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Will Apple Lock Adobe Out Again?

by Travis Harvey | January 22, 2010January 22, 2010 4:02 am PDT

We’ve passed the iPhone’s second birthday nearing its third and there’s been no sign that Apple’s going to cave to Adobe, adding Flash support within the browser.  As the release of Apple’s next mobile platform draws near, presumably providing its users with much more robust hardware, there’s a lingering question that’s going to have to be asked eventually.  Will Apple bring Flash support to their tablet?

Despite being one of the most glaring omissions from the iPhone and one of the more popular consumer-desired additions, I’ve already gone through a few reasons for Apple’s hesitation.  In case you missed it, Flash weighs heavily on system resources, draining battery life and slowing down less capable hardware.  The adoption of HTML5 has already begun, allowing many of the same tasks to be executed natively in the browser.  So would the tablet be so different?

adobeI’m going to go out on a sturdy limb and say that much of the same principles that apply to the iPhone will be carried over to the tablet.  Assuming the platform for the tablet will be modeled after the iPhone’s, expect there to be no path to installing plug-ins like Adobe’s Flash. Apple keeps a tight grip on its mobile software and an inclusion of Flash would have Apple relying on Adobe to keep pace with software updates and bug fixes. Instead, it’s much easier as more and more non-Flash compatible devices gain momentum for Apple to rely on advances to the HTML web standards.

Of course, then, they’ve set themselves up for another outcry from consumers demanding the “full” version of the web on a device that’d be nearly as capable as the MacBook line.  However, sites like YouTube and Vimeo have begun experimenting with HTML5 playback instead of Flash.  As the industry leaders forge ahead, expect many to follow.

Do you think Apple will treat Flash on the tablet as it does (or doesn’t for that matter) on the iPhone?  What happens to all those sites built around Flash?  Chime in below.


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