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Apple's Change of Heart On Flash 409

Dotnaught writes "In a blog post, Walter Luh, co-founder of Ansca Mobile and a former employee of both Apple and Adobe, recounts how Apple once promoted Flash on the iPhone then changed its mind because Flash didn't provide the optimal mobile user experience. 'I think that Apple came to the same conclusion I've come to — namely that Flash has its strengths, but not when it comes to creating insanely great mobile experiences,' he writes. Luh's piece ends with a pitch for mobile development using the Corona SDK, a Lua-based programming environment that strives to recapture the simplicity of early versions of Flash."
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Apple's Change of Heart On Flash

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  • Silverlight (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06, 2010 @06:16PM (#31048312)

    Right now Flash has most of the market, but my prediction is that within 5 years Silverlight will start to supplant Flash for this purpose. XAML is gaining ground rapidly, Silverlight supports DRM content for applications such as streaming movies, it supports DeepZoom, a rich set of built in controls, runs on every major OS (Mac, Linux, Windows), supports multitouch out of the box, and is very developer friendly. It's moving much faster than Flash, and while it doesn't yet have the same market share, it has enough compelling advantages that it's just a matter of time before it will become the dominant standard.

  • by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @06:22PM (#31048346) Homepage Journal

    ... to a mobile device, without using Flash. Go on, try it. I'm waiting.

    In that case I imagining the existence of solutions for the iPhone that do just that. France24, YouTube and StreamToMe being three examples. I can concede there is room for improvement, but there are solutions, if the installed customer base is of interest to you.

  • by MikeFM ( 12491 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @06:24PM (#31048362) Homepage Journal
    Flash sucks. I for one am glad not to have it on my iPhone device. It drags down my PC whenever encountered and I don't want that hell on my iPhone.
  • by lisany ( 700361 ) <slashdot&thedoh,com> on Saturday February 06, 2010 @06:25PM (#31048366)

    Hulu sells advertising in their feeds, Apple does not.

    It's all about money indeed.

  • Re:Silverlight (Score:3, Insightful)

    by owlstead ( 636356 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @06:26PM (#31048370)

    Silverlight does not stream any video to my Linux machine. Of course it should, but somehow it doesn't. Weird isn't it, even though there is this moonlight thingy, the most important internet application somehow does not work right. So Silverlight is basically just working on Windows (and I presume, Windows mobile). Da Silva, I know you are reading, care to comment on that?

  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @06:27PM (#31048378) Homepage Journal

    Live streaming using H.264 seemed to work just dandy watching the State of the Union address on my iPhone while using the Whitehouse.gov iPhone app. Also seems to work great with MLB At-Bat on the iPhone as well. I watched many baseball games last season streaming live H.264 video to the iPhone.

    But can you do it with a generic app which will connect to any server?

  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @06:28PM (#31048394)
    If Apple really cared about empowering the user in the style, manner, and spirit of their legendary 1984 commercial, they would make Flash available -- or rather allow Adobe to make it available -- on the iPhone, Touch, and iPad, and allow the user to decide which user experiences work best for them.

    Apple only cares about profits and control these days, having become the very thing they once railed against.
  • Control freaks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by heffrey ( 229704 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @06:33PM (#31048418)

    Why can't they let us decide?!

  • by ultrabot ( 200914 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @06:33PM (#31048422)

    Maybe HTML5 in Firefox should mean that I can right click and "save as". Then it won't really matter.

    You don't need to do even that. Clicking on a video could just send the file to external video player (which always has all the warez codecs you need). Actually, that's the way I want to view my video anyway, I don't want them inside the browser, crashing and hanging all over the place.

  • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @06:34PM (#31048432)

    Also, Flash is a programming language. Apple doesnt allow programming languages onto iPods, iPhones, or iPads.

    Flash could replace a large majority of whats on the App Store.
  • by beakerMeep ( 716990 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @06:37PM (#31048450)
    What a strange comment, you just make larger buttons for a finger to press them. The same way all interfaces work on a mobile platforms.
  • by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <sopssa@email.com> on Saturday February 06, 2010 @06:48PM (#31048534) Journal

    Yes, HTML5 is, but it's up to browsers on what codec they will support.

  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @06:54PM (#31048566)
    Is one where everyone buys their content through Apple's store. That's it.

    It's no wonder that Flash which acts as a gateway to a mass of free content from across the world might be considered "non optimal". After all, Apple has to think of the poor consumers who would be "confused" by all the choice that countless non-Apple alternatives would cause.

  • by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @06:55PM (#31048570)

    apple likes it lock down and lock in app store and free flash games are bad for that.

  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:08PM (#31048638) Journal

    If Apple really cared about empowering the user in the style, manner, and spirit of their legendary 1984 commercial, they would make Flash available -- or rather allow Adobe to make it available -- on the iPhone, Touch, and iPad, and allow the user to decide which user experiences work best for them. Apple only cares about profits and control these days, having become the very thing they once railed against.

    Just look at story. "Insanely great mobile experience"???? Give me a break. I am sick and tired of this company being hailed as god's gift to design and bug free products. It just isn't true. They are one of the least open, most overpriced, most marketing based companies on the planet. Their products don't "just work". What they do is force you to work in a limited way according to their rules and in Apple's interests. Yet otherwise intelligent people start foaming at the mouth about how great Apple is and repeating their marketing drivel verbatim. It's just plain disturbing. Apple's genius is the marketing, which seems to brainwash intelligent people.

  • by DavidR1991 ( 1047748 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:18PM (#31048700) Homepage

    I would consider it a feature, especially since 99% of flash content I see is actually advertising (and it's literally plastered over sites. Countless flash adverts loading their own stupid videos etc. Good riddance)

  • by sakdoctor ( 1087155 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:28PM (#31048778) Homepage

    Nah. This isn't the first time some non-free stuff hasn't mixed well with Linux. Oil and water man.

    Let's see, there's libdvdcss, most wireless drivers until very recently, had to be fetched using some sketchy cutter tool. Flash gets fetched from gawd knows where by the flashplugin-nonfree package,
    People who use firefox or linux will tolerate a little configuration pain, even if the codec has to come from a warez server in Russia.

    I personally wish we didn't all walk into yet another propitiatory format though, because it's just history repeating itself.

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:40PM (#31048856) Homepage Journal

    Having old hardware should NOT be an issue when you are hitting a web page.

    And its not just flash that is the issue. The entire mindset you just displayed is the core of the problem.

  • by Adrian Lopez ( 2615 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:51PM (#31048930) Homepage

    The true reason why Apple won't allow Flash to run on the iPad is the same as the reason why they won't allow any standalone emulators into the App Store: it doesn't want software running on these platforms that they haven't specifically approved. Everything else is just them rationalizing their basic prohibition on virtual machines.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:55PM (#31048958)

    Uh there's more than video. Please don't say Java can do the rest that Flash does, if you take video away. The strength of a platform has much to do with the strength of its "editors". The Flash editor puts much power into the hands of designers, animators and "not really developers". You just can't do this with the bare bones technologies of HTML5 + this, + that, unless or until the accompanying "editors" for creating media catches up.

  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @08:10PM (#31049064)

    What happens to open source browsers like FF who can't pay for the patents and licenses?

    755 corporations have licensed H.264. AVC/H.264 Licensees [mpegla.com] It's a damned impressive list. Scrolling through it is like watching a freight train build up speed and momentum.

    While Firefox is beginning to look more and more like the heroine tied to the railroad tracks around the next bend.

    91% of Mozilla's funding comes from Google. Could open source abandon the Google train? [cnet.com] Now would be a really, really good time to put some of that money to good use. Cut a deal.

    Because I don't think Rin-Tin-Tin is coming to the rescue.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @08:32PM (#31049226)

    They have long been a "We know what's best for you," company. They decide what experiences they want to offer the user, and the user has very little choice in the matter. They tell you what you want, you just have to go along with it. If you don't like it, you go elsewhere.

    That is one of the primary reasons I don't use Apple products. They don't offer what I want, and don't offer the ability to become what I want. So, I take my cash elsewhere.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06, 2010 @08:33PM (#31049236)
    Why isn't there a -1 (Wrong) option?
  • by twidarkling ( 1537077 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @08:59PM (#31049388)

    Anyone who makes a site completely out of Flash should be _shot_. Repeatedly. In the face and crotch. If I'm using flashblock, I should still be able to see more than a site's copyright notification. Using flash to design a site beyond video is nothing more than ostentatiousness. First you use a little flash for an animated menu. Then you do a little more for a slideshow on the front page. Soon you're serving *all* your content that way, your site takes 30-45 seconds or MORE to load on a broadband connection, and there's a 10 second delay to navigate to a new area on the site. I expect that shit on dial-up, not a 3mbps or more connection. If you can't make a good site without Flash, fucking hire a professional or STAY OFF THE NET.

  • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @10:28PM (#31049776)

    Right, HTML5 is a paper tiger. They'll just add a codec= field to the video tag a call it day. Some browsers will support some codecs and others will support other codecs. End users will be baffled from the start and everyone will stick with Flash.

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @11:06PM (#31049940)

    Mozilla: Theora for Firefox. There is no way they can use H.264 because of countless amount of open source forks. Could only possible support it in main binary Firefox, other users left without.

    Yea, except ... Mozilla supports plugins ... which ... could be closed source ... and will work in the open source forks ... kind of like flash does now, which you point out.

    The only reason Firefox can't have h.264 support is because they are 'making a stand', are retarded one considering its clear to just about everyone they've utterly lost this war.

    Firefox is in control of its own destiny here, if it goes away because of this, it doesn't deserve to live in the first place.

    I don't use software to prop up someone elses retarded agenda, regardless of whos it is or what it is. I use software to prop up MY AGENDA.

    This is typical in the FOSS world, pushing your agenda on someone else at the cost of features, performance or usability and then being utterly awed and in shock when no one gives a shit about the FOSS package and uses something commercial for a fee instead.

    Dear Mozilla-

    People don't give a shit about your agenda, they care about theirs and facilitating theirs, not yours. You lost. Suck it up, throw in h.264 and you'll continue to be someone that matters. Or don't, continue playing in your own back yard and watch while everyone else leaves to go hang out with the kids who actually have the new, better toys.

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @11:12PM (#31049958)

    And this is where you fail.

    NO ONE GIVES A SHIT as long as what they want works for them.

    People don't care about the technical way things do or don't work, they care that they can click/touch a button and watch a damn video. They could give a shit about open, they want 'works' first.

    But to answer your question, yes, the way it works on the iPhone with video is an xml file on a web server describing what the URL is to the various available streams and describing the properties of those streams so the device can auto select.

    Its all very well documented and easy to understand. The iPhone (and probably OS X though I didn't look into it) has an advantage in that it has a nice library that only needs to see the xml file and it'll do the rest for you. You'd need to reimplement that library else where, but its a fairly trivial XML file on the server to read to get at the rest of the streams.

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @11:15PM (#31049982)

    So let me get this straight ...

    Apple needs to help Adobe, a large powerful software company, fix its flash player for OS X ... even though countless other 3rd party apps run fine in OS X and are more than happy to play video with practically no CPU usage at all?

    I don't think you actually understand the difference between political posturing and bullshit, and the realities of writing software.

  • by Assmasher ( 456699 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @11:40PM (#31050122) Journal

    There's only one reason why there's no Flash or Java on the iPhone - because you wouldn't be forced through the app store if they had either of them (unless they crippled them extensively like they were thinking about with Flash until people started pointing out - "uh, if the flash experience is the problem, why will you let the flash experience run on the iPhone only we still have to go through the app store?" - LOL ) and you wouldn't need Apple's development machines and environment to write software for it. If they could somehow get away with not implementing HTML5 (which they can't) you could rest assured it wouldn't be on the iPhone/iPad/iWhatever either.

    I can't believe the number of people who lap up this Apple drivel - flash experience is poor? LOL, I wonder how it managed to get such huge market penetration and basically pervade every aspect and corner of the web - oh, I guess because it's crap, right Apple?

  • by chromatic ( 9471 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @03:39AM (#31050940) Homepage

    The only reason Firefox can't have h.264 support is because they are 'making a stand'....

    That stand is, of course, H.264 has patent encumbrances which require royalties [0xdeadbeef.com]. How deep are your pockets?

  • by chromatic ( 9471 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @04:37AM (#31058936) Homepage

    I'm certain that when MPEG LA offers perpetual royalty-free licenses for H.264 under reasonable and non-discriminatory terms that Mozilla will change its policy.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.