Apple iOS is one of the most popular platforms worldwide, powering the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices that have taken the technology world by storm and brought touch devices to the mainstream. It utilises the latest technologies but does not support the popular Adobe Flash platform. This makes perfect sense though when you bring HTML5 into play.
The popularity of Flash is obvious from the following statistics produced by Adobe:
- 98% of enterprises rely on Flash Player.
- 85% of the most used sites use Flash.
- 75% of web video is viewed using Flash Player.
- 70% of web games are made in Flash.
In 2010, Steve Jobs had the courage to question the applicability of the Flash technology going forward. Jobs made waves and enemies when he banned Flash from use on all iOS devices. iOS is the operating system from Apple. Jobs was almost unanimously criticized by the industry.
There are a few key reasons for this risky move:
- Reliability – Steve Jobs said “We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash. We have been working with Adobe to fix these problems, but they have persisted for several years now. We don’t want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash.”
- Security – Flash has one of the worst security records and is vulnerable to attacks.
- Battery Life - To achieve long battery life when playing video, mobile devices must decode the video in hardware; decoding it in software uses too much power. Many of the chips used in modern mobile devices contain a decoder called H.264 – an industry standard that is used in every Blu-ray DVD player and has been adopted by Apple, Google (YouTube), Vimeo, Netflix and many other companies. The difference is striking: on an iPhone, for example, H.264 videos play for up to 10 hours, while videos decoded in software play for less than 5 hours before the battery is fully drained.
So, in conclusion, Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.