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The Surprising Statistics Behind Flash and Apple 630

Barence writes "PC Pro's Tom Arah has dug up some statistics that cast severe doubt over Steve Jobs' assertion that Flash is the technology of the past, and Apple's iOS is the platform of the future. He quibbles with Net Applications' assertion that iOS growth is 'massive,' considering that mobile accounts for only 2.6% of web views, and the iOS share stands at only 1.1%. By comparison, Silverlight penetration now stands at 51% while 97% of web surfers have Flash installed, according to Stat Owl. 'At least when Bill Gates held the web to ransom he had the decency to first establish a dominant position,' Arah claims. 'In Steve Jobs' case, with only 1.1% market share, the would-be emperor isn't even wearing any clothes.'"
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The Surprising Statistics Behind Flash and Apple

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  • by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @07:13PM (#33656782)

    I find that figure remarkable being as there have only been about 50 million iPhones (counting all generations) sold worldwide, according to Apple's quarterly reports.

  • by scromp ( 148280 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @07:27PM (#33656912)

    Flash sucks even on real computers, I don't get why people get so worked up about this. Flash can die in a fire. A *poo* fire.

  • by keytoe ( 91531 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @07:31PM (#33656942) Homepage

    So far I've only seen it in the wild three times: Photosynth, the Feynmann Lectures (posted by MS...), and some random video at MSNBC or similar news site.

    You need it for Netflix streaming. I know that's the only reason I have it installed on two of my computers, and that's the only thing it's used for.

  • Re:Oh dear... (Score:5, Informative)

    by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @07:32PM (#33656950) Journal

    It doesn't matter.

    They aren't the real kdawson and CmdrTaco any more.

    They've been replaced by a Python script.

    The script cruises the firehose every 25 minutes and takes the top-scoring article no matter how stupid, stale, or binspam it is.

    Every few hours it to the next name in the Poster-bot list, to give the impression that management is keeping the staff levels up.

  • Flash is dog, dog slow on OS X right now, even with a lot of CPU grunt, and it has nothing to do with Apple "blocking access to necessary APIs" or the lack of hardware accelerated h.264 that Adobe (or others) will try to claim. It really is woeful at all animation, even when H.264 video is not involved at all. An iPhone version would just be even worse, since there just isn't the CPU grunt to cover up how poor it is. You can get away with it on a desktop machine - you have a 2GHz cpu mostly idle that can help you out with your simple flash page, but on a mobile device you actually have to make the code decent.

    The biggest reason there is no Flash on iOS is performance. The HTML5 and open web are secondary concerns.

    The 10.1 release of flash is much better on OS X, but it is still a terrible resource hog for no good reason. Even the Mac Silverlight player is much better. I assume MS has the same "access" to the core of OS X as Adobe do.

  • Re:Oh thank god (Score:3, Informative)

    by h00manist ( 800926 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @07:39PM (#33657024) Journal
    Flash is useful, but the implementation is not very good. There is no need to use 100% of CPU to animate a couple of little squares on a screen. Yes, maybe the flash content author sucks. But he is using Adobe stuff.
  • Re:Oh thank god (Score:4, Informative)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @07:43PM (#33657068) Homepage Journal

    Flash does have it's place. I use flash blocker to kill off most of the bad uses and just click the play button for the few good ones. Now if people would just avoid those tasteless flash pages for their websites. Usually I just hit the back button and try another site when I get one of those.

  • by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <joham999@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @07:52PM (#33657190)

    The OS has always supported right click, since at least OS 8.6 - just plug in a 2 button mouse, or use control+click. The single button was all about lack of confusion, but it was not "enforced" if you wanted to be able to right click. So, they listened to the feedback way back when OS 8 was the new thing (in 1997) and provided right click for those that wanted it. The only way this could possibly affect Mac sales if if people didn't actually do any research before purchase and just assumed. Perhaps this is why, in 2010, people still think you cannot right click on a Mac (not that you do think that, but I have seen it on slashdot).

    All current Apple mice have right click. They haven't shipped a single button mouse for some time now. The wireless ones are multitouch too.

  • by Skuld-Chan ( 302449 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @08:04PM (#33657284)

    Flash on Android is interesting. I think that article really misses the fact that it does in fact work, but some sites are really not designed for touch. I found its pretty fun to watch videos on my phone on sites like escapist.com - you can't do that on IOS, but you can on Android and it does work and its not a battery drain.

    There are in fact examples of HTML 5 based sites [youtube.com] that totally fail on the ipod/iphone/ipad/android as well.

  • by PayPaI ( 733999 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @08:24PM (#33657434) Journal

    I can see several fingers that are totally useless on top of an Apple mouse, which can be operated by a stump.

    Apple hasn't shipped a mouse with only a single button in 5 years. Troll harder next time.

  • by molnarcs ( 675885 ) <csabamolnarNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @08:26PM (#33657448) Homepage Journal
    I don't think you have tried flash on Froyo - I don't care what random author says on the internet, most sites I have ran into work well with flash enabled on my Nexus One. That includes flashgames247, a site I just visited to try out how flash works. Played a game where you had to shoot arrows by dragging backwards and clicking with the mouse. Worked flawlessly with fingers. Then before I bought this phone, I was looking at reviews on youtube. Found a video comparing the Iphone 4 with the Nexus One. By the time the Iphone finished loading the page of one specific site*, the Nexus one has already finished and the flash video was already playing! The slowest site I managed to find was sonystyle, animation is as slow as a slideshow, but so far, the majority of flash heavy sites I visited work very well.

    *www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjhF1xZQRQk - browser test is between the 6th and 7th minute

  • by Tharsman ( 1364603 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @08:26PM (#33657454)

    How is SJ holding the web at ransom if he is in such a weak position?

    He isn't, SJ is just trying to make it sound like he is able to hold the web ransom and making the same BS claims about Flash in an effort to hold it ransom to his whims. SJ hopes to spout enough lies about Flash so everyone will adopt his version of HTML5 (not the so far agreed upon version since nothing is completely official), and if he can make his version of HTML5 the standard it will give him a lot of power on the web that he wants to use to leverage things like the iOS to his standards to keep more competition out of the game (similar to how IE was the 'standard' in the late 90's and helped lock out others like Netscape with sites "recommending IE only").

    Actually, Steve Jobs has made it very clear he does not care about "holding the web ransom". They already are allowing flash wrapping applications. But they will not support flash within their browser. It is their choice, not a ransom. Adobe is the one that makes it sound as if they were being held hostage for not being accepted into the iOS Safari club. The irony is that most people that complain about the lack of Flash in the iPhone are people that either don't have an iOS device (and will never get one even if there was flash) or work for Adobe.

  • by Tharsman ( 1364603 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @08:57PM (#33657698)

    I'm guessing you missed that whole "HTML5 webpage showcase" [slashdot.org] that only worked on Safari and many of the functions weren't part of the normal sections of HTML5, and in fact needed OSX parts. These weren't the real HTML5 standards being discussed, but Apples version, right down to the fact it needed OSX to run properly (which happened to be proprietary)

    You mean the HTML5 showcase that I just ran in Google Chrome and worked perfectly fine for the exception of the VR, however this same VR demo runs perfectly fine in the Chrome Canary build, meaning it's something that is indeed in the HTML5 definition.

    Also, you may want to read this from the showcase: The demos below show how the latest version of Apple’s Safari web browser, new Macs, and new Apple mobile devices all support the capabilities of HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. Not all browsers offer this support. But soon other modern browsers will take advantage of these same web standards — and the amazing things they enable web designers to do.

    In other words: the whole point was bragging how they incorporated all that defined HTML5 goodness already. I doubt Google added the support to Chrome Canary just because Apple forced them to. Google is much more suborn than that.

  • by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <joham999@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @09:43PM (#33657990)

    No, Apple did not want to kill USB in favour of firewire, it always wanted them to work together, since they are complementary technologies - USB is good for the low speed stuff, firewire was better (and still is) at the high bandwidth, high IO stuff like hard drives and cameras and so on. They were always meant to work together, not to be exclusive.

    The USB 1.1 spec came out in September 98, at the same time as the original iMac. While there were possibly some PCs that had ports before then, MS didn't add proper support (read: full) for USB until Win 98. For some versions of Win 95 they had a patch (service release 2.1 or something?) that provided some function in late 1997 or early 98, but it was hardly the huge step forward intel were hoping for - it didn't ship with support until Win98.

    Either way, my point was not "who did it first" but more how it was done - the way the iMac was released, there was a guaranteed new market for peripherals, since there were no legacy ports on it at all. If you wanted a printer you either needed a network one, or a USB one (or a USB to serial converter, which was another new market). For the new PCs, they had these new ports, but you weren't forced into using them - you could just buy a printer or modem or whatever with an old connector, that your machine still supported. Much the same as eSATA finds itself today - there's no huge surge in eSATA drives since USB2 and firewire are on pretty much every machine you can buy, and it's enough for most people.

    A firewire mouse or keyboard would just be silly and unnecessary there was never any motive to remove USB in favour of firewire - they both shipped on the iMac, and always have on all future Macs.

  • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @09:46PM (#33658010)

    Firewire is only dead if you have never worked in the pro-video industry

    By the same token, Floppy drives are dead if you've never worked in the Server Administration industry...

    Which one is bigger?

    Apple *still* has Firewire

    But *no one* else does. Contrary to your beliefs, Apple does not define standards, FireWire is dead except in the minds of a few obscure fanboys. eSata has almost completely replaced Firewire in every capacity that USB could not. It's only a matter of time before Firewire joins the LPT port (for most of us, it already has).

  • Well, the software is different, even if the hardware is the same.

    Flash runs ok on my iMac if I reboot it into Windows XP, running on literally identical hardware, but is a hog under OS X.

    The argument isn't at all silly.

    Adobe's Mac version of Flash is just really poor, although better with the 10.1 release. Given how much iOS and OS X have in common under the hood (at least as common as Android and Linux, for example), it is not hard to see why Flash on the iPhone is a non starter, even if Apple wanted it.

  • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @10:09PM (#33658190)

    Steve Jobs listed 6 reasons why Flash wasn't going on iOS devices. In the very last sentence of his thoughts on flash [apple.com] he says:"Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind." While you may not agree with any of the six reasons, Jobs said Flash is archaic is being asserted as the only reason. Also I don't know about anybody else but my understanding is that Jobs has always talked about Flash on mobile devices (Reason#4 was battery life). Even if mobile browsing represents 2.6% of web usage, 1.1% represents 42% of mobile devices. That's a rather large percentage of mobile users.

  • bah (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:28AM (#33658916) Homepage Journal

    What a series of ridiculous assertions.

    Silverlight penetration now stands at 51%

    What a surprise. Anything bundled with windos and IE will reach numbers like that quickly and easily. If they were to add a cooking recipe to IE, they would reach those numbers with it. In fact, given the de-facto monopoly especially in companies, and that it was lobbied/bought as the only choice if you wanted streaming videos of the last two Olympics, that is a surprisingly low number

    while 97% of web surfers have Flash installed

    Flash was introduced in 1996. That was 14 years ago. And for many of those years it was a de-facto standard for the loud and colourful parts of the web (games, movie sites, anything that wanted "more interactivity").

    And then he compares two plugin technologies to an operating system. Because, you know, 27% of elephants have one leg slightly shorter than the other, which clearly proves that the 32% of plane flights that are delayed is a much too high number!

  • by Phroggy ( 441 ) <.moc.yggorhp. .ta. .3todhsals.> on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:38AM (#33658980) Homepage

    The OS has always supported right click, since at least OS 8.6 - just plug in a 2 button mouse, or use control+click. The single button was all about lack of confusion, but it was not "enforced" if you wanted to be able to right click.

    Correction: the OS has supported contextual menus since Mac OS 8.0 (1997), but right-clicking was not supported natively until Mac OS X (2001, but nobody used 10.0 because it was terrible). Prior to that, right-clicking was only supported through the use of third-party drivers (example [cnet.com]) that simulated a control-click.

    As of Mac OS X, multiple button mice (with scroll wheels) are natively supported by the operating system.

  • by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:58AM (#33659100)

    It's also worth noting that we're not completely in the dark. I watch Netflix and Hulu on my iPhone using their custom app. I don't have to wait for pages to load so I'm
      getting to the point much more quickly. The IMDB app is far more responsive than it is on Safari. I do not look forward to the idea of trying to play everything through the browser when the apps are so much more efficient. Screw Flash.

  • by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @01:03AM (#33659124)

    Partly because their initial figure was wrong, partly because your figure is wrong (it was 60 million iPhones in June, rising by about 9 million a month), and partly because the iPhone isn't the only iOS device out there, there's a similar number of iPod touches, and a good 10 million iPads out there.

  • by Tharsman ( 1364603 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @01:43AM (#33659256)

    Another angle to this... Apple is approving Flash translated and sold through them, where they take a cut of the profits, but is not approving Flash that exists out on the web for free or otherwise.

    Now there is a horrendously weak conspiracy theory.

    If it's out in the open it's free. These devs can put these in the app store for free. Apple gets nothing. You can even make it have google ads that may yield you money but not a penny going to Apple.

    Apple only gets a cut if you decide to charge for your app (up to you) or use iAd as your ad provider.

  • by moronoxyd ( 1000371 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @02:57AM (#33659500)

    That's why Darwin, Webkit, GCC and so on are closed source and proprietary, right?

    You do know that all of these existed as open source before Jobs got his hands on them, right?
    Darwin = *BSD, WebKit = KHTML, and the G in GCC stands for GNU...
    So he basically had to keep Apples versions thereof open.

  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @03:58AM (#33659676)

    What people don't get is that Jobs makes his claims based on reason and foresight, not on current numbers. And what you will have to admit, most of the time he is dead on.

    I don't like Apples Content Delivery Lock-In as much as the next guy, but what most people rarely get when talking about Steve Jobs and the things he claims is that this guy actually knows what he is talking about.

    He said it time, and time again: Flash got a no-go on the iPhone BECAUSE ADOBE COULDN'T GUARANTEE A MINIMUM PERFORMANCE without hogging the entire iPhone CPU! And given, that is, of course, due to the VM nature of Flash. Ever since the dawn of ActionScript 2, Flash is a plattform, not a mere animation plugin. ... Ok, so this is Slashdot, and most people contiuously ragging on Flash here don't know squat what it actually is all about, but I guess I'll never give up trying.

    Get it in to your freaking skull: Steve said it time and time again: NO VMs and no inner frameworks or inner operating systems on the iPhone. Period. End of story. I might emphasise that he was absolutely right with his strategy, hence the bizarly massive return on investment the iPhone line is racking in to this very day. Check out the smooth performance of the iPhone and the third-party apps crutching around on last generation Android Phones to see what I'm talking about.

    And I am *not*, I repeat *NOT* an iPhone fanboy - in fact, I am, if at all, most probably going to replace my BlackBerry with an Android Phone whenever the need arises. Given, I might take an iPhone after all, if Android and Ubuntu 10 turn out to be just as prissy as last years versions.

    Now go ahead and mod me into oblivion.

  • Re:Oh dear... (Score:2, Informative)

    by LaRainette ( 1739938 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:07AM (#33660040)
    No he is Pro HTML 5 + open video codec (being ogg theora or VP8 or another one).

    He is against the stupid and dishonest argument from steve Jobs that we all should support HIS solution (HTML5 + h.264) because Flash and Silverlight are proprietary because if you change the framework but keep the closed video codec then you've achieved nothing except making Apple stronger.

    Apple's solution is not worse than Flash or Silverlight, it's actually probably better, it's just that it is a dishonest and inconsistent strategy.
  • Re:OT Cisco (Score:2, Informative)

    by minasoko ( 710100 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:27AM (#33660102)

    Anyone else around here wondering why Cisco is not suing the shit out of Apple for using the name IOS? I'd expect that.

    No [cisco.com]. No-one else around here is wondering.

  • by Carewolf ( 581105 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:10PM (#33663954) Homepage

    Ehmm.. The MPEG-4 container format IS Quicktime, it has nothing to do the video encoding though. It is just the container format of choice, so it is not "like Quicktime", it is "Quicktime", and this has nothing to do with H.264, you could embed VP8 into Quicktime if you so desired.

  • by DinDaddy ( 1168147 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:18PM (#33664120)

    You've made a MacBook Air. Not sure if that answers your question.

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern