iPad review Pt.1: Flash rant
I have held off reviewing the iPad until I had time to get used to it. Recent events, though, spurred me to start my review by ranting about a limitation of the device – incompatibility with Flash. I have alluded to this before, but this time it’s “official.” Almost daily I visit a website where access to content is crippled because the iPad can’t display Flash.
[Note: beginning with part 2 of the review I will have nice things to say about the iPad, so stay tuned]
Last Thursday Apple posted an HTML5 demo gallery as a way to boost its position that Flash is unnecessary on the iPad because HTML5 is the wave of the future. To view the demos you need Safari. I don’t have to install a third party add-on, but I am required to use Apple’s browser.
I visited the page, followed the “Learn more” link, and was taken to a “Safari Technology Demos” page. The demos are cool, no doubt, and very nicely presented. However, everything was branded Safari, not standard (if there were such a thing) HTML5. This is pretty disingenuous after all of Steve Jobs’ talk about open standards.
The newest TV commercial for the iPad (below) claims that it puts “all the world’s websites in your hands.” Adobe claims that 85% of the top 100 websites and 75% of videos on the Web use Flash. There’s nothing to keep an iPad from visiting a Flash-based website; it just can’t view the content once it gets there
I don’t think Flash is the be-all and end-all, but it is a widely established tool whose continued existence should not be subject to the dubious dictates of Mr. Jobs. I have been a die-hard Apple user for nearly thirty years and I have never been as disappointed with them as I am over this. Heavy-handedness does not become them.
I look forward to the availability of Flash on products that compete with Apple in the mobile device market. So far this year, sales of iPhone OS devices are running in third place behind Blackberry and Android. Flash does run on Android’s new OS 2.2 and will work with Blackberry 6 OS (due in the second half of 2010).
More: What is HTML5? (previous post on this blog)