Friday, March 19, 2010

HARDWARE: One LESS Thing Against the iPad

When the iPad was announced (officially), I was mostly not interested. Part of the issues I had with the device was its lack of support for Adobe Flash. In fact, if I remember correctly, in the list of things I didn't like about the iPad, Flash was mentioned multiple times. I thought it was important, if only for YouTube's sake.

Turns out, I was wrong. YouTube and HTML5 will make Flash a non-issue. In fact, if it helps make Adobe a non-issue, given my dislike for the company in general, that will be a good idea. But where I was really wrong was the technical reason Steve Jobs had for banishing Flash from all iDevices for all time. It just WON'T WORK ON THEM. Ever.

What convinced me of that was a link in Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary pointing to THIS entry from Daniel Dilger, who does a blog called RoughlyDrafted Magazine. Boiling down the issue, it's because Flash is very mouse-specific, very single-pointer location specific. Given the multi-touch interface on the Apple hardware, Flash would go ballistic. Even if Flash can be updated/changed to accommodate multi-touch, the fact is that it has always been a solution that barely worked and had no opposition. It's resource-consuming (read battery draining) and buggy. But we've all put up with it because it was, more or less, the only choice we had.

Now, HTML5 is coming onto the scene. It's not controlled (read patented) by one company and Jobs likes that, probably more than any other 'feature' of the would-be Flash killer. YouTube, Hulu and the ilk will be offering HTML5 alongside Flash well before iPad v2.0 comes out.

The real question is, will there even be a Flash to worry about by iPad v3.0?

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