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Don’t Get Your Hopes Up for Flash on iPhone

by Travis Harvey | November 4, 2009November 4, 2009 5:00 pm PDT

iphoneflash1It’s been over two years since the iPhone changed the way we browse the web on our mobile devices.  In those two years, the device has seen so many firmware updates to add user-demanded features.  The one omission that has been the most apparent is the lack of Flash support in the mobile browser.  Adobe has said it is waiting to collaborate with Apple to bring an optimized version to the iPhone and the ball stops there.  If you’re still holding out for Flash on the iPhone, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Apple has had a history of attempting to set their own technology standards.  Apple’s tried its hand with FireWire in an attempt to create an industry standard for file transfer.  More recently, their creation of the Mini DisplayPort was done in much the same way.  Remember when the original 2G iPhone launched with its own built-in YouTube app?  Not every video on YouTube was viewable because Google had made an agreement with Apple to convert all its videos to the H.264 format.

Although omitting support for Flash isn’t necessarily setting a new tech standard, Apple’s plan is likely to bypass the reliance on applications like Adobe Flash and instead encourage the evolution into the next generation of HTML.  Part of the drive behind HTML 5 is to reduce the need of plug-in architecture from technologies like Flash.  HTML5 introduces a slew of APIs that make it much easier to create 3D web applications.  Apple has already built in browser support for HTML5 on the iPhone and, along with Google, is attempting to push web development into a direction that relies as little as possible on third parties.

Apple has also stated numerous times that Flash content is not ideal for iphoneflash2 mobile platforms.  Because Flash content is code heavy, it takes longer to load and is much more resource intensive.  Apple’s strategy is to optimize and simplify user experience.  Faster load times with minimal resource dedication create a user experience geared towards mobility.  Less plug-ins that a browser has to load results in fewer crashes that would only end up creating more user frustration.

With the recent development in CS5 that allows developers to port their Flash content to an iPhone app, Adobe is doing everything it can to bring its services to the most popular mobile browser on the web.  Unfortunately for them, Apple is headed down a different path; the path of least reliance.  Instead, the developments to HTML5 would render many of features being offered in Flash obsolete.  If you’re still stubborn and think that Flash is coming to the iPhone, we’d love to hear your reasons.  Let us know what you think.

Oh, and if you’d like an example of HTML 3D rendering, check this out.  Just make sure your browser is HTML5 compatible.

[Via Engadget]


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