updated 04:05 pm EST, Thu February 18, 2010
Jobs' WSJ tour trashed Flash, touted iPad
Dropping Flash is no different than the decision to drop the floppy drive from the iMac, Apple chief Steve Jobs reportedly told the Wall Street Journal during his iPad promo tour at major publishers. Those who were at the meeting claim that Flash to him is obsolete technology that should be dropped in favor of a better option. He purportedly likened it not only to floppies but also to purging old technologies like FireWire 400, non-LED backlit LCDs, or the dependence on music CDs.
The Apple co-founder went so far as to label Flash a security risk and a "CPU hog." According to Gawker, Jobs argued the iPad's battery life would drop from 10 hours to just 1.5 due to the sheer amount of resource overhead. The claim is potentially an exaggeration: battery life on newer MacBook Pros has been tested as shrinking by over an hour with Flash active, although the faster processors and added memory help absorb some of the performance concerns.
As he has in the past, Jobs allegedly told the newspaper executives that they should convert Flash-dependent material to HTML5 and use H.264 for videos; both are "trivial," he said. Many have disagreed as the technique involves switching to relatively advanced web code and scripting along with concerns about protecting the video and accomodating older browsers that don't support HTML5, particularly Internet Explorer.
Other publishers, like the New York Times, have already been more receptive to these sorts of overtures and have developed an iPad-sized version of the Times Reader app that plays native video in-line, skirting entirely around the lack of Flash.
Adobe has lately been a fierce critic of Apple's and has argued that Flash occupies too large a majority on the web for it to be left out of the iPad. The company plans to bring Flash to most major platforms through Flash 10.1 and AIR, especially more recent mobile software like Android and webOS.