The upcoming iPad may not have Flash, but that’s not stopping Apple (s AAPL) from pitching it as the ideal device for personal video viewing. In its guided tour of the iPad, Apple touts the benefits of watching iTunes and YouTube video from the device, which will go on sale this Saturday.
“There’s nothing like watching video on iPad,” Apple states in the ‘Video’ section of the tour. “The high-resolution display brings your favorite HD movies and TV shows to live like no device has before. When you hold it in your hands, it feels like your own personal big screen.”
In addition to the device’s form factor and display, which Apple says “looks great from just about any angle,” the company also touts the device’s ability to deliver video for up to 10 hours without recharging. That will be a boon for travelers and other viewers who enjoy consuming media for long stretches of time, and could change the way many users consume video, leading them to eschew larger, heavier laptops as their default portable media viewing devices.
In the ‘Safari’ section of the tour, Apple says iPad users “can even watch video” directly within the web browser, but that is a bit misleading. Because the iPad doesn’t have Adobe (s ADBE) Flash support, videos will only be available from publishers that have already enabled them to be viewed using HTML5. And while multiple technology providers, such as Brightcove, Ooyala, thePlatform (s CMCSA) and Delve Networks are working to make publishing on the device as simple as possible, it’s unclear how many web video sites will be ready for the iPad launch.
That said, for now Apple is positioning the iPad as a device built primarily for viewing videos from iTunes and YouTube. Without being able to talk about other publishers who will be producing video apps for the device or optimizing their web sites to deliver H.264-encoded HTML5 video, the company is forced to talk mostly about the native capabilities of the device. In fact, the guided tours give little time to video consumed as a web or application viewing activity. The ‘Video’ section of the tour, for instance, only highlights features available for iPad users watching movies, TV shows, music videos and podcasts purchased and downloaded from the iTunes store.
We expect that to change — and quickly — as publishers rush to embrace the new device for video distribution. In fact, we believe that the iPad could bring about quick adoption as HTML5 as a new distribution mechanism for online video.
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