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Jobs Says Flash Video Not Suitable for iPhone 387

Posted by samzenpus
from the too-good-for-you dept.
Lev13than writes "Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs said the iPhone won't be using Adobe Systems' Inc.'s popular Flash media player any time soon, saying the technology doesn't meet his company's performance standards for video. Jobs said the version of Flash formatted to personal computers is too slow on the iPhone while the mobile version of the media player is "is not capable of being used with the web." The comments come a day before Apple is set to introduce the company's plan for iPhone SDK, the software developers kit which will allow third-party developers to create applications that can work in conjunction with the popular handheld device."
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Jobs Says Flash Video Not Suitable for iPhone

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06, 2008 @05:17AM (#22660926)
    the iPhone isn't powerful enough to run flash properly. Too bad.
    • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @05:41AM (#22661038) Homepage Journal
      Why is this a troll, its exactly what the problem is.
      My n810 runs flash - badly - its advertised as working which it does but it drops frames with current implimentation.

      iPhone/Apple users expect more and currently it can't be handled.
      • by kalirion (728907) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @10:49AM (#22662842)
        Setting aside the horsepower, what use is flash video with a connection speed of @10KB/s?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Simon80 (874052)
        Regardless, the iPhone has a significantly faster ARM core than the N800 and N810, 50% faster at 624MHz. I think this is more of a strategic decision than a performance issue, Jobs is basically saying that "Apple knows best" about flash because he doesn't want to give business and market share to Adobe. I have no objection to this, let them duke it out, flash is a scourge to web standards _and_ browser usability, and I don't have any Apple products to worry about anyway.
      • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday March 06, 2008 @12:13PM (#22663794) Homepage

        It's not quite "exactly what the problem is."

        First, using that language implies that the iPhone is underpowered, when it'd be more true to say that Flash is a bloated resource-hog. Second, people who've researched the problem suggest that the iPhone *could* run flash, but it'd drain battery life and present other interface problems.

        The major point here is that Flash just isn't an appropriate technology for mobile devices. If you want video, h264 will provide great quality/batter-consumption (relative to other video formats). I still question whether Flash is an appropriate technology for anything, but we can discuss that at another time.

        • by PortHaven (242123) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @12:34PM (#22664050) Homepage
          Um, you do realize the latest Flash Player supports h264 - right?

          Further more, if you're just using Flash for ads and video, you haven't even touched on the power that is Flash.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by nine-times (778537)

            Yes, the most recent version of Flash supports h264, but you can't count on people to actually have the most recent version of Flash Player, so I wouldn't recommend using it yet.

            Additionally, wrapping your h264 in a Flash player doesn't really buy you anything on a mobile device. You're better off sending a normal h264 video to the device and letting that device decode the video in whichever method it's most optimized to do that.

    • Thats *exactly* the problem.

      Hell my oldish Pentium 4 starts coughing with some flash ads and videos.
      What chance does a little iPhone have?
  • Not surprised (Score:5, Informative)

    by nighty5 (615965) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @05:20AM (#22660940)
    Frankly, flash / shockwave totally sucks on OS X. Its a CPU hog which affects battery, when I run any flash CPU spikes to 100%.

    It's not to say its Apple's fault, but I think Adobe is at fault and I think their position won't change in any time soon.
    • Re:Not surprised (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ncryptd (1172815) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @05:25AM (#22660976)
      It's much better on x86 -- it used to be absolutely horrid on the PowerPC platform. Given my past experience with Flash on non-x86 architectures, I'm not surprised that Flash on ARM isn't a high-performance solution.
      • by pizzach (1011925)
        Reminds me that one of the important points on Flash 9 was improving performance on Linux and other platforms. Flash is a very CPU hungry plugin anyway, but everything helps.
      • Re:Not surprised (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @08:18AM (#22661614) Journal
        I can't watch the Comedy Central flash clips on my 1.5GHz G4 without dropping frames. On my 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo, the BBC iPlayer spikes my CPU to over 60%. In contrast, playing 720p brings it to about 30%. It also causes the fans to spin loudly and kills the battery.
    • by MrNemesis (587188)
      I think the same can be said for any OS that isn't win32.
    • by ceeam (39911)
      That's what we get when we embrace fucking proprietary formats. It's only as good as the single manufacturer cares for it. Being bitten by it time and again for several decades we still behave like Homer Simpson - "oh, shiny!".

      crap...
  • by pembo13 (770295) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @05:21AM (#22660942) Homepage
    I get jerking on even fully buffered flash video in both WindowsXP and Linux using Adobe's Flash plugin. The same machines played media via the divx plugin without issue (at much better quality)
    • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @05:31AM (#22661002) Journal
      Videos turn into a slideshow on my 2ghz Turion running Ubuntu. If you're not using a powerful processor on windows flash will suck for you. Which is probably why I see so much hate for adobe and flash around here since we have a lot of non-windows users on this site and the flash experience is terrible. Adobe needs to shape up and make the linux version work as good as the windows one.
      • by n3tcat (664243) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @05:39AM (#22661036) Homepage
        No they don't. They are making a lot of money right now without those things you mention. They don't NEED to change anything. But it would be really, really swell if they did.
      • by tacocat (527354) <tallison1.twmi@rr@com> on Thursday March 06, 2008 @06:52AM (#22661318)

        Websites fall into generally two categories: Information Delivery and Entertainment Delivery.

        Information Delivery are websites where you are seeking some kind of information or news that you desire in your daily life. Examples of this are google, amazon, slashdot, ebay, bbc, csmonitor.com for most. This also includes sites for mysql, apache, postgresql, perl/cpan. These are all sites that, when you visit you often have a very specific purpose and end goal in mind.

        Entertainment Delivery are sites that offer no hard end goal other than entertainment and can be represented by youtube, ask a ninja, webkinz, and other online game sites. On these sites, the web content is the entertainment and people would have more expectations of lots of flash load on their PC.

        But there seems to be a lot of manufacturers and resale sites that are trying to do both at the same time and for most, they do an amazingly bad job without any real thought of delivering informational content about their products but just wowing the crap out of some board members. I tried to buy some Serengeti sunglasses because my experience has been that they are the best I've ever owned. But their website is one of the fattest and annoying places I've been to in years. And they don't even properly identify how to purchase their glasses. Had I been a marginal customer I would have walked a long time ago. In the past, I have walked from suppliers because their product catalog brought down my computer to a crawl and didn't do anything to provide me the information I needed.

        Flash does not belong on Information Delivery websites.

        • Websites fall into generally two categories: Information Delivery and Entertainment Delivery.

          This is eerily like my kindergarten-age child's description of books as being either non-fiction or fiction. If it provides information, she says, it's non-fiction. (Makes you wonder how you would classify sites for things like Entertainment tonight and TMZ. Okay, not really.)
          But I'm with you. The web has folks trying to blur the lines and if information is not clearly presented, especially towards the stated pu

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Utter rubbish.

          Flash is one of many tools available for building Rich Internet Applications. AJAX-type technologies are another, Java a third. In some areas, such as vector drawing and image manipulation, Flash is the best choice: in some areas, it isn't. Hey, isn't it great that the web isn't just controlled by one company?

          I'm the main developer of the online map editor for OpenStreetMap [openstreetmap.org]. It's written in Flash (a fairly old version, actually - ActionScript 1 compiled with the open-source Ming library)
      • by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @07:36AM (#22661490) Homepage Journal

        Chances are this has something to do with the X11 driver and the way Flash uses it, not Flash per-se. My Wii, which is a much poorer spec'd machine than your Pentium from the sounds of things, has no problems at all with Flash. Try the following:

        1. Install MPlayer. Make sure you install the non-free plug-ins (the Windows DLLs and stuff.) Configure and test it to make sure it can play regular videos smoothly.
        2. Go back to your webbrowser, and go to your favorite Flash video that "turns into a slideshow", and play the entire thing in your web browser (or, at least, wait for it to finish loading and hit the pause button)
        3. With your web browser still open, open a terminal window, and type "mplayer -fs /tmp/Flash*"

        The chances are that playback will be smooth as a baby's bottom. This, at least, is my experience on an 800MHz VIA C3 in my living room. "Slideshow" in the browser, "Smooth" when played with MPlayer. The problem isn't the Flash codec, it's something to do with the way Flash videos are pushed through the browser.

        Now, my N800 with OS2008 does strain a little to play a Flash video perfectly smoothly, but on the other hand it's not a bad job and it's more than acceptable.

        The CPU usage of Flash video isn't that great relatively speaking. It's just it's very easy to foul up playback.

        • by fruey (563914) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @08:30AM (#22661684) Homepage Journal
          Interesting theory, and makes sense since MPlayer will be configured to use the best available screen access library, whether that be direct framebuffer, or various other possibilities (I am not an expert).

          Using the standalone flash player in Windows, or even a plugin for a viewer like IrfanView, works better than the flash plugin in a browser and I can think of several reasons because for the plugin:

          - Rest of the screen handled by browser rendering, which is unlikely to use anything close to framebuffer / direct hardware access and very likely to use standard API calls to the window manager
          - Requirement to have interactivity - clickable links, rollover actions, etc
          - May require transparency with content underneath visible, so can't be done using an overlay
          - Code covers vector graphics, etc which can be overlayed on video content too

          So voilà, it's not just about the plugin being "bad", but that it has way less chance of using the most efficient video delivery method. MPlayer is just pulling out the FLV content, which is not the same as the SWF container + buffering code + FLV content sitting in a page which it may need to interact with and cover other issues.
    • by Riktov (632) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @05:46AM (#22661070) Journal

      I get jerking on even fully buffered flash video in both WindowsXP and Linux using Adobe's Flash plugin.

      Me, if the chicks are hot and the action's good, I get jerking regardless of format or buffering...

  • by nguy (1207026) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @05:21AM (#22660946)
    That's a euphemism for "if we let Flash on the iPhone, we (Apple) don't completely control the video and content delivery on the iPhone anymore".

    That's also the real reason Jobs has been so slow on the iPhone SDK: the last thing they want is other companies creating audio and video delivery apps for Apple's iPods and iPhones.
    • by deathtopaulw (1032050) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @05:26AM (#22660978) Homepage
      that makes no sense, the more video/audio capabilities a device has the more people are going to buy it

      remember apple makes money on the hardware not the songs/vids from itunes
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by vally_manea (911530)
        I'm not so sure about that anymore, I recently heard Itunes is the number 2 on-line music store: http://money.cnn.com/2008/02/26/technology/itunes_walmart.ap/ [cnn.com] just behind Walmart, they can't sell this much music and not make money. Not sure about the video part though.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by funfail (970288)
          So being number 2 store in a multi-billion dollar industry can be interpreted as not making money, right?
          • by ubernostrum (219442) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @06:42AM (#22661278) Homepage

            So being number 2 store in a multi-billion dollar industry can be interpreted as not making money, right?

            Maybe, maybe not. Apple's net profit -- the amount of actual money they make -- depends on the cost of operating the iTunes store infrastructure (servers, bandwidth, personnel, etc.) and on the fees they pay to the record labels for access to the music catalogs. From what I can find after some quick Googling, it appears that Apple pays 70 cents to the labels for each 99-cent download, which means that in order to turn a profit it needs to cost less than 29 cents per song to run the store. It almost certainly does, and the actual numbers almost certainly represent serious money, but suddenly it's a bit more debatable as to whether iTunes is a major cash cow in and of itself, or whether it drives hardware sales while happily turning a profit of its own.

        • by GauteL (29207) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @06:42AM (#22661276)
          "I recently heard Itunes is the number 2 on-line music store: http://money.cnn.com/2008/02/26/technology/itunes_walmart.ap/ [cnn.com] just behind Walmart, they can't sell this much music and not make money."

          Correction. According to the article you reference, they are the number 2 music retailer, full stop. The are the clear number one in the online market, they just also happen to be so big that they have surpassed all the traditional retailers except Wal-Mart.

          Your conclusions are surely right, however. I'm convinced that the notion that the iTunes store is a loss-leader for iPods is a myth or at best outdated information. The iTunes store surely makes money on it's own at this stage.
    • by ronin510 (1113835) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @05:41AM (#22661042)
      Have you used the iPhone? I listen to audio podcasts and watch videos directly through the Safari browser. Any website can provide such files without having Apple as a proxy.

      Sure, there's the special YouTube application. What it basically does is link to h.264 converted videos, but as I said, any website can provide videos in that format. Having videos play via h.264 benefits iPhone users, and standards enthusiasts, actually. The iPhone has a dedicated h.264 chip to more efficiently decode such files. This is a much more energy efficient solution compared to decoding flash videos through software. So in truth, the "performance standard" you mock is a reality.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by rainhill (86347)
      you are probably right, but one wanders why youtube works nicely on iphone
    • by Kifoth (980005) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @06:32AM (#22661238)
      Has anyone seen Flash's Actionscript lately? AS3 is a respectable programming language (Flame away :P). Considering that Jobs never wanted an iPhone API at all, if he lets Flash on the iPhone, he'll be opening the door to a rival API that he has little control over.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by erroneus (253617)
      I couldn't agree more. That's exactly the first thing I thought when I read this.

      I have little doubt that Apple could make that device do just about anything they want it to do -- it's a really nice piece of hardware. But it's so clamped down that everything about it says "we didn't do it because we don't want you to do it." I once tried to do something as simple as "send a text email then try to copy and paste the information into the address book" only to find there was no way to do that. C'mon! Appl
    • The post doesn't make sense.

      completely control the video


      How is Apple controlling h.264?
    • That's so true, except for the bit about complete control. I think the iPhone does most video content and web content, but hey, apparently every website on Earth without Adobe's Flash is under Apple's control.

      Someone better tell those YouTube guys they're working for Apple. It's the sort of thing they should know.
  • cf. the N800/810 (Score:5, Informative)

    by DingerX (847589) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @05:24AM (#22660966) Journal
    ...which has Flash 9 fully implemented.

    It works, and you can watch video with it, and with OS2008 it isn't half bad. But Flash is either on or off, and some abuses of flash can really slow down your web experience (e.g., try loading page full of flash video ads).

    So, yes, you can get Flash on a mobile device (the n800 has an Arm9 @400 MHz, while the iPhone's processor runs at 620), but not a 100% reliable effort-free flash. Also, considering the iPhone's screen resolution, Flash would really suck on it.
  • by Tweaker_Phreaker (310297) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @05:27AM (#22660982)
    It's amazing that Steve Jobs criticized flash's performance on PC's when quicktime has long had the slowest decoding on PC's for any format it can play. I think he may be threatened that flash is going to become the defacto player for h.264 on the web.
  • Makes sense (Score:2, Informative)

    by 427_ci_505 (1009677)
    Running on a late 2003 vintage amd64, Flash video spikes processor usage in linux (debian-64, with wrappers to make it work). The same computer plays much higher quality divx using a much smaller amount of resources just fine.

    So mostly, flash just sucks for this purpose. But I doubt that is the only reason why Jobs says this.
  • Analysis (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DigitalisAkujin (846133) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @05:28AM (#22660988) Homepage
    A lot of people will construe this as simply Apple trying to control media on the Iphone which although it does make sense that people would think this way, it's definitely not true.

    Flash is optimized for windows. It has no where near the right optimization to run on OSX at full speed. Further compounding the issue is that the CPU must do all the decoding work where on a proper player the decoding could partially be offloaded to a GPU (in a full PC), or optimized CPU with support for certain optimized instruction sets.
  • youtube, anyone? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by markybob (802458)
    youtube uses flash video, and as most people know, you can view youtube videos on the iphone. so how does this make sense? it seems like jobs is saying the iphone wont support what it already supports. i dont get it
    • Re:youtube, anyone? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zelos (1050172) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @05:34AM (#22661014)
      IIRC, the iPhone plays Youtube videos converted to H264 using a native client, not Flash video.
    • They probably have an alternative means to an end..... YouTube can deliver the video in a different format.
    • by raynet (51803)
      Youtube when used with a "standard" browser uses flash video, when you use it with iPhone it probably uses something else, eg. embeds MP4-videos directly on the page or something, maybe iPhone has FLV (flash video format) player, but it doesnt have Flash-player. Flash is more than just a video player on a browser.
    • Re:youtube, anyone? (Score:5, Informative)

      by AceJohnny (253840) <jlargentaye@gmaiTEAl.com minus caffeine> on Thursday March 06, 2008 @06:09AM (#22661150) Journal
      Flash video (flv) is a container around codecs, like AVI, OGG, and even MPEG is. The codec typically used in Flash is by On2 [on2.com], I believe. I guess Jobs is complaining about Adobe's mobile implementation of the decoder.

      However, Adobe recently added support for H.264 in Flash. H.264 is more widespread and there are hardware-accelerated implementations for it in the mobile field. Youtube has started supporting that codec as well (add &fmt=6 at the end of video URL to try, if that video has been converted)

      Hell, I worked on a mobile chip which includes MPEG4 and H264 encode/decode acceleration, which has been included in a recently announced Nokia smartphone [nseries.com], and I can confirm that On2 aren't accelerated (and Microsoft's VC1, used in DVB-H, is only partly accelerated), and thus have to run on the ARM core, at the expense of higher power consumption.
  • Translation: (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nacule (1249808)
    As we don't have the time or resources to spare, we are going to convince all iPhone users that this is something that wont contribute in any way to their $500 "new-age multimedia-rich internet browsing" experience.
  • Suits Me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AndrewStephens (815287) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @05:38AM (#22661032) Homepage

    Lets face it, Flash is used for four things:

    Video: Flash video is becoming the dominant video delivery mechanism for the web, its only competition is Quicktime. Perhaps flash video does take large amounts of processing power to decode (the Wii certainly doesn't do a very good job), but I suspect that Apple doesn't care too much if people find a reason not to serve video content in flash rather than quicktime.

    Ads and sneaky cookie storage: Flash ads are annoying, and rather worryingly Flash programs can store rather large amounts of data in a sort of large cookie on your computer. This is often used to identify a user even if they have disabled cookies. Good riddance.

    Games: it is a shame that flash games will never work on the iPhone, but this is somewhat understandable. The iPhone does not have keyboard and the pointing device works in a very different way to a mouse. Most games would not work well without recoding them for the iPhone and battery life would be bad since the screen would be continually updating.

    Apps: well actually there are only a handful of sites I know of the actually use flash for something that couldn't be done in HTML. Mobile Safari is actually one of the more capable browsers out there, even compared to desktop browsers.

    Additionally, while I don't doubt there are technical reasons for the decision, Adobe and Apple have always had a love/hate relationship - there may be political reasons why Apple wants to shut Flash out.

    • by Rocketship Underpant (804162) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @06:29AM (#22661224)
      The lack of Flash could be a pretty good thing as Mobile Safari grows in usage, and web developers begin taking it into account. We could begin seeing real movie websites again, instead of annoying Flash sites; and Flash ads overall will decline so that advertisers lose out on potential clicks from iPhone and iPod users.

    • The flash video codecs aren't really that cpu intensive. You once were able to download for example the youtube videos in flv format from cache.googlevideo.com/get_video?video_id=<youtube_video_id> (I tried this now, and it didn't seem to work anymore). That video could then be played with MPlayer, to mention one *. Unfortunately, MPlayer was not able to play all videos (I guess that's because flv is actually a container format, and can have several codecs). But those videos that did play, plaid with

    • by tgd (2822)
      Actually you missed one other group: splash screens.

      For good or bad, a LOT of restaurants I've noticed have them, and often have no way to get past them if you don't have flash. For most sites, if that happens I'll just go somewhere else but it drives me nuts when I'm trying to get a menu or address for a restaurant.

      Also, lack of Pandora sucks. I hope Pandora at some point realizes they've got a potential big iPhone market and does either a native client or a web-only client.
  • But far too many websites use flash for their entry portals, and don't have a non-flash alternative. It really, really sucks when I can't get to a website I need to use on my phone. This announcement seems to be to be an invitation to crack my as yet unbroken phone, and make me some kind of "pirate."
    • But far too many websites use flash for their entry portals, and don't have a non-flash alternative

      True, but I bet those entry portals would work poorly even on a Flash supporting iPhone. Flash doesn't have a way to scale to smaller screens like (well written) HTML. Can anyone tell us how flash works on other mobile devices? Does the reduced real-estate cause problems, or does it work well in practice?

  • by Dwedit (232252) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @05:56AM (#22661096) Homepage
    Flash is a huge, huge CPU hog for playing videos. It is also not the only way to play flash videos.
    I have done comparative performance tests.
    In one corner: Youtube's flash-based player
    In the other corner: Windows Media Player + Gabest's FLV Splitter [sourceforge.net] + FFDSHOW [sourceforge.net].
    When playing the same flash video, Flash took 40% CPU usage, and Windows Media Player took 5% CPU usage.
    This just shows that Flash Player is extremely inefficient. Its performance gets much worse when showing a video in full screen.
    • I guess that the particular Flash video decoder is inefficient. The rest of Flash might be OK.
      But in fact, being all vector graphics I assume that Flash uses lots of floating point internally, and that goes badly on mobile devices.
  • by gordguide (307383) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @06:00AM (#22661114)
    I'm not trying to defend Steve or even Apple. Bill and Microsoft have to share some of the blame, and I'm pulling out the stops and sending Real, Inc straight to hell. The short answer is the video wars are tiring, and consumers are simply tired of playing. No, I mean it.

    Real is pure evil proto-spyware. Quicktime and Windows Media have fought it out for ... lets see here ... more than a decade? Can that be right? You bet it can.

    So, the default Lowest-Common-Denominator format is Flash.

    This-Is-Not-News.

    It works, period. Quality? Not really there, actually. No, don't flame me. It's is truly a LCD format, a decade after video-on-the-desktop became a reality for both software and hardware. You could watch a decent quality 240x320 video in 1995. That, ultimately, is a very sad thing to say out loud, because this is 2008.

    Flash is really not that great. Quality is frankly pathetic. I think that's what Steve was getting at.

    But ...

    You can view it on pretty much every computer today. Flash 1; QuickTime/WMV/Real 0.
    It's widely supported on the web itself; every browser plays it when the page embeds it. Flash 1; Quicktime/WMV/Real 0.
    It's not so great quality wise, but content providers WANT acceptable-but-not-one-pixel-more quality. Flash 1; Quicktime/WMV/Real 0.

    What Steve, who you have to admit has this thing about quality, dislikes about Flash is the cheezy quality of the videos. I don't blame him nor can I say he is wrong. They are most certainly slow to load, CPU intensive, choppy/blocky/blurry things. But they work.

    Steve wants video that looks good and works. I can't say he's wrong. Flash is weak in that area more than others.

    So, let's put it into perspective here. Everyone talks about Blue-Ray vs DVD-HD but the real format war is still ongoing, and arguably less worth fighting over.

    Can't we agree on a web video standard, where the codecs are built into every OS, consume reasonable resources, has some measure of copy protection ** and are viewable on everyone's OS, including the fringe OS's like Linux (which would not be a fringe if someone was selling it ... market share is more than just market share)?

    I have my favorites. Don't get me wrong here. But, the video wars are too long with no winner in sight. I agree that Flash is not the ideal format, it's not even as good as at least 2 out of the three alternatives. But, Adobe has a vested interest in getting rich off of every OS out there, by controlling the creation of content, not the rest of the stuff. Apple, MIcrosoft and Real all had that goal in mind back in the early 90's; they've forgotten what they're fighting for now.

    ** Cheezy Quality = the modern day copy protection. Don't dismiss the value of it to content providers; they don't.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by freedom_india (780002)
      Steve is lying and so are you.
      I use an LG Viewty KU990 touchscreen phone based on Flash.
      I use customized handset themes for it to make it act like fully 3D.
      Nowhere did i find it slower than iPhone.

      Flash is easier to do beautiful interactive elements. True.
      Flash is awful for playing videos. True.

      Flash as UI for phones. Great, because it is thin, light and simply works.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Zelos (1050172)
        I assume that's Flash Lite [adobe.com], which (as I understand it) is not the same as the general Flash you get on the internet. It's specifically designed and optimised for mobile applications.
    • by pizzach (1011925) <pizzach&gmail,com> on Thursday March 06, 2008 @07:30AM (#22661468) Homepage
      I was actually thinking mp4 [wikipedia.org] would become the next baseline standard on the web, especially since it uses H.264 as the video codec by default. But until WMP actually includes support for it it will continue to just float around. Maybe Microsoft has been slow about it because it directly competes with wmv and doesn't lock people in?
  • Only Jobs... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @06:18AM (#22661192)
    Could twist "The iPhone is too slow for Flash" into "Flash is too slow for the iPhone".

    What does that even mean? Flash wont play at 60 fps or something and that's the speed of video Jobs wants? I know what he means but in trying to dress it as a problem with Flash it stops making sense. It'd have been more correct to say something like "Flash is too resource intensive for the iPhone" but I guess if you put it in a form that makes sense it still makes the iPhone's hardware sound bad.

    Whilst I do realise Flash is quite a resource hog, it's also become a rather important part of the web and if the iPhone can't handle it then it can't handle a large portion of the web.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not keen on Flash and wouldn't use it for general web development, but for streaming video, due to YouTube and the likes it's fast become a fairly standard way of displaying video, whilst I'd like to see Flash removed from the web long term, I think it's foolish to not support it short term as that currently only harms consumers. Develop a better alternative (Not Quicktime thanks, it's far, far worse) and support it alongside Flash and phase Flash out in favour of that alternative over time.
    • by bhtooefr (649901)
      OK, realize that an iPhone that would be powerful enough to run Flash... would look more like this, and would [b]STILL[/b] be too slow - even if it were running it in IE on Windows, which is the fastest Flash Player:

      http://www.samsung.com/us/consumer/detail/detail.do?group=computersperipherals&type=ultramobilepc&subtype=ultramobilepc&model_cd=NP-Q1U/000/SEA [samsung.com]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      The problem with flash isn't only the speed, but the way it would fit into the iPhone-style of browsing. With HTML pages you can pinch and zoom, do all kinds of weird things. My brain hurts when I try to imagine navigating a site that's built entirely with flash. Flash killed WMV and Real for web video (for which I am thankful), but it's equally bad in other areas like holding up accessible site development.
    • by Urkki (668283)
      Can video be played by some other method than flash, and even at better quality? Well, yes. This kind of proves, that flash is both crappy quality and uses a lot more processing power (== electricty from limited batter, don't forget that!) than it should even with that crappy quality.

      I'd say it's completely fair to blame flash video for being a POS, not iPhone (or any other battery-powered device) for lacking the power to overcome the POSiness of flash.
  • I abhor the (ab)use of Flash on the Web. Many sites don't allow access, at all, unless a specific version of Flash is installed, even if all the information I want could be easily handled with static text pages. Additionally, the Flash player implementations allow Trojans trivially (not that QuickTime is without its own issues).

    Is it the fault of those writing the specifications for sites or the site developers that low-to-moderate-bandwidth, Flash-free pages that provide all the information a visitor ne
  • GNASH: FOSS Player (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @08:33AM (#22661700) Homepage Journal
    Flash is Adobe's brand of "SWF", which is a documented format. SWF isn't open, but it's been reverse engineered enough that other SW can generate, edit and play it. "Flash Video" is the FLV file format, has also been reverse engineered.

    Will GNASH [wikipedia.org], the FOSS SWF player that can also play FLV, run on an iPhone? GNASH isn't as crippled as Adobe's Flash player, offering higher framerates on lower grade HW. GNASH has also been ported to run on more HW than Adobe's Flash player has. For GNASH to play FLV, it needs ffmpeg or GStreamer to run - is there a port or equivalent for iPhone?

    And if not, who will take the plunge to port this FOSS to iPhone, and make Steve Jobs for once look less than visionary?
  • Yesuh Mastah Jobs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by theophilosophilus (606876) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @08:43AM (#22661750) Homepage Journal
    Why not let the market decide?

    Jobs scares me because he likes to make decisions for me. He may be behind an innovative company but systems that lock-in and lock-out are anti-consumer. DRM is simply a method of lock-in. Dragging your feet on an SDK is lock-out. I can't support products by a company that has a habit of restricting my rights to use something I paid them for.
    • by Zelos (1050172)
      Presumably if Flash on mobile devices is important and easy to implement, then some other phone company will release a Flash-supporting handset and the market will buy that instead.

      It's not like the iPhone is the only smartphone out there.
  • Good for him. Finally someone else who agrees with me that Flash is an hideously inefficient creation. It's rubbish on all platforms, it's just the symptoms are usually masked.
  • by stewbacca (1033764) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @09:46AM (#22662194)
    For once I can say it; Steve Jobs is wrong. Slow content is better than no content, Mr. Jobs. But alas, you already knew that, because you've included the EDGE network with my iPhone.

    I am in Instructional Designer and churn out a billion flash-based products a year, some of them even targeted for cell phones. Amazing how Adobe has the insight to include preset sizes and compression schemes to fit a number of different cell phones out there -- the iPhone conspicuously not one of them.

  • Refreshing... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RandomUsername99 (574692) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @09:53AM (#22662248)
    For the record, I just got rid of my (non iphone) smartphone to buy a cellphone that was primarily a cell phone. I don't own any apple computers, or even an ipod. I'm not an apple fanboy. That said:

    Working for a large company in the software industry, it's refreshing to see someone actually opt out of having another bullet point on their feature list to keep the integrity of their product. Having flash perform badly on their phones may bump up their sales by 20% in the quarter when the youtube fanatics hear about it, but it'll hurt them not too long after when they realize that the feature they bought it for works poorly. I know that my company would have much better quality products if we thought beyond the next quarter or two's marketing plan.

    And to the people who rib apple for having created a device that won't run flash... Let's look at the minimum system requirements for the current version of Linux flash:

    Modern processor (800MHz or faster) 512MB of RAM, 128MB of graphics memory
    with a *recommended*
    Intel Pentium 4 2.33GHz processor (or equivalent) 128MB of RAM 64MB of VRAM

    Almost a gigahertz processor and half a gig of ram? This would have bumped everything but the bleeding edge off the map 10 years ago on processor speed and ram alone, and 128MB of graphics memory? Forget about it... and the recommended stats (which for some reason are lower than the minimum system requirements in RAM and VRAM... http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/productinfo/systemreqs/ [adobe.com] maybe the low processor speed requires more mem?) on processor speed exclude many desktops sitting in homes today.

    This is a CELL PHONE people! :)

    Maybe on a half-technical cell phone review site i'd expected the reactionary "I can't believe they don't support flash" attitude as if they were just being lazy about it, but on a website where supposedly technical people understand the actual limitations that they run into with this stuff, come on.
  • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @09:56AM (#22662294)
    Flash can't do the job on the iPhone? Sounds like a job for Silverlight!

    *crickets*
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BearRanger (945122)
      You laugh, but this idea probably isn't off the table.

      If Silverlight is sufficiently open Apple wouldn't have a problem using it. Their relationship with Microsoft isn't quite as adversarial as it once was. It's the fans who imagine that it is so much more than the companies themselves.

      Microsoft would absolutely jump at the chance to have a software "win" for Silverlight on a popular device, even if it's one they don't control. The publicity and visibility would be a huge boost.

      Of course Silverlight woul
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @10:55AM (#22662900)
    Can the iphone use it flash space as VM? with 8gb or more 128 to 512 of VM space should be able to fit with out getting in the way.

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