Steve Jobs has been bad-mouthing Adobe’s Flash once again, according to a recent Business Insider report. The Apple head honcho recently visited the Wall Street Journal to demonstrate the iPad. During his stay he allegedly criticized Adobe’s Flash technology, with the intent to move the popular broadsheet newspaper away from using the web display technology.
The report details that Apple’s CEO attempted to convince the Journal by downplaying Flash, describing it as a “CPU hog” that has “security holes.” He then added that Apple does not “spend a lot of energy on old technology” comparing Flash to other dead technologies, including Floppies, Firewire and even the humble CD. This continued dislike for Flash comes after Jobs downplayed Adobe’s technology at a town hall meeting with Apple employees earlier this month.
But could the typically forward-thinking Steve Jobs, and in turn Apple, be acting too quickly in disregarding Flash? It’s commonly accepted that Adobe’s Flash does not run as effectively on Mac platforms as it does on Windows, with Adobe’s CTO Kevin Lynch even accepting that there are some problems. However, due to Flash’s widespread adoption, it seems that labeling it as a dead technology now is a premature move.
The iPad’s widely reported lack of Flash means you can’t watch your favorite shows on Hulu, crop your corn on FarmVille or watch the latest video on the New York Times. Of course these are just a few examples of what a future without Flash would be like. But with hundreds of thousands of web sites playing host to flash content, it could be years before Apple’s desire becomes reality and a move away from the format is seen. So what alternatives could Apple be hoping to replace Adobe’s prevalent plugin with?
HTML5 is the immediately obvious choice for replacing Flash, with Apple itself already using it. But as TheNextWeb points out, the technology is not quite ready yet, with a number of issues holding it back. Currently only a few browsers support it, and full integration is not in sight. Feedback from early experiments have also not been overly positive, with users of YouTube’s HTML5 demo claiming it to be unsatisfactory and slow.
Beyond HTML5, Apple is also known for its love affair with the H.264 video standard. The video compression format is what makes YouTube work on your iPhone, and is also integrated into QuickTime. However due to hefty licensing rules imposed by MPEG-LA, the standard is not going to become mainstream anytime soon.
So, with other standards not quite ready to step up to the mark and Flash not disappearing anytime soon, it seems that Jobs’ campaign of hate will have to remain just that, purely vocal. It seems that iPhone and future iPad users will just have to get used to those blue Lego bricks.