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A Peace Plan To End the Flash-On-iPhone Fight 495

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the why-can't-we-all-just-get-along dept.
GMGruman writes "As the pro- and anti-Flash camps have hardened their positions, the editors at InfoWorld have come up with a four-point peace plan that would allow Flash on the iPhone while addressing Apple's very real concerns over performance, stability, and security. Readers can vote and comment on the peace plan, which InfoWorld hopes will result in serious talks between Apple and Adobe."
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A Peace Plan To End the Flash-On-iPhone Fight

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  • Apple Plan (Score:0, Interesting)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Monday May 10, 2010 @10:20AM (#32154982) Journal

    I doubt it does much good. Apple has taken it stance, and they have a very clear reason to do so: Apple is building a replacement for Flash [theregister.co.uk].

    Throw away all that hypocrisy where Steve Jobs said H.264 is "open, free and non-proprietary", and their "humble" goal to open up the internet (while their devices are closed as hell), and welcome to the masterplan. It's not about open standards or supporting HTML5 (and funnily closed H.264), it's because Apple wants to compete with Adobe. Talk about backstabbing, at least I knew Mac's because artists always used a Mac with earlier Photoshops.

    Obviously you can only develop software for this Flash-lookalike using Macs and if you want to develop for iPhone or iPad you are required to buy a pricy developers license. So much for hobbyist creating interesting programs and fun games? It makes perfect sense now why Apple doesn't want to allow even cross-compiled apps [daringfireball.net].

    Get ready for Apple fanbois coming in and commenting on this on why it's "innovative" and why suddenly "Apple shouldn't support HTML5".

  • Waste of time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Monday May 10, 2010 @10:27AM (#32155102) Journal

    The decision is Apple's and Apple's alone. Apple has all the cards and has no need to cut any deals. InfoWorld's suggestions fail to take that into account.

  • by bluesatin (1350681) on Monday May 10, 2010 @10:28AM (#32155116)

    It's important to note that the loss of profit may not be from the App store, but from the fact that people will have little reason to buy an iPhone if every app is available on every platform; Apple makes the majority of it's profit off hardware not software.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 10, 2010 @10:32AM (#32155168)

    Actually it's not a bad idea, but not as a "plug-in". The iPhone OS should simply load the .swf, analyze if it references an MPEG-4/H.264 file, and access that video file directly (i.e. replace the Flash video player with its built-in player on the fly).

    Anyone know if it's easy to parse a Flash Video Player file to check for an external video file reference?

    That way, they at least force people to switch to H.264/AAC if they haven't done so already.

  • One good idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fermion (181285) on Monday May 10, 2010 @10:36AM (#32155220) Homepage Journal
    The article has one good idea, create a flash standard, which I believe would allow others to write browsers with native flash support. This would be the same thing Adobe did when they let others write applications to display PDF.

    This has to be more than just allowing flash movies to play. Adobe would have to allow people to write applications that supports all that is flash. This would clearly get rid of the major worry about Flash, that it is controlled by a single firm that could wipe our it's competitors simply by no longer supporting Flash on their products. Of couse, as Adobe is finding out, it works both ways. Apple is doing it's best to destroy Flash by not supporting it on the mobile products.

    Why will Adobe not allow flash players? Well, because then we might get functionality that would be a detriment to major players like google. Users might have in browser control of browser cookies. Users might get the control the do with images, like automatically blocking any flash object below a certain size. Or, heaven forbid, user might get an off switch.

  • by delinear (991444) on Monday May 10, 2010 @10:57AM (#32155498)
    This is exactly why Apple are trying to get a stranglehold on the Apps market right now. They need a hardware exit strategy - for now they have desirable hardware, but elsewhere prices are decreasing, specs are increasing, and beyond that there's going to come a saturation point for these devices. Apple realise this and they're trying to steal a march on the software side of things because they realise it might one day be their primary business. Of course, the fact that it sells iPhones/iPods/iPads in the meantime is a massive bonus, but that's not the end-game.
  • by Tharsman (1364603) on Monday May 10, 2010 @10:59AM (#32155508)
    HTML5 poses as much threat to Apple as Flash does. I don't see Apple blocking it, but encouraging it instead. I don't think it's about control only, but about, for once, Apple using its power to bully a good standard into the web, for a change.
  • Re:Apple Plan (Score:5, Interesting)

    by uglyduckling (103926) on Monday May 10, 2010 @11:00AM (#32155524) Homepage

    No it's not. I have the full X-Code package for developing on desktop OSX and iPhone, I downloaded it from the developer's area of Apple's website after registering for free. You only pay if you wish to release software via the App Store for the iPhone/iPad. $99 seems very reasonable to me as a fee for use of the libraries and access to the App store. Many development environments (e.g. Flash) require you to pay up-front whether you release or not.

    Surprisingly, you are required to run OSX to run Apple's development environment, just like you are required to run Windows to run Microsoft's development environments. Code can be written for OSX using freely available tools and libraries on the OS of your choice, which will run from the command line or graphically via one of the cross-platform UI libraries. If you want to link against Apple's libraries you will need to use their OS, which I think is true of the Windows APIs too.

  • by s_p_oneil (795792) on Monday May 10, 2010 @11:00AM (#32155538) Homepage

    I've programmed in a lot of languages. I just learned Flash a few weeks ago because I needed to port an iPhone game to Flash. From a developer's perspective, programming in Flash is like programming with half a language that only has half a run-time library. That wouldn't be so bad if it was fun to program in like some of the more modern scripting languages, but it's not.

    Regarding performance, I found that the only way to make Flash code perform well is to write spaghetti code. I had a collision detection routine running really slowly, and when I hacked together a profiler for it (which is not easy because the language has no high-precision timers), I discovered that the function call overhead in Flash is obscenely high. I had to get rid of all getter methods (i.e. make all my read-only member variables public), replace convenience functions like Math.abs() and Math.max() with if-then-else statements, and take my hit test function and copy+paste its contents everywhere I wanted to call it. (I didn't see any macro or inline features, and as much as I hate to copy+paste, the hit really was that bad.)

    IMO, if Adobe can't fix the language, they should put a bullet in it. If they won't do either (and they've had years), then I have no problem with other companies attempting to put a bullet in it.

  • by swb (14022) on Monday May 10, 2010 @12:35PM (#32157458)

    Sort of like how they've gotten out of the desktop PC business, considering that specs are increasing, prices are dropping and there's a saturation point for those devices.

    Except that they aren't a software company, they are a hardware company, as the licensing for OS X shows. There's no reason to believe that this will change in the iPad/iPhone space. These devices are in the infant stage now in their historical lifecyles, as are the wireless networks that support them.

    The smartphone market is just beginning and assuming that it's all about faster CPUs and more megapixels in the cameras ignores what they may become in the future from an additional hardware perspective (picoprojection?) and availability of faster networks (4G and beyond). Apple has probably a decade or two left, easy, in the hardware department and plenty of ways to enhance the hardware to keep people coming back.

    Plus, my guess is that Apple iPhone users aren't the kind of people shopping on CPU clock/pixels-per-inch/megapixels, so the fact that some HTC phone may have a better camera or faster CPU doesn't matter to them. And a phone, if you use it every day and carry it eveywhere, is kind of a wear item that people need replacing due to broken bits, scratches or other issues associated with carrying something around all the time.

  • Re:Waste of time (Score:3, Interesting)

    by s73v3r (963317) <s73v3r @ g m a i l.com> on Monday May 10, 2010 @02:11PM (#32159236)
    They're attempting to do just that with Android. However, the ship date for Android Flash has slipped a few times already. Personally, I'll believe they can pull it off decently when I see it, and run it on my phone. However, I don't have high hopes for it, mainly because my current phone is a G1.
  • Re:Apple Plan (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 10, 2010 @02:33PM (#32159546)

    Because it is the geek version of an 'inconvenient truth". Folks on here love to bash the iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, comparing it's 'closed' system to a general PC, which is wide open. The argument makes no sense when it is taken for what it is: An appliance.

    Android > iPhone. iPhone is closed garbage, Android is open and free. I would have to pay money to write apps for my own device if I was using an iPhone. How ridiculous is that?

    Fuck Jobs and his closed platform bullshit.

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