.

  • Re:Games too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh.gmail@com> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @03:59PM (#32103570) Journal

    In Maemo's MicroB browser you just drag from the left edge of the screen to get a cursor, then you can do pretty much everything you can do with a mouse.

  • Re:Games too (Score:1, Insightful)

    by flintmecha (1134937) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @04:31PM (#32103976)

    How would that make the iPlatform dependent on Adobe?

    You make it sound like MacOS X would have benefited by not allowing Photoshop, rather than waiting 10 years for it.

    Adobe should be held responsible for making Flash not suck. Until then, any negative impact Flash would have on an iDevice wouldn't be Apple's fault. Flash game drains the battery? Not Apple's fault. Flash app bogs down the CPU to unusability? Not Apple's fault. I know Apple is paranoid about dirty peasant software contaminating their high-class appliance (unless it's a fart app, those are OK) but wouldn't everybody win if they were allowed the freedom and treated like adults?

    Apple apologists like to talk down about Flash and complain about its performance and say how thankful they are that Flash isn't allowed on their phone, but if it were, who would be forcing them to download and use those Flash apps? If a person is savvy enough to know that an app written in Flash is going to suck, they don't have to us it. Right?

    Is there something about all of this that I'm missing?/p?

  • Re:Games too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by s73v3r (963317) <s73v3r@ g m a i l.com> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @04:39PM (#32104128)
    Derp. You're right. CS4 wasn't 64 bit. CS5 is. However, it was known for a while that Carbon wasn't going 64bit. It was also known that Carbon was there simply to help developers move their MacOS Classic stuff over to OS X with a minimum of hastle, so they could get something out the door while working on a native, Cocoa implementation. Adobe also had plenty of time to come out with a Universal Binary version of CS3, but refused to provide Intel Mac support until CS4.
  • Re:Games too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @04:46PM (#32104236)


    Adobe needs to write a tool that converts flash source or binary directly to Objective C.
    Hint: Compiler is a text transformation tool, hence this compiler emits flash to Objective C code.

    Then developers could use Object C "Compiler" from iStore or GNU and create a "Program" that was using apple approved "Source" and generate iPhone executable.

    Now apple can not deny it at all.

    Sure they can. IIRC, the new EULA says "Nothing not Originally Developed in C, C++, or Objective C" Not much to do about that. Hell, you can't even write your program in pseudocode on a whiteboard.

  • by Whuffo (1043790) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:24PM (#32106498) Homepage Journal

    These stories are becoming a daily (or more often) thing here on Bashdot. After reading more than a few of these thinly-disguised anti-Apple pieces I'm starting to see some common themes. They're all using half-truths and outright lies to promote their point - but what point are they trying to prove?

    Among the first to get involved were Adobe employees. They started by identifying themselves but they're still at it and working more covertly. Read the messages carefully and you'll see the Adobe party line being espoused. What they're after is to keep people dependent on Flash - it's partly profit motive but more of a control thing. Adobe wants to control the market for web video and other fluff. As long as they're on every machine they can attract developers to target their player. But their control is slipping and they're fighting back in any and every way they can. Here's a tip for the less well informed: Flash plays H.264 video; keep that in mind.

    Next we have the so-called developers who can slap together an "application" in Action Script and put it on the web. We've all seen the results of their "efforts" and once again, it's pure self-interest - they can't compete with real programmers and when they're facing that possibility they're kicking and screaming. The iPhone and iPad are a significant deal and there's big money to be made in coding apps - those Flash "codere" are not going to get a piece of that pie and they're pissed off.

    Then there's the "big software company" representatives enjoying the furor and tossing in their little barbs to stir things up a little more. If you think there aren't paid shills for this company posting here you're not paying very good attention. Their music player failed - yeah, they sold a few but in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really count. And they have been in phone operating systems for several years and - well, they might as well have stayed home. They don't see these market failures as being their fault; they prefer to blame the competition and anything they can do to take the market leader down will improve their fortunes - or so they think. Remember "Plays for sure" and MSN music? What happened there? Consider this carefully before trotting out complaints about lock-in and DRM.

    And then there's the usual cast of trolls who delight in mayhem - here's a hot topic, let's jump in and spread some half-truths and lies just for fun.

    Let's not forget the open source zealots who hate anything that's proprietary. They make quite a noise but fail to recognize that they represent a very, very small slice of the population. They'd like to control Apple and make them conform to their idea of what the software world should be like. That's a valid opinion - but only an opinion. They can kill a few days trying to get their box to play some audio file and feel it's worth it because it's FREE - but the rest of us just want to listen to a tune and don't want to have to recompile the kernel before we can get the music to play.

    Recently, we're hearing about antitrust concerns because Apple insists on certain compilers to compile apps for their mobile devices. Oh noes, that must be a proprietary lock-in, right? Has anyone ever looked at what that requirement actually says? It's not as restrictive as you might think. No, I'm not going to tell you - go look it up and be better informed.

    That brings me to the one thing that all of these groups have in common - they've never owned or handled the devices they're talking about. They're having so much fun with their trollish day in the sun that little things like truth or knowing what you're talking about aren't important. I've got to say that my opinion of some people has been readjusted after seeing what's been written over the last month. If you have an opinion - that's valid and every bit as important as anyone else's opinion. But it's not a fact - and this is where so many intellectually dishonest people reveal their true nature: there are opinions, and there are facts. Try not to confuse t

  • Re:Games too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by uglyduckling (103926) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:38PM (#32106636) Homepage
    Sure. It depends whether you want the premium hardware/styling of a Mac. Certainly within the MacBook range, if you look for a genuinely equivalent Sony or Dell machine the prices are broadly similar. The point of the discussion was perceived 'lock in' which seems to me to be a myth.

"History is a tool used by politicians to justify their intentions." -- Ted Koppel