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Adobe testing optimized version of Flash for Apple's MacBook Air

post #1 of 93
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Adobe's chief executive revealed this week that his company is currently testing an optimized version of Flash built specifically for Apple's newly released MacBook Air.

In an interview at the Web 2.0 Summit this week, Shantanu Narayen said that Adobe is looking to improve battery life on the MacBook Air with a new custom build of Adobe Flash, currently in beta testing in the company's labs. According to Engadget, he noted that battery life performance depends on hardware acceleration.

"When we have access to hardware acceleration, we've proven that Flash has equal or better performance on every platform," he said.

His comments come after testing of the new MacBook Air found that ditching Flash improved battery life by two hours. The new notebook gets six hours of uptime loading pages in the Safari browser, but that dips to four hours once Adobe Flash is installed.

Apple caused a stir in October, when it released its newly redesigned MacBook Air models, but shipped them without the Flash plugin preinstalled. Apple portrayed the change as an advantage to consumers, as leaving the user to install Flash ensures they have the latest version.

Apple and Adobe have been at odds in 2010, in a feud that gained considerable steam after Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs published an open letter criticizing Flash as old technology that is unfit for the modern era of mobile computers. Apple does not allow Flash onto its iOS-powered devices, including the iPhone and iPad.

Jobs also revealed that Flash is the number one reason for crashes on the Mac platform. For its part, Adobe fired back and said that any crashes of Flash in Mac OS X are not related to its software, but are instead the fault of Apple's operating system.
post #2 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"...we've proven that Flash has equal or better performance on every platform," he said.

I have no idea what that is supposed to mean, in the context of having access to hardware acceleration or otherwise.
post #3 of 93
Wait, I thought that Flash was supposed to be a "web standard"? Why would they need a special version for the MBA?
post #4 of 93
Optimizing Flash for MacBook AIR?
Are you serious?

If this doesn't tell you that Adobe is a fucking joke I don't know what does.
post #5 of 93
Narayen totally misses the point that he needs to develop a Mac-friendly version of Flash, not an MBA-specific version of Flash.

Public opinion against Flash has become a groundswell; what he's really trying to do here is stem the bleeding. Nothing he says can be trusted, so I wouldn't put too much faith in this little Engadget puff piece.

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post #6 of 93
It's nice that Adobe has decided to respond with its engineering instead of its PR department.

One helps its customers, the other its ego.
post #7 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Jobs also revealed that Flash is the number one reason for crashes on the Mac platform. For its part, Adobe fired back and said that any crashes of Flash in Mac OS X are not related to its software, but are instead the fault of Apple's operating system.

That is such a lame excuse. Any developers out there think your boss would fall for that line?

You: "It's not my fault the XYZ app keeps crashing, it's the operating system's fault."
Boss: "Oh, ok, no problem. Take a vacation and will give you a raise."
post #8 of 93
That's the dumbest statement ever. As long as you have access to hardware acceleration Flash works great? Well as long as I carry around a beige box with a very long extension cord Flash would work great as well. If I ever want to drain my Macbook battery I just run two Hulu videos at the same time. 15 mins and it's dead. Flash optimized for Android, optimized for MBA, optimized mobile...they just don't get it.
post #9 of 93
Since I've blocked Flash with ClickToFlash, no more Safari Crashes and browsing is so much faster, plus no unecessary advertising windows distacting me.
What BS that Adobe blames MacOS X for flash crashes. I'm with Steve, current Flash on the Mac is old crap software.
-on my G4/1.25 MDD Tiger X.4.11
post #10 of 93
What set all this off is Ars's study that showed flash installation on MBA ate 33% more battery. That's reason enough to disable flash completely. At least on portable computers and phones
post #11 of 93
does adobe not have access to hardware acceleration? and why not ?
can anyone clear that up for me please ? I remember reading something about it ages ago .. but i'm not clear.
post #12 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by t2af View Post

does adobe not have access to hardware acceleration? and why not ?
can anyone clear that up for me please ? I remember reading something about it ages ago .. but i'm not clear.

They have access. Didn't Steve Jobs call them lazy?
post #13 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldenclaw View Post

I have no idea what that is supposed to mean, in the context of having access to hardware acceleration or otherwise.

It means that enabling hardware acceleration improves battery life and performance on every platform. It's a terrible quote, but I think that's what it means.

Adobe do seem to be trying pretty hard to improve Flash for the Mac, especially considering the relatively small market and the fact that Apple would just as soon see Flash die.

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post #14 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevetim View Post

They have access. Didn't Steve Jobs call them lazy?

Because Mac platform is small, Adobe decided to save effort by coding the program without using any HW acceleration for any Macs.

Now, it seems Adobe has given in. Jobs has won, clearly.
post #15 of 93
Hardware acceleration only helps video while it's playing. Perhaps Adobe can tell me why my fan comes on full, and the CPU usage skyrockets even while a video is paused, or has ended and still happens to be on screen.

And what about non-video flash - how is hardware acceleration going to help there?
post #16 of 93
I love competition especially when a serious player like Apple raises the stakes and makes folks like Adobe sweat!
post #17 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoolook View Post

Adobe do seem to be trying pretty hard to improve Flash for the Mac, especially considering the relatively small market and the fact that Apple would just as soon see Flash die.

The market for the Flash plug-in on OSX may not be large (and OBTW the Adobe CS product split is about 50/50 between OSX and Windows), but this is a huge PR hit that Adobe takes over and over and over and over...

Narayen is doing everything in his power to counter that notion, because Adobe knows that it's that perception that will drive future development away from Flash. It's already happening now. Pathetic, but true.

Oh, and nice of Engadget to do everything in their power to try to give the guy the appearance of credibility...

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post #18 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by KangaMoJo View Post

That's the dumbest statement ever. As long as you have access to hardware acceleration Flash works great? Well as long as I carry around a beige box with a very long extension cord Flash would work great as well. If I ever want to drain my Macbook battery I just run two Hulu videos at the same time. 15 mins and it's dead. Flash optimized for Android, optimized for MBA, optimized mobile...they just don't get it.

Why would you run two Hulu videos at one time. What type of videos; movies or TV shows? For how long? windowed or full screen? Output to a HD TV? Volume level?

While I think that optimizing flash for a specific machine is silly, it is no more ridiculous that your statement regarding running two videos at once.
post #19 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post

Hardware acceleration only helps video while it's playing. Perhaps Adobe can tell me why my fan comes on full, and the CPU usage skyrockets even while a video is paused, or has ended and still happens to be on screen.

And what about non-video flash - how is hardware acceleration going to help there?

While I don't care for flash, my Mac Mini's CPU (2.0Ghz dual core) usage for a flash video only increases (according to Activity Monitor) only about 10-12%. That really isn't skyrocketing.

If you want to someone to take you serious...don't use hyperbole.
post #20 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple does not allow Flash onto its iOS-powered devices, including the iPhone and iPad.

I'm getting tired of reading this without stating what it is that Apple actually restricts on iOS devices.

APPLE DOESN'T ALLOW ANY 3RD PARTY RUN-TIME ENGINES ON IOS DEVICES!

This isn't some Flash only conspiracy that the media and blogosphere love to portray it as. For instance, Silverlight is also not allowed.

Developers *currently* do not have the ability to create any system-wide services or applications. All 3rd party code runs in a sandbox.
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #21 of 93
I've gone to ClickToFlash on all of my Macs. We can only hope that one day Flash dies.
post #22 of 93
I play world of warcraft on my computer, when I minimize the game and load a flash based website, my in game performance drops to 40FPS when I normally get 120-140FPS. Not to mention my cpu cycles kick up to maximum.
post #23 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by GotWake View Post

I've gone to ClickToFlash on all of my Macs. We can only hope that one day Flash dies.

What part of flash? The videos? The adverts? I hope you realize the adverts aren't going anywhere and no matter what format is used (ex. HTML5) for videos or adverts...they still will suck up your CPU usage and battery life. Try taking a look at your Activity Monitor sometime.

I have no problem admitting flash is a problem, but don't think for one second that the other current solutions are any better...they are simply the solution Apple wants to push on us.
post #24 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by zindako View Post

I play world of warcraft on my computer, when I minimize the game and load a flash based website, my in game performance drops to 40FPS when I normally get 120-140FPS. Not to mention my cpu cycles kick up to maximum.

Where in-game? Flash-based adverts or videos? What was your CPU usage before you opened that page? Do a comparison between a flash-based page and an HTML-based page and see again if your CPU usage doesn't go up and your framerate drops.
post #25 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by t2af View Post

does adobe not have access to hardware acceleration? and why not ?

Apple recently provided public APIs in OS X so third-party programs can use hardware accelerated video decode routines. However, for some reason best known to Apple, OS X only supports video decoding in the Nvidia 9400M and 320M integrated GPUs, despite GPUs having at least some form of hardware video decoding for several years now. Go figure.

Having said all that, lack of hardware video decoding in Flash is absolutely no excuse for its utterly piss-poor performance. From a post I made a while back:

Adobe would have you believe that hardware acceleration is a requirement for low CPU usage when decoding video. This is simply untrue. For small mobile devices, video decode in hardware is preferable as it maximises battery life. On computers with more powerful CPUs though, hardware acceleration isn't so important. For example, I watched the 720p version of a youtube clip in my browser (I waited for the whole clip to finish loading before starting playback) - CPU usage = 150%. Then, I downloaded it and played it with VLC (which has no hardware acceleration) - CPU usage = 40 to 50%. I have a 2.4 GHz Penryn Core 2 Duo.
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post #26 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Having said all that, lack of hardware video decoding in Flash is absolutely no excuse for its utterly piss-poor performance. I have shown that for a 720p video on youtube, Flash used about 120% CPU, and VLC player with no hardware decode used about 30%.

Again, this proves that Jobs was correct when he labeled them LAZY
post #27 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

What part of flash? The videos? The adverts? I hope you realize the adverts aren't going anywhere and no matter what format is used (ex. HTML5) for videos or adverts...

Adblock software takes care of the ads. Flash-based or not.

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post #28 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

While I don't care for flash, my Mac Mini's CPU (2.0Ghz dual core) usage for a flash video only increases (according to Activity Monitor) only about 10-12%. That really isn't skyrocketing.

I'm not really on anyone's side here, but my 4 year old MacBook Core Duo uses 70 - 80% CPU when displaying almost ANY Flash Video from YouTube and uses about 25% when in HTML5 mode.

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever for a container to have that kind of overhead. Flash isn't even a codec when it comes to video, it's a freaking container.

Quote:
If you want to someone to take you serious...don't use hyperbole.

If you want someone to take you seriously, don't misuse words. 'Exhaggerate' would have been a better word, and certainly less pretentious.

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post #29 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

it is no more ridiculous that your statement regarding running two videos at once.

Whenever I go to NFL.com and want to see highlights, I am often forced to see two concurrent videos...one an ad at the top of the page with audio, the next one an ad at the start of the highlight, then I'll finally get to see the highlight. With ads in between each highlight.

But yea, it drives me nuts.
post #30 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoolook View Post

I'm not really on anyone's side here, but my 4 year old MacBook Core Duo uses 70 - 80% CPU when displaying almost ANY Flash Video from YouTube and uses about 25% when in HTML5 mode.

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever for a container to have that kind of overhead. Flash isn't even a codec when it comes to video, it's a freaking container.



If you want someone to take you seriously, don't misuse words. 'Exhaggerate' would have been a better word, and certainly less pretentious.


The word is being used correctly. It is your opinion that the word is pretentious.
post #31 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldenclaw View Post

Whenever I go to NFL.com and want to see highlights, I am often forced to see two concurrent videos...one an ad at the top of the page with audio, the next one an ad at the start of the highlight, then I'll finally get to see the highlight. With ads in between each highlight.

But yea, it drives me nuts.

Maybe you should use the Adblock that was mention by another poster above.
post #32 of 93
Flash is perfect just the way it is, isn't it? Where did those crickets come from.

Sounds like the Mission Impossible just ended - and they can no longer deny any knowledge of what Flash actually does in the field.

I recently installed Click to Flash and I am lovin' it. Had one web site that was crashing about every other time I loaded it - with several Flash based Ads being the problem.

Also had the entire system locking up - not kernel panic - just frozen - with audio from iTunes still playing in some cases - or black screen in other cases. I should have kept a log - but seems less so now with Click to Flash installed.
post #33 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

I'm getting tired of reading this without stating what it is that Apple actually restricts on iOS devices.

APPLE DOESN'T ALLOW ANY 3RD PARTY RUN-TIME ENGINES ON IOS DEVICES!

This isn't some Flash only conspiracy that the media and blogosphere love to portray it as. For instance, Silverlight is also not allowed.

Developers *currently* do not have the ability to create any system-wide services or applications. All 3rd party code runs in a sandbox.

Actually, Apple has allowed 3rd party runtimes on iOS.

http://blogs.unity3d.com/2010/09/10/unity-and-ios/
post #34 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostpixel View Post

Actually, Apple has allowed 3rd party runtimes on iOS.

http://blogs.unity3d.com/2010/09/10/unity-and-ios/

Forgive my lack of understanding here - but it looks like Unity is a programming language not a runtime that is interpreting code in a layer the way flash does - opening performance and security concerns. Even if Unity is providing a framework in to facilitate more rapid development by reusing code but ALL the code gets compiled into the App - vs Unity running as a command interpreter which in turn compiles and or runs the user facing App - then it is different.

Again - I do not know nearly enough about how Unity or Flash work - just thinking that there is more than one way to get code to run - where Unity and Flash are perhaps different enough that any policy affecting one does not necessarily apply to the other for specific, definable reasons - and not just marketing or political reasons.
post #35 of 93
I'm confused. Does this mean expect to see improvements in Flash performance across all Mac platforms or only on the MacBook Air?

Adobe must finally realize they are losing the PR battle with Steve, and if they don't do something soon next they will lose the war.
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post #36 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

Flash is perfect just the way it is, isn't it? Where did those crickets come from.

Sounds like the Mission Impossible just ended - and they can no longer deny any knowledge of what Flash actually does in the field.

I recently installed Click to Flash and I am lovin' it. Had one web site that was crashing about every other time I loaded it - with several Flash based Ads being the problem.

Also had the entire system locking up - not kernel panic - just frozen - with audio from iTunes still playing in some cases - or black screen in other cases. I should have kept a log - but seems less so now with Click to Flash installed.

Too bad Click to Flash is only for Safari (I hate Safari as much as I hate Explorer.) I think there are several add-ons for Firefox, but I don't know if Chrome has such an add-on. Hmmm....need to check.
post #37 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

Too bad Click to Flash is only for Safari (I hate Safari as much as I hate Explorer.) I think there are several add-ons for Firefox, but I don't know if Chrome has such an add-on. Hmmm....need to check.

What gruber does in uninstall flash completely. Chrome has an imbedded version of flash. So use safari for most of your browsing, but when you need flash use Chrome. Pretty good advice if you ask me.

I believe gruber even got rid of click to flash because it is no longer available in safari, not sure about that detail.
post #38 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Apple recently provided public APIs in OS X so third-party programs can use hardware accelerated video decode routines....... CPU usage = 150%. Then, I downloaded it and played it with VLC (which has no hardware acceleration) - CPU usage = 40 to 50%. I have a 2.4 GHz Penryn Core 2 Duo.

Thanks, I knew it wasn't as simple as was being made out. If Adobe spent as much time fixing their code as they did complaining to the media, we wouldn't have a problem.
post #39 of 93
Guessing the optimized version will have some kind of processor usage cap that subsequently increases battery life. Meanwhile, Flash performance ends up sucking even harder than usual.
post #40 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by bedouin View Post

Guessing the optimized version will have some kind of processor usage cap that subsequently increases battery life. Meanwhile, Flash performance ends up sucking even harder than usual.

Sounds like an Adobe style of fix...
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