140 Comments

Summary:

Adobe announced its new Flash Media Server 4.5 late Thursday afternoon, and it’s an iteration that Apple device owners should be very happy about. For the first time, Flash Media Server 4.5 enables same source video delivery to both Apple devices and Adobe Flash-compatible destinations.

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Adobe announced its new Flash Media Server 4.5 late Thursday afternoon, and it’s an iteration Apple device owners should be very happy about. For the first time, Flash Media Server now enables same-source video delivery to both Apple devices and Adobe Flash-compatible destinations. Basically, Adobe is acknowledging Apple has won when it comes to Flash.

The new version of Flash Media Server will repackage content automatically for Apple’s mobile products, which lack Flash support, and implement HTTP Dynamic Streaming or HTTP Live Streaming, both of which are compatible with iOS. In theory, that should allow iOS to have its cake and eat it too, meaning future Flash content will playback on iOS devices, without the slowdowns and battery drain that are part of what made the technology unappealing to Apple to begin with.

Basically, Adobe is making changes to Flash Media Server in order to once again make it an appealing option for video publishers, by serving their actual needs instead of struggling with Apple in an unproductive either/or relationship. It’s something Adobe has been doing across its product lineup lately, with its Flex and Flash Builder tools for apps, and also with the Adobe Digital Publishing suite for digital magazine publications.

Adobe will continue to offer Flash, of course, but this is a clear acknowledgement that different solutions are necessary for the growing category of mobile video, which is dominated by Apple devices. Apple called this future, refused to waver, and now Adobe is wisely bending in response in order to remain relevant. While this is incontestably a win for Apple, it’s also a big step forward for Adobe, since now content producers and publishers won’t have to look elsewhere in order to serve the entire mobile market.

  1. Won?

    Oh heaven forbid… a company innovates to increase their target audience! If they do that, and their target audience just happens to be iPhone users, then Apple has won the FLASH WAR!!!

    Give me a break.

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    1. No break needed, Apple did.

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    2. Yes, won. Until late in 2010, Adobe was promoting the “full web experience” (a marketing-phrase for HTML plus Flash) as something crucial for mobile devices. Check out http://blogs.adobe.com/flashplatform/2010/04/flash_brings_the_web_to_life.html , which claims that “over 70% of games and 75% of video that are delivered with Flash.” It took until the fall of 2010 for Adobe’s John Nack to blog about what has now been released as Wallaby ( http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2010/10/adobe-demos-flash-to-html5-conversion-tool.html ): ” Cut the cost of targeting multiple runtimes” — flush the Flash code from websites and only serve up HTML — and “Adobe lives or dies by its ability to help customers solve real problems.”

      Remember, the iPhone was released in mid-2007. It took Adobe over three years to adapt its products to a Flash-free platform, and over four years to adopt its media server to serve up media to the iOS platform. Until this product, customers that wanted access to the hundreds of millions of iOS devices had to abandon the Adobe server platform.

      Adobe has used the phrase “full web experience” thousands of time on their website. They have now — finally — changed direction. I say it’s about time.

      Give us a break.

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    3. @Scotty: I’m with you brother, check out this article from 2008(here’s an excerpt):
      http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2008/11/adobe-flash-on/
      Allowing Flash — which is a development platform of its own — would just be too dangerous for Apple, a company that enjoys exerting total dominance over its hardware and the software that runs on it. Flash has evolved from being a mere animation player into a multimedia platform capable of running applications of its own. That means Flash would open a new door for application developers to get their software onto the iPhone: Just code them in Flash and put them on a web page. In so doing, Flash would divert business from the App Store, as well as enable publishers to distribute music, videos and movies that could compete with the iTunes Store.
      Allowing Flash — which is a development platform of its own — would just be too dangerous for Apple, a company that enjoys exerting total dominance over its hardware and the software that runs on it. Flash has evolved from being a mere animation player into a multimedia platform capable of running applications of its own. That means Flash would open a new door for application developers to get their software onto the iPhone: Just code them in Flash and put them on a web page. In so doing, Flash would divert business from the App Store, as well as enable publishers to distribute music, videos and movies that could compete with the iTunes Store.

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      1. Apple likes users to have a good experience. Point me to one review of a mobile device that says “Flash performance on this device is flawless.” Or even “Flash performance on this device is generally acceptable.”

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      2. What you and @scotty don’t get is that it’s a huge innovation for the web to become Flash-free. We will never have an accessible web until opaque services like Flash are put to bed.

        There are very few companies that could have drawn this line in the sand and made this bold move. Customers need not ever use Apple products to benefit from the massive clean-up that has begun on the web.

        The only pathway I see to an accessible web is to flush Flash. If anyone sees another way, please make your case.

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      3. @Bones: “Customers need not ever use Apple products to benefit from the massive clean-up that has begun on the web.”

        I don’t know about that. I have a Mac without Flash installed, and I use both Safari and Firefox. When I go to sites like Youtube.com on Firefox, they tell me, “You need to upgrade your Adobe Flash Player to watch this video.
        Download it from Adobe.” Copy and paste the URL into Safari, and the video plays flawlessly.

        It seems that websites are purposely targeting Safari, and denying users of other browsers the opportunity to kick Abode Flash Player to the curb.

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      4. @PhillyG: the Safari plug-in YouTube5 ( http://www.verticalforest.com/youtube5-extension/ ) will allow you to view YouTube videos Flash-Free in Safari.

        This little nugget came from a highly technical piece by John Gruber about going Flash-free on the Mac: http://daringfireball.net/2010/11/flash_free_and_cheating_with_google_chrome

        Here’s the million-dollar question: since your browsers have the ability to natively process and display the streaming protocols, why the hell would you ever want to go through the obfuscation of Flash? Why do we have to add plugins to our browsers in order to ask “Mother May I?” to have our data served up the simplest way possible? At the very least, why can’t the websites give me a simple and straightforward way to specify that I’d like the data served up Flash-free?

        Why not have the default behavior be Flash-free? If some user wants Flash from some esoteric reason, that’s wonderful. But don’t encumber the rest of us with this unnecessary layer of obfuscation.

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    4. Hamranhansenhansen Sunday, September 11, 2011

      Well, *you* tell *me*:

      * Adobe’s position was that you can’t serve video to mobile devices if that mobile device doesn’t have Adobe FlashPlayer

      * Apple’s position was “that is not true.”

      Now, Adobe has released a product, years late, that serves video to devices that do not have FlashPlayer on them. The complete reversal of their previous position. Apple’s position is still the same.

      So who won?

      And I’m a Flash developer since 1997. I’m very familiar with the technology, and with MPEG-4 and HTML5 as well. Adobe’s position was always BS. It came from their business criminals, it was all a vendor lock-in play, it did not come from their technologists, who would never have tried to pretend that an iPod can’t play video.

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  2. “Basically, Adobe is acknowledging Apple has won when it comes to Flash.”

    This is more than a bit inaccurate. This only applies to video streams. It’s a bit disappointing that there still remains so much misinformation when it comes to the platform. Even more disappointing when it comes from the more popular and respected blogs/outlets. You are doing a disservice to your users by lumping the entire technology under the “video player” umbrella. Flash does a lot more than just stream video, and nearly everyone who runs around screaming ” is a Flash killer” doesn’t even acknowledge that Flash is capable of more than playing kitten videos.

    Adobe has always been a proponent of the “right tool for the job” type of mentality. Just because some developers chose the wrong one, or developed poorly on top of Flash is no reason to marginalize the entire platform.

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    1. Yep

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    2. Flash does indeed do a lot more than stream video, and it does those other things just as poorly, IMO.

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    3. “This only applies to video streams.”

      The writer also acknowledged Adobe’s Flash/Flex to iOS App tool. While he didn’t mention the Flash to HTML5 tool Wallaby, anyone knowledgable about Flash and iOS knows about that tool, too.

      Adobe has long played on the ambiguity of what “Flash” means. Mostly, customers care about media. The don’t care about goofy apps that often get in the way of presenting data. If there are some really useful Flash apps, they should already be cross-compiled and available in the iOS App Store. As far as I can tell, there really has been no “gold rush” of Flash apps to the App Store. Flash has rarely if ever come up with something that hasn’t already been done a better way on iOS.

      Have you ever read Jobs’s “Thoughts on Flash” memo? The most important reason he cites for flushing Flash from iOS is that Flash cannot use the accessibility widgets that are provided with each platform. The iPhone/iPad browser can provide all sorts of adaptations to present HTML data, but it can do nothing with the opaque Flash data.

      Flash is a failure for accessibility. The only way we’re going to get a web that’s accessible for all is to flush Flash. If you read Jobs’s memo closely, you’ll see that.

      I applaud a company that saw the accessibility problem and took decisive action to address it. For the web, the “right tool for the job” is HTML/CSS/JavaScript and not Flash.

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      1. Top selling game on the iPad, at least at the moment, is Flash-based. Mechanarium. Most of the time, you just don’t know what it’s written in, and there’s no real advantage to the developers to point it out. But be careful what you assume.

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      2. @Bob,

        Be careful what you assume. If you think there has been some “gold rush” of Flash-based apps, you need to provide some hard evidence for that claim. There are all sorts of iOS APIs that are completely inaccessible to Flash developers. That’s what it means to be operating with a “lowest common denominator” architecture. That’s exactly what Jobs was talking about in his document — a lesson few people seem to have gotten.

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      3. @Bones,

        Zynga! 50 million daily users.

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      4. Hi, @Stan. I have no idea wat the number of users of Zynga games has to do with this discussion. I was asking why there hasn’t been a “gold rush” of Flash games submitted to the iOS app store.

        Where does your number come from? What does it include? Does it include the number of users playing Zynga on native iOS and Android games, or is it only game-players via Flash?

        What does any of it have to do with the question @Bob and I were discussing here?

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      5. @Bob.
        *Machinarium made it to number 1 not because it was originally written in Flash, but because it is a great game with stunning visuals. The fact that Machinarium requires an iPad2 for what is basically just sprite animation and beautiful backgrounds indicates how pathetic Adobe’s ActionScript>iOS App bridge is.

        Amanita Design are a great studio, but even they are having problems. Just visit their forums to understand the magnitude of the problems they’re having.

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      6. Flash is only a problem for accessibility in the hands of a poor developer. Seriously, this is just purely inaccurate. I don’t think Flash should be everywhere, at all. But I know that there are things that Flash can do that html cannot (I’m not talking about native applications here, because that’s not really what the article is getting at). DRM/Copy Protection being the most notable. The video tag is great for kitten videos, and videos of your best friend doing a keg stand, but until they can protect their content, no major content provider will implement their service in html5 video. They just won’t, no matter what you cry about accessibility.

        HTML5 video isn’t any more or less accessible by itself. Poor developers can create inaccessible code in any language.

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      7. Flash is only a problem for accessibility in the hands of a poor developer. Seriously, this is just purely inaccurate.”

        Seriously?

        Over the years, I’ve run hundreds if not thousands of Flash programs. I have yet to see a single one of them which has a competent implementation of accessibility.

        Can you name any Flash pages that have a competent implementation of accessibility?

        You continue, “HTML5 video isn’t any more or less accessible by itself. ”

        Really? Have you ever run the accessibility widgets on an iOS device or on Mac OS X? Accessibility works on every HTML webpage.

        Many of the Flash-advocates have absolutely no idea how accessibility works in normal HTML web browsing. With all due respect, you seem to be in that group.

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      8. @Bones

        I’ll just say this one more time, because you keep missing it. If the developer properly implements a graceful degradation (or, alternatively, a progressive enhancement) process based on the browser’s limitations, there is no issue. Just because Flash has made it easy for thousands of crappy devs to output bad code doesn’t mean it’s the platform. Front Page outputs largely unusable code too. No one rails against html there. It’s the developer that’s the problem, not the platform.

        I’m with you on most of your points, with regards to Flash not being appropriate for everything, but there still currently exist no alternatives for certain needed implementations (interactive video, high end data visualization). Believe it or not, there are some situations where the presentation of the data is more important for the audience than the raw data itself.

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      9. “I’ll just say this one more time, because you keep missing it. If the developer properly implements a graceful degradation (or, alternatively, a progressive enhancement) process based on the browser’s limitations, there is no issue.”

        Nope. Sorry. That’s just wrong. The accessibility aids built into OS’s like OS X are unavailable to Flash code. There is no way for the Flash code to access them. This is not a case of “graceful degradation”; it is a case of FAIL. If you’re running Flash, you cannot access the browser’s accessibility aids. Flash and accessibility are mutually incompatible.

        Please please please pull down the iPad or Mac OS X manual and read the chapter on accessibility. Then realize that all of the text adapters cannot be used by Flash.

        Your earlier claim that “Flash is only a problem for accessibility in the hands of a poor developer.” is just plain wrong. NO Flash developer can code for accessibility. To coin a phrase, they don’t have access to the APIs. This is what Jobs noted as the most important reason why Apple decided to make iOS devices Flash-free.

        If there is a specialty purpose, then a specialty app can be made for the purpose. The three you named in another message — Netflix, HBO, and Hulu — ALL have apps for them. Major vendors found Flash-free solutions for iOS years ago.

        You owe the group an apology for your colossal misunderstanding on this topic.

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    4. Digital Heights Friday, September 9, 2011

      Well said

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    5. Right on Quentin…people who are obsessed with Apple taking over the world are the ones who just don’t get it….also not sure what Apple has WON here…

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      1. Open communication standards are taking over the world. The fact that Apple are championing these standards is what people are getting exited about.

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      2. Hamranhansenhansen Sunday, September 11, 2011

        Apple won a World Wide Web that is hardware-agnostic and platform-agnostic. That means no hardware or platform vendor such as Microsoft or Google or Adobe can use the Web anticompetitively against Apple. The ability to improve the Web experience on Apple devices is totally in the hands of Apple, therefore they can continue to have the best Web experience and nobody can say you have to get a Windows PC to see the Web, don’t get an Apple device.

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    6. Hamranhansenhansen Sunday, September 11, 2011

      > You are doing a disservice to your users by lumping
      > the entire technology under the “video player”
      > umbrella. Flash does a lot more than just stream video,

      I understand what you’re saying because I’m a Flash developer since 1997. But you are more wrong than right.

      Note that about 99% of FlashPlayer use is to create an MPEG video player. That is FlashPlayer’s major function. When FlashPlayer got video, it stopped being just another browser plug-in and became Windows XP’s MPEG video player, because Windows XP previously did not have one, and it was the only device that you could say that about.

      The animation and vector graphics uses of FlashPlayer that it had for years before video are hardly used by comparison to video, and they are even more obsolete than using FlashPlayer as a video player. For the past 2-3 years, my only Flash animation work has been to port existing content from FlashPlayer to HTML5. It is not that hard in most cases and the results are so much better.

      There are a small number of Flash apps that can’t yet be ported to HTML5, but that is only a very small number, and those developers have many choices of platform to go to: iOS, Windows, Mac, Android, etc.

      The thing is, we have to remember to celebrate the death of FlashPlayer. In the late 1990’s, we thought FlashPlayer would be obsolete once HTML4 came in, and we looked forward to it very much because the plug-in is a huge hassle. Running the work in the browser makes the work MUCH more valuable. It was very disappointing to see W3C ignore audio video and animations in HTML4. So we have been waiting a long time for the kind of rich Web app development that has traditionally been done in Flash to go MAINSTREAM. Now that time is here. That is why more sites use jQuery than Flash these days. In many cases, those are former FlashPlayer developers, because we are the ones who know about animation and audio video and scripting interactivity and so on. The scripting in Flash is just JavaScript … in many cases you can reuse huge amounts of code, and you can reuse all your media.

      So what we have is Flash development being LIBERATED from the plug-in. Not just to get rid of the problems of the plug-in, but to have the animations and so on be a part of the same DOM that the rest of the page elements are part of, so you are programming in only one environment, where everything can talk to every other thing, and where you can debug just that one environment.

      This also makes the cost of high-interactivity Web app development tools go from US$499 per seat to $0 per seat, because standard Web development tools are free, unlike the Flash authoring tool. Standard Web development tools also run on all platforms, whereas the Flash authoring tool is Mac and Windows.

      So HTML5 is a golden age for anyone who ever did any Flash development, or anyone who ever enjoyed any Flash apps. All that stuff is being ported into the browser as universally-readable, backwards-compatible HTML5 code. In a few years, the native HTML5 Web will be much richer than HTML4+Flash ever was. Every site will be “flashy” so to speak. Animations are mainstream now, not an optional thing for nerds or for only on some platforms.

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    7. Hamranhansenhansen Sunday, September 11, 2011

      Nobody has to marginalize Flash. It has been obsolete for years. It is already marginalized. I’m a Flash developer and all I have done with Flash for 2-3 years is port it to HTML5. Most recent innovations in Flash: browser extensions that block it or replace it with HTML video; meters that show you how much CPU Flash is using; tools to kill a Flash movie that is out of control; Macs that ship without it; browsers that are redesigned to be able to survive a Flash crash intact, websites that detect iPads and serve standard video instead. That is not a healthy, vibrant platform.

      Video is really all Flash is used for. 99% of Flash use is video players. The other uses are even more obsolete and irrelevant and are totally non-controversial. It is only the sabotaging of open standard video by Adobe that was the issue.

      In Consumer Electronics and most especially in music and movie production, the most important rule is don’t F with the consumer playback standard. That is because over the past 100 years, whenever somebody has F’ed with the consumer playback standard, consumers simply stop buying all media. There have been sales crashes of 10 years, 20 years, because some joker like Microsoft wanted to introduce something foolish like an HD-DVD. All HD-DVD did was carry the same MPEG4 movie from a Blu-Ray to the user in a nonstandard, proprietary way, so that Microsoft could attempt to get a vendor lock-in on HD optical disc sales and player licensing. Blu-Ray is “owned” by a consortium of player manufacturers, so that they can all make video players that play all the same content, because that is what users require. See DVD, CD.

      > Adobe has always been a proponent of the “right tool for the job” type of mentality.

      No, that is not true. Adobe has always been a proponent of the “Adobe tool for the job” type of mentality.

      The right tool for making Web apps is HTML5. The right tool for publishing consumer video is MPEG4. Neither of those assertions is in any way controversial. It is exactly the same as someone in 2002 saying the right tool for publishing consumer video is MPEG2 (DVD Player), or someone in 1992 saying the right tool for making Web apps is HTML1.

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  3. Well, not really. Apple looses, because now it just became easier for developers to deliver cross platform applications, which was, as we all know, the real reason for Apples problem with Flash. And still, the most interesting interactive multi-media content is not available to a large number of Apple users. So… the Apple users loose too.

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    1. Cross platform “applications”? Where does it mention anything to do with applications? This is just a video stream, probably demanded by the content producers.

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    2. I agree with @PXLated. I don’t quite follow your chain of reasoning. This article was about an Adobe media platform.

      The article briefly mention in passing the Flash/Flex packager that can be used to deliver an iOS app to the app store. That was released about 3 months ago, and there are Flash-based apps in the iOS App Store. Apple has no “problem” with Flash; these Flash-based apps have been competing against apps created with native Xcode apps in the App Store.

      As far as I can tell, results to Flash apps so far have been underwhelming. The Flash-based app politifact briefly made it as the #1 app in the news area (and briefly into the top-200 paid apps overall), but has since faded to the #3 app in news (one of the less-popular areas) and out of the overall category. That’s the best performance I know by any app.

      Apple’s problem with Flash has to do with accessibility. Please go read Jobs’s “Thoughts on Flash”. Content delivered through a Flash app is opaque; the accessibility aids cannot work on Flash apps. Users who need those accessibility adapters to view the web are “shut out” from Flash content.

      How do we get to a web where every page is accessible to everyone? The only solution I see is to flush Flash from the web. If you see some other approach, please tell us.

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    3. You’re a LOSER because you don’t know how to spell LOSE. You’re handle on spelling in the English language is LOOSE at best.

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      1. Lol, it’s “your handle” not “you’re handle”. Guess you just got your premium membership to the LOSER circle.

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      2. You want to lecture on English? By writing “You’re handle” instead of “Your handle”?? Laughable.

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      3. “YOUR” handle. Don’t throw stones in a glass house ;-)

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      4. nob

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    4. Hamranhansenhansen Sunday, September 11, 2011

      No, that is not true.

      FlashPlayer is not the best solution for cross-platform apps to compete with iOS App Store apps. The best solution for that is HTML5, which already enjoy 99% deployment on smartphones and tablets (the other 1% is Microsoft devices.)

      The company that is most responsible for the wide deployment of HTML5, especially on mobiles, is Apple. They are the maker of the only HTML5 browser that runs on ARM, and they give it away free to all other software developers in the world, so it is also running on all of the devices that compete with Apple.

      So Apple could not have been trying to prevent cross-platform mobile applications from becoming possible because they already are possible, they have been possible since 2007, one year before App Store even launched, and it is Apple who made them possible.

      App Store is actually a latecomer competitor to HTML5. App Store is the ALTERNATIVE application platform on iOS devices. The user is actually more likely to run the browser than the App Store app, and the browser works for everyone; the App Store app requires you to create an Apple login. Apple has made it easy to install any Web app you run in Safari as a local app onto iOS, from any server in the world, so it appears in your app launcher right alongside your built-in apps and any App Store apps you had. This is so easy that users often don’t realize that is what they did. And no other platform even offers that yet except Chrome OS, which only offers that, it has no native apps. Web apps are equal citizens with native apps on iOS only. (On Mac OS X, there is a script you can run to do the same thing, but it is not as obvious and most users won’t do it.)

      So your conspiracy theory is not only wrong, it’s hilarious on its face. App Store does not need to hit the Web in the knees with a pipe in order to win the skating competition. App Store is a great skater and is happy to compete fairly and wins every match anyway. Why on earth would Apple hatch some grand anti-competitive plan when they are winning the competitions?

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  4. “Basically, Adobe is acknowledging Apple has won when it comes to Flash.”

    In that case, please feel free to quote me:
    “Basically, Darrell Etherington has demonstrated he knows nothing about web technology.”

    Maybe my quote is sensationalist, inaccurately broad, but that’s fine because so is yours.

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    1. Strike 1 was when the John Nack, the Principal Marketing Manager at Adobe, tells users to start converting Flash sites to HTML5 ( http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2010/10/adobe-demos-flash-to-html5-conversion-tool.html ). As John said there, “Adobe lives or dies by its ability to help customers solve real problems. That means putting pragmatism ahead of ideology.”

      Strike 2 was the release of Wallaby, a cross-compiling tool to create iOS apps from Flash/Flex/Air source. If there are any “mission critical” apps that must be run on iOS, then they can be packaged this way. The response to this tool appears to be underwhelming. If there are actually “mission critical” Flash apps that everyone needs, the marketplace will sort that out.

      Strike 3 was the updates to Adobe Media Server to allow it to stream data without going through Flash.

      Apple has won. They will never allow Flash code to be run in a web browser on iOS devices. Smart websites will take John Nack’s advice and deliver all website content with HTML5/CSS/Javascript and get rid of their Flash code.

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  5. Do you think Apple is going to let Adobe get away with this. How long you think before Apple pulls some legal clause and nips this in the bud? (like they did for the whole compile AIR to Objective-C idea from Adobe, granted they had to redact that one, but doesn’t mean they can’t try it again with this)

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    1. This is no big deal – It’s just a video stream. It’s not all of Flash. Apple could probably care less. YouTube does h.264, Adobe now includes Apple tech to stream.

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    2. It’s called antitrust. You can’t block developers from converting code from one platform to another. That is anti competitive.

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    3. Uhm, what? This technology means iOS users will get to see the video streams because they will now be served as HTML 5 video instead of Flash. Until now, they wouldn’t be able to see the videos because they were Flash only. This is A Good Thing ™ for iOS users and exactly what Apple wants. HTML video for its users.

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    4. Hamranhansenhansen Sunday, September 11, 2011

      You have it so backwards.

      The delivery method to get video to stream onto an iOS device is the STANDARD, OPEN METHOD, that anyone can use for free. It is so easy to do, a junior Web developer who knows nothing about video can publish a video stream that way in a half hour with no special tools and no special server. It’s a Web development -centric way to publish video.

      The method to stream video into a FlashPlayer instance requires a developer who makes 5-10 times more money, $5000 worth of tools that you can only get from Adobe, much, much more development time, and requires the client device to have more Adobe software, which requires up to 50 software updates per year, and which only runs acceptably on some Windows systems, runs poorly on the Mac, barely runs on a handful of mobiles, and doesn’t run at all on the vast majority of mobiles (not just iOS.) The Adobe method also wraps an ISO standard, universally playable video file inside a FlashPlayer player, making in unplayable on any device that does not have FlashPlayer. That is like wrapping a JPEG in a PDF so it shows in Acrobat instead of the Web browser. It is user-hostile and proprietary and against every principle of the architecture of the World Wide Web.

      You may think of Apple as “closed” but Apple is bigger than that. They are both open and closed. They are both Web and native. They sell hardware. They want to sell hardware to users who want open apps (HTML5) and users who want closed, or managed apps (App Store or Mac App Store). They want to sell hardware to users who want Web apps, and users who want native apps. They want to sell devices to users who want to live in the lush Mac GUI and users who want to live in the stark Mac Unix command line. They sell to Mac OS X users and to Windows users and to Linux users.

      That is why so many characterizations of Apple are so wrong. They try to figure out which side Apple is on, when Apple is on both sides on so many things. You can download music from Apple to your iPhone, but you can also sideload music from any source, same with books and movies. Where they are opinionated is on how to design and build the best computer product. On that, you are free to either agree with them (buy an Apple product) or disagree with them (do not buy an Apple product.) It could not be any less controversial.

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  6. Hey guys get over it, Apple won. Adobe knows that if it wants to remain relevant in the mobile arena, they have to accommodate iPad, ah duhh, it’s the best selling tablet computer ever and it’s going to stay like that for years to come, just like apple dominated the iPod market. Apple didn’t use Flash because its’s a battery drain, pure and simple no conspiracy or CIA drama. stop being haters guys, Adobe has seen the light and now it’s gonna make some bling, too bad they let their egos get the best of them earlier.

    peace!

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    1. Exactly!

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    2. Ah young grasshopper so much to learn. Apple didn’t win but in this case the belief seems to be since apple didn’t lose they won. Certain people on both sides of this let their ego’s get in the way but adobe was hardly totally at fault. Also yes Iphones and Ipads are the single best seller currently of mobile devices because they come from ONE manufacturer. If you were to lump ALL the Android devices together they would have the largest market share and they run flash just fine. This is certainly a good thing for apple USERS but I really don’t think that this counts as a win or a loss for either side.

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      1. Hamranhansenhansen Sunday, September 11, 2011

        Android phones don’t run Flash fine. Most do not run it at all. None have it preinstalled. None have a final version, they are all betas. You believed some PR.

        If anyone was able to lump all Android devices together into one platform, Google would be really happy. That cannot be done. They are not one platform. They do not all run the same apps. The majority of Android devices have zero Google involvement and cannot even be identified as Android if you don’t read the specs.

        Understand that Android is not even the most popular mobile open source project. That is Apple WebKit. If we lump all devices together that run WebKit, that would actually make some sense because they do all run the same HTML5 apps. And as I said, that is a much bigger number of devices than Android, well over double. It could be as much as 10 times bigger.

        Yes, it is a win for Apple, because as a hardware vendor and platform vendor, it is good when the Web is hardware-agnostic and platform-agnostic. That means fair competition between hardware and platform vendors. When their is fair competition, Apple always does well, because they are a competitive company. They’re good at what they do. The thing that has hurt them before is anti-competitive behavior. For example, Web apps being written to run only in IE6, which runs only on Windows. Or video published to run only in Adobe Flash, which has only ever run acceptably well on Windows. Between 2005-2007, Adobe had one part-time engineer working on Flash for Mac. Bless his heart, but he was not able to make it not totally suck. It crashed, it failed, it ran the CPU painfully hot, it was insecure. It caused the majority of lifetime browser crashes on Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Mac OS X Leopard. One year, it was responsible for the majority of critical security bugs in Mac OS X, solely because it was included with a Mac OS X install. Apple could not fix those bugs in Adobe software and Adobe wouldn’t do it.

        Also, users win. Not just Apple users, but all users. Everybody wins with an open Web. For example, it will be possible for users to run Windows 8 tablets without FlashPlayer, which would destroy the battery life. All that would have to happen is Microsoft would have to tell Adobe “we’re not putting FlashPlayer on Windows 8 tablets” and Adobe will update their server so that it serves the ISO standard stream not just to Apple tablets but also to Microsoft tablets.

        Further, when the new wave of ARM-based notebooks arrive, which are much smaller and lighter and cheaper and have much better battery life than Intel systems, they won’t have to run FlashPlayer to surf the Web. This is key, because these ARM notebooks were supposed to ship in 2008, but Adobe was unable to complete the FlashPlayer for them in time, and ARM had to shelve the project. That extended Intel’s monopoly in PC processors and caused users to have to continue to buy Intel systems with 2x size, 2x weight, half the battery life, and more cost.

        So a big win for everybody other than Adobe.

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    3. Flash works great on the iPad, just not through the browser, because Apple blocks it from Safari mobile. Right now the top selling iPad game in the US, is Machinarium which is all done in Flash. It’s uses Adobe AIR to compile down to an iOS native file. There’s a number of other apps and games that have done quite well (some that Apple themselves feature in iTunes) using Flash.

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      1. @matthew, the App Store is the right place for Flash. Since Flash fails with accessibility (see arguments in other messages in this comment chain), the web is the wrong place for Flash. Websites should be a place where all users — regardless of their ability — can transparently access all data.

        Apple has sorted out all of the technical details so that Flash apps can run safely as standalone apps. Users should be happy because they can fire up the Flash apps without having to load them (no latency and no bandwidth consumed). Adobe is happy because they have new tools to sell their customers. Flash developers are happy because they now have access to a marketplace of a quarter-billion (and growing) iOS devices. Apple is happy because they get their 30% cut on all paid apps. And fans of accessibility are happy because machines that both have Flash and keep the web-browsing experience Flash-free.

        It’s a quintuple win!

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      2. Flash doesn’t fail with accessibility… That’s an inaccurate statement. Do some research.

        While I agree that Flash is NOT used well in MOST cases of use, I do not agree that the only way forward is to purge the world of Flash. Nor do I believe that Apple has “won”. This is an evolution of services by one company. Perhaps it has been influenced by the behavior of another, but it’s simply a natural evolution. Flash is the wrong tool for so many functions. That doesn’t make it the wrong tool for all of them.

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      3. @Sphen says, “Flash doesn’t fail with accessibility… That’s an inaccurate statement. Do some research.”

        I have researched it extensively. You can see it for yourself. Please download the latest iPad manual from http://support.apple.com/manuals/ and read through the chapter on accessibility. If Flash were supported on the iPad, the text related adapters could not work because the iPad can’t recognize text in a Flash program as text.

        Those who need the accessibility adapters are “shut out” from Flash code.

        Simply saying “do some research” doesn’t cut it. Present your reasoning. If you see some flaw in my reasoning, please enlighten us.

        I don’t think that Flash needs to be purged from the world. I do think that Flash should be purged from the web. The post-PC App Store paradigm (which is available on iOS, Android, RIM, WebOS, Mac OS, etc.) is the right place to distribute Flash apps. The web should be reserved for data that can be transparently accessible by all — regardless of their ability.

        As you note, Flash is the wrong tool for so many functions. You also think it might be the right tool for some of them. Those two statements point to an obvious truth: different people think that different kinds of Flash apps are valuable (and some probably think that no Flash apps are worth the trouble).

        The beauty of serving up Flash through App Stores is that individual customers can decide for themselves what Flash apps are gold and which are … something less than gold. Developers also have a similar choice: they can use one of the platform-independent environments to deliver apps to all the App Stores from a common source, or they can custom-craft their code for a particular kind of computer. It’s their choice, and the market can sort out which of these approaches is the winner.

        App stores also provide some protection from deliberately-crafted malware. Stores can screen the apps and rapidly pull apps that end up behaving badly.

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      4. @matt
        Amanita Design make great content, but the fact that the relatively simple Machinarium *requires* an iPad2 highlights that Adobe still have a lot of work to get ActionScript as a viable alternative to Native Code.

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      5. Hamranhansenhansen Sunday, September 11, 2011

        > @matthew, the App Store is the right place
        > for Flash. Since Flash fails with accessibility
        > (see arguments in other messages in this
        > comment chain), the web is the wrong place for Flash.

        What you missed is that iOS is the single most accessible platform on the planet. It is the only one designed from the ground up for accessibility. There are many, many blind iPhone and iPad users, for example.

        So there is no excuse at all for an inaccessible iOS app. “I wanted to use Flash” is not an excuse. What you are doing is sabotaging the only safe place that people who require accessibility features have.

        The truth is, Flash is simply not necessary. You won’t find a home for it. We don’t need a tool that enables you to author in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PNG, SVG, and MPEG-4 but then wraps those universally-playable vendor-neutral formats inside a Flash app that can only be played with Adobe software on specific platforms, with additional I-T burden to the client. Those formats play in the browser, using open API’s.

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    4. FasterThanTheWorld Friday, September 9, 2011

      I use flash to display video on my television via my Android tablet quite frequently. An hour-long show usually drains my battery about 12%.. just a few % more than doing non-Flash things.

      And of course, it’s always MY CHOICE when i want to view flash content. Why are iOS users so comfortable with Steve Jobs dictating how they can spend their battery cycles?

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      1. @Faster: when I want to view content, I want to do it in the simplest manner possible. If streaming content is available through both standard protocols and proprietary Flash wrappers, I will choose the standard streaming protocols every single time. In other words, common sense is dictating how I view streaming content — not any company.

        There’s a far better question here: why is the new Adobe Streaming Server not allowing users on ALL platforms to have a choice to get the streaming data through standard protocols? Why are THEY trying to dictate to users on other platforms that they must use Flash to view the streaming content? Why isn’t there a simple way for users to specify a token: HELL-NO-THAT-FLASH-WRAPPER-HAS-GOTTA-GO (!)

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      2. Hamranhansenhansen Sunday, September 11, 2011

        It would be easy for Adobe’s server to simply detect FlashPlayer on the client, and if it is there, send Flash, and if it is not, send HTML5. The video is the same ISO MPEG4 in either case.

        But Flash is a vendor lock-in play. So of course they are going to show the user “Get Flash” if they don’t have Flash.

        However, other hardware manufacturers now know they can leave out Flash and get their device on Adobe’s no-Flash list on their server, or they can identify their devices to the Internet as being the iPad browser and Adobe will send standard video.

        I would not be surprised if Microsoft does not include FlashPlayer in Windows 8. In fact, I would be surprised if they did include it. More likely, they will ask Adobe to detect Windows 8 tablets and feed HTML5 also.

        > And of course, it’s always MY CHOICE when
        > i want to view flash content. Why are iOS
        > users so comfortable with Steve Jobs
        > dictating how they can spend their battery
        > cycles?

        1) Because that is exactly what iOS users have paid Apple to do, so that iOS users don’t have to think about useless stupid sh t like spending battery cycles. I write songs. I think about songwriting. Apple thinks about battery cycles and open video formats. And iOS users are like 95% “very satisfied.”

        2) What possible reason would the user have to want to spend double the CPU cycles running a FlashPlayer software video player in order to play THE EXACT SAME VIDEO FILE that already plays natively IN HARDWARE on their device? Why would they want to see Flash hiccup and choke and skip frames and crash as it plays that file, when the HARDWARE OF THEIR DEVICE can play that file smoothly, in the highest-quality, with the absolute minimum battery impact.

        3) What you are suggesting is that it is advantageous to a consumer to have 2 different kinds of video players that both play the exact same kind of video file. It is not. HD-DVD and Blu-Ray both play the same exact video file, but having both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray was not better than just Blu-Ray. Consumers had to buy both in order to have the freedom to choose content from any source and have it be playable for them. That is the purpose of the ISO consumer audio video standards: to enable the user to choose a video playback device from any manufacturer and choose content from any publisher and it all works. CD, DVD, iPod, today’s Blu-Ray, and HTML5 all work like that.

        4) The individual iOS user does not have the power to unwrap an ISO standard video from its proprietary Flash wrapper that prevents them from playing it. We have no power to prevent Adobe from continuing to sabotage open video in this way. Apple actually has have the power to do those things and re-enable consumer choice, as we see from this article.

        5) Apple knows more about PC’s than anyone else; Apple knows more about video than anyone else. They are the leading provider of both pro and consumer video editing tools, they are the creator of QuickTime, which is to video what Unix is to the Internet, they created the ISO MPEG4 file format, are the leading online retailer of digital media, and Steve Jobs is an Oscar-winning former head of a major movie studio and the biggest Shareholder in Disney. They know WTF they are doing here.

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  7. This is not talking about normal videos playing inside Flash that we all see everywhere, and Apple users want to see, this is specific to something done a few months back.

    Those hosting and streaming video via FMS, like a live video feed, or live porn, stuff like that, can now show that content on ios. None of the youtube videos, or videos on websites are going to work.

    Oh, and to the “Apple has won” comment, this is a very very very small niche aspect of the Flash Enviroment, technically it isn’t even Flash or even has to do with Flash, it has to do with Adobe’s FMS, which just happens to have Flash in the name.

    And anything Adobe, getting “back” on Apple devices is a “WIN!” for Adobe, not Apple.

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    1. Hamranhansenhansen Sunday, September 11, 2011

      > This is not talking about normal videos playing
      > inside Flash that we all see everywhere

      It is if they are being streamed by Flash Media Server.

      > None of the youtube videos, or videos on
      > websites are going to work.

      Again, they will if they are streamed by Flash Media Server.

      The server is just doing HTTP streaming. That means it is taking a bite of an MPEG video and sending only that bite over the wire, then repeat. If the server can send a bite that was captured a few minutes ago, it can send a bite that was captured last month.

      But anyway, YouTube has played on iOS since 2007. About 75% of the video on websites already plays on iPad via HTML5. Flash Media Server adopting HTTP streaming is not the beginning of the end, it is the end of the end. The vast majority of the Web is already doing HTML5 video, but they are only showing it to iPads as yet, so it is not obvious except to iPad users.

      That is why PC users will say “of course you need Flash, iPad must suck without it,” because they are seeing FlashPlayer load up on every other page they surf and they think iPads are seeing a blank spot. We are not. I can go days without running into a video I can’t play on my iPad, and it is almost always somewhere else that I can play it anyway. Like I go to YouTube and the video is there also and I play it.

      There are also iPad apps that play Flash content, like Skyfire. A server reads the Flash video and sends HTML5 to the iPad.

      So Flash Media Server, again, is like the final straw. The end of this stupid activity from Adobe.

      > Oh, and to the “Apple has won” comment, this is a
      > very very very small niche aspect of the Flash Enviroment,

      No, that is incorrect. Video playback is 99% of the use of Flash, and the only controversial use of Flash, because Adobe was sabotaging the universal video standard, wrapping ISO MPEG in proprietary Flash.

      The other uses for Flash are rarely used and even more obsolete. Totally irrelevant.

      > And anything Adobe, getting “back” on Apple
      > devices is a “WIN!” for Adobe, not Apple.

      No, Adobe is not back on Apple devices. What Adobe just did makes it finally 100% unnecessary for them ever to get back on Apple devices. They have been trying to extort Apple into using their client software, but now they have admitted defeat.

      Adobe’s position was that iOS devices “needed” FlashPlayer installed on them to play video. Apple said publishers can use the standard video player built into all devices (not just Apple devices). That is what Adobe is now doing, so they are proving their is no need for FlashPlayer anymore. Hence, we judge they lost the argument. All that is getting on Apple devices from this server is ISO MPEG-4 HTTP streams, exactly what Apple recommends you do for their devices and all standardized devices.

      If Apple had announced today that iOS v5 will include Adobe FlashPlayer, that would have been the exact opposite, that would have been Adobe winning.

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  8. Oh dear. Such wankery from some people here.

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  9. Darrell, have you come up with a good name yet for the day (about a year ago) when Apple started allowing Flash applications in the app store?

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    1. The day hell froze over? Flying pigs-day?

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  10. Call me a fanboy, but when Apple wins, the entire industry wins. Remember when a GUI was a toy and a mouse was a joke. “Real” computing had to be done on a DOS machine. Windows comes alone and everyone wins. Remember when Intel came up with USB and failed to convince any other computer maker to put it on their machine? The first iMac came out with no SCSI or parallel ports, just a USB port. Never mind that no USB peripherals existed yet. Still the entire industry wins. iPhone with no physical keyboard… need I say more? Let’s face it, Adobe was riding flash like Microsoft had been riding windows through the ’90’s. Apple forces Adobe to improve and they have. The entire industry wins, but mostly Adobe wins.

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