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Flash on the iPhone again sounding like wishful thinking

post #1 of 80
Thread Starter 
Two weeks ago it sounded like Adobe was rounding a corner on its way to delivering Flash for the iPhone, but new comments from the software maker are anything but reassuring.

An Adobe spokeswoman told Dow Jones Tuesday (today) that Flash Lite needs more help from Apple than iPhone maker has traditionally afforded its developers. She then refused to confirm whether Apple and Adobe are working together, possibly signaling that the two are not working as closely as previously thought.

Late last month, Adobe chief Shantanu Narayen said the iPhone maker was collaborating with his company on a "hard technical challenge." His comment, "The onus is on [Adobe] to deliver," seems to disagree with the spokeswoman's assertion that Adobe still needs more help.

The software maker recently released a new version of Flash Lite that supports high definition videos, but not the iPhone.

Apple declined comment for the Dow Jones report; however, its continuing reticence to help Flash Lite along should come as no surprise. The Cupertino-based iPhone maker has long encouraged developers to use open standards on the device in an effort to promote interoperability and cross platform independence for the next generation of internet applications.

The iPhone and Mac maker has been disappointed in the past with Adobe prioritizing its Windows plug-in at the expense of the Mac version, which fell behind in performance and features. Apple was likely trying to avoid the same problems spilling over to the iPhone, backing up Steve Jobs' criticisms of the "too slow" desktop version and the crippled capability of Flash Lite, which can't fully run content written for the desktop. It could also be prone to memory leaks and overworking the processor.

An Apple developer document published two Junes ago listed Flash as an "unsupported technology" and told devs, "You'll want to avoid using Flash and Java for iPhone content. You'll also want to avoid encouraging users to download the latest Flash on their iPhone, because neither Flash nor downloads are supported by Safari on iPhone."

The guidelines went on to recommend CSS, JavaScript, and Ajax instead. Apple has taken up an effort to remove Flash from its own corporate site and other products, and it teamed with Google to use the H.264 standard instead of Flash on the iPhone's YouTube app.

Taken together, these signs suggest an iPhone with Flash support is highly unlikely despite Adobe's persistence.

For more, see the AppleInsider series Flash Wars.
post #2 of 80
Google, Palm, Mozilla, and Apple are all working to improve javascript engines and building new javascript frameworks. Adobe is essentially working on Flash all by itself.

Adobe sees its outgunned and is fighting to keep Flash relevant in the future.
post #3 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Google, Palm, Mozilla, and Apple are all working to improve javascript engines and building new javascript frameworks. Adobe is essentially working on Flash all by itself.

Adobe sees its outgunned and is fighting to keep Flash relevant in the future.

And Mozilla gets a bulk of its income from Google...
post #4 of 80
Until Adobe can actually optimize flash so it is not a CPU hog I don't think Flash should be on the iPhone. If it were, iPhone batteries would be sucked dry very quickly. With some mobile surfing, people would be left wondering why their iPhone is only holding a charge for one or two hours.
post #5 of 80
Flash is evil. Death to Flash!
post #6 of 80
I don't miss flash on the iPhone at all. Even browsing the web on my PC laptop I have flash disabled as its a PITA.

IF, adobe can sort its shit out and release an optimised version of flash for ALL platforms this would be best but, tbh, Adobe seem incapable of releasing anything that is optimised.

post #7 of 80
Sounds like they're having a hell of a time trying to get bloated code to run on a phone without draining the battery in 5 minutes without having to completely rewrite everything.

I guess that's what happens when you save it until the last minute.

Then again, I really don't miss those dancing chick banner ads telling me I can get 0% financing on my next mortgage.
post #8 of 80
I'd say Flash on iPhone is still perfectly likely in future.... but ONLY if Adobe solves the problems:

* Not slow
* Not a power hog
* Not the buggiest part of the browser
* Not crippled/Lite (but a "video-only" plugin might still be useful)

I'd expect Apple to be open to Flash support if those hurdles were cleared by Adobe.

My main desire for Flash was for my own site... which is now redone so that iPhone users get WebKit CSS animation while everyone else gets Flash. Kind of a pain to do that, but it's done now.
post #9 of 80
Nothing in this post provides any information to validate the claim made by the title. The comments made by the spokeswoman is just a rehash of what has already been made known. Less hogwash, more facts.
post #10 of 80
Apple should really just let Adobe release Flash through the AppStore. Then when enough people download it and see how much it sucks, they'll get rid of it and accept that Steve was right all along. Some really bad press about Flash killing battery life on mobiles would be the best news for open standards.
post #11 of 80
So what happen to the posters that said that Apple was lying about Flash; that it would work great on the iPhone as is; that it would be a simple port if Apple allowed it?
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post #12 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Then again, I really don't miss those dancing chick banner ads telling me I can get 0% financing on my next mortgage.

Ha! That's hillarious, you (or anyone) being able to get another mortgage...
post #13 of 80
I could care less if Flash ever makes it to the iPhone....

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post #14 of 80
I hate Flash. I wish it stayed on the desktop and not on websites. I wish all web developers would stop using it.
post #15 of 80
Apple's efforts to support web standards such as HTML, JavaScript, and CSS are admirable, but these technologies will only go so far for delivering rich internet applications (RIAs). The problem is that those technologies are limited insofar as providing rich technology, especially media and animations. There isn't a standard runtime environment, since there are several different browsers to test against. The major problem is Internet Explorer, including IE 6, which is just an absolute pain to test against (I know, I used to be a web developer).

Unless IE can be wiped off the face of the Earth and all browsers can score 100% on Acid3, these problems will remain with standard technologies. Given that Microsoft is at the same time improving IE and refusing to implement SVG, coding to one set of web standards will not be enough to ensure cross-browser applications.

On the other, RIA frameworks like Flash offer one runtime, and one test environment. All RIA applications run identically across browsers and operating systems.

There are 3 RIA frameworks:

1) Flash/Flex
2) Silverlight
3) JavaFX

The problem with Flash is that it sucks computing resources like crazy, despite claims that it's a "smaller, more efficient" runtime than Java. It's closed source and proprietary. There's no mobile component that works off the same runtime (Flash Lite requires totally different applications to be written).

The problem with Silverlight is that it's supported by Microsoft, and developers need to be part of the Microsoft ecosystem. Linux is not officially supported as a platform, except for the unauthorized Moonlight/Mono hack. It's also closed-source and proprietary. There's no mobile component.

With JavaFX, Apple has a chance to support the most open RIA framework. Parts of JavaFX, including the compiler, have been open sourced, with more to follow. What's more, the runtime for the mobile and desktop versions of the framework are the same, with some different APIs between the two environments.

Apple's going to have to invest in an RIA technology sooner or later.
post #16 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Google, Palm, Mozilla, and Apple are all working to improve javascript engines and building new javascript frameworks. Adobe is essentially working on Flash all by itself.

Adobe sees its outgunned and is fighting to keep Flash relevant in the future.

Fast javascript + SVG will do for the fancy 2D animated features in the future.

The HTML5 video tag will replace flash for the video uses online.

The most useful thing that Adobe could do is provide a flash video codec for the iPhone, and then Apple could parse flash video files to extract the video and show it without any of the flash gumpf.

The most annoying thing recently are streaming video flash adverts. Why? What a complete waste of bandwidth. They play automatically as well. Flash used to be neat, now it's a noose on the internet.
post #17 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by JavaCowboy View Post

Apple's going to have to invest in an RIA technology sooner or later.

I think that's called "writing an iPhone application".

There's nothing stopping you calling web services directly from your native application, that's how applications like blogging tools and the like work. I'd hope that the iPhone has HTTP Client classes, or at least SOAP classes. This is also how Android works (although they just needed to port the simple Java HTTPClient API).
post #18 of 80
flash as said above is irrelevent, it won't go on the iphone....once-twice-20 times bitten--really shy....apple doesn't need flash. open standards are what apple wants...gee at barcelona all these iphone wannabe's talk about how closed apple is, gee lightning should strike such liars and their phone messes they push.
i don't want flash, iphone is the new paradigm, and let them use open standards as suggested by apple. adobe is fightling to overcome its ignoring apple for so long.
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post #19 of 80
As I said above it isn't only Apple working on javascript, Google, Mozilla, Palm are also heavily invested.

The ability to make rich internet applications, media playback, and animation is being worked on. It will come as their is more development being invested in javascript than in Flash.

Internet Explorer does not hold the position as the gateway browser it once did. IE's dominnance on the desktop is quickly waning. IE has no position on mobile devices. As we go into the future IE will have little to no power to dictate which frameworks are used.

The fact that javascript is divided into different test environments at this point is a strength as the major developers are in competition to leap frog each other in improving javascript speed and performance. That competition effectively pushes javascript to a place where it can supplant and replace Flash.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JavaCowboy View Post

Apple's efforts to support web standards such as HTML, JavaScript, and CSS are admirable, but these technologies will only go so far for delivering rich internet applications (RIAs). The problem is that those technologies are limited insofar as providing rich technology, especially media and animations. There isn't a standard runtime environment, since there are several different browsers to test against. The major problem is Internet Explorer, including IE 6, which is just an absolute pain to test against (I know, I used to be a web developer).

Unless IE can be wiped off the face of the Earth and all browsers can score 100% on Acid3, these problems will remain with standard technologies. Given that Microsoft is at the same time improving IE and refusing to implement SVG, coding to one set of web standards will not be enough to ensure cross-browser applications.

On the other, RIA frameworks like Flash offer one runtime, and one test environment. All RIA applications run identically across browsers and operating systems.
post #20 of 80
It can be argued that when HTML/CSS/javascript have the same capability they will be used exactly the same way.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

The most annoying thing recently are streaming video flash adverts. Why? What a complete waste of bandwidth. They play automatically as well. Flash used to be neat, now it's a noose on the internet.
post #21 of 80
Considering the shoddy attitude and commitment Adobe has had towards Mac users for the last decade, I'm not the least bit sympathetic to their frustration with Flash & the iPhone. From installers that don't work to dropping Mac support on new software releases to charging equal price on Mac versions of programs lacking same features on the Windows versions, Adobe can sit & spin for all I care.

Even the latest CS4 is a ridiculous money grab by Adobe considering its poor new features or overdue fixes. More importantly, Adobe has done little to advance Flash or any other products it acquired in its purchase of Macromedia a few years back.

That Adobe feels slighted by Apple's lack of interest in helping Flash get on the iPhone is nothing more than a good old "taste of your own medicine", IMHO. I honestly hope Flash never gets on the iPhone...at least that will be one place where I don't have to worry about Adobe!!

/
post #22 of 80
Feh! Flash on the iPhone/iPod touch is irrelevant. Don't need it.

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post #23 of 80
I'd still love to know why on my iBook G4 (but never on my iMac, Mac Pro or MacBook) I get a Flash ad from this very blog when I reply. I have everything set identically on the iBook G4 but any time I reply I get the Flash Ad. Hey AppleInsider how do i stop it as my poor little iBook G4 hates it! I don't want to get in touch with my school friends, really!
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post #24 of 80
Flash has three major uses: video, fullscreen websites, interactive content and ads.

1) Video is Flash is horrible, and is best supported through standard routines that can be hardware accelerated (MPEG-2, H.264, etc)
2) Fullscreen websites are pointless on most mobile platforms as you don't have a mouse and the keyboard is way too small.
3) Interactive content is best left to a desktop.
4) Flash ads are annoying.
post #25 of 80
Quote:
Apple should really just let Adobe release Flash through the AppStore. Then when enough people download it and see how much it sucks, they'll get rid of it

That's exactly what Adobe wants - a foot in the door. People will complain, and Adobe will string them along with promises of a better version.

I think everyone at Adobe must have custom 32-core 8Ghz machines with 10TB of RAM. How else would you account for their software's utter lack of performance? Does any Mac user actually use Acrobat any more?
post #26 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

That's exactly what Adobe wants - a foot in the door. People will complain, and Adobe will string them along with promises of a better version.

I think everyone at Adobe must have custom 32-core 8Ghz machines with 10TB of RAM. How else would you account for their software's utter lack of performance? Does any Mac user actually use Acrobat any more?

I for one removed Reader from every Mac I have ages ago. I prefer Preview by far.
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post #27 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I for one removed Reader from every Mac I have ages ago. I prefer Preview by far.

here here!
post #28 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Then again, I really don't miss those dancing chick banner ads telling me I can get 0% financing on my next mortgage.

that's why we use firefox with noscript. all the other browsers are useless.
post #29 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

I think that's called "writing an iPhone application".

There's nothing stopping you calling web services directly from your native application, that's how applications like blogging tools and the like work. I'd hope that the iPhone has HTTP Client classes, or at least SOAP classes. This is also how Android works (although they just needed to port the simple Java HTTPClient API).

How does this solve the problem of RIAs on the desktop?
post #30 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by JavaCowboy View Post

Apple's efforts to support web standards such as HTML, JavaScript, and CSS are admirable, but these technologies will only go so far for delivering rich internet applications (RIAs). ...

You are obviously both a smart and experienced guy, so I'm not going to attempt to pick apart your argument, which is solid as far as it goes.

I would disagree with your base assumption though, that so-called RIA's are useful and necessary and that Apple "has to pick one" eventually. I just don't see it.

The only RIA's (true ones) that I can think of seeing in any kind of mainstream context are Flash games. In the new mobile environment, Flash games are simply lame next to anything the platform (especially the iPhone platform) can do natively. When you add in the app store distribution and the instant "download and run from anywhere" aspect, I don't see that Flash based games are anything but destined for the scrap heap. In a world where you can download and install an app on your mobile quicker than an RIA can load in the webpage, the RIA is just not going to win.

I would argue that all the other uses of Flash have either fallen by the wayside over the last few years or been supplanted in whole or in part by other emergent technologies. For instance, there was a time when every single website had a Flash intro screen, and many still exist but they are definitely "on the wane" as it were. Even when they were popular (if they could ever be said to be so), most eyes were only scanning for the "skip intro" button in order to avoid them.

Flash is mostly used now to display video, but there are many other emerging options there as well. The way the iPhone handles YouTube is but one example, and it is Apple's pushing of the h264 standard that is most responsible there. If not for tha,t it's arguable that Adobe would never have started pushing it themselves.

Recent additions to WebKit and CSS standards, HTML5 etc. have already created an environment wherein the majority of what used to be Flash animations, intros and splash screens can be replicated. Most of these used nothing more than a few sliding/moving elements for which Flash was serious overkill. This too will accelerate in the near future and is not a technology "standing still" as Flash (more or less) is.

IMO by the time Flash optimises it's code to the point where it becomes attractively "speedy" again, they will already be almost completely supplanted by other emerging technology.
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post #31 of 80
Yes, IE isn't as dominant as it used to be, but it is still the majority browser market share holder by far. Put it this way: have you seen any web developers other than Google with Gmail who refused to totally support the abomination that is IE 6? My employer still requires us to use only IE 6 at work (I'm unofficially using Firefox), even IE 7 downloads are prohibited.

As long as IE 6 has over a 10% market share, it will have to be supported. What's more, IE 7 isn't exactly standards compliant either, and it still has tons of market share.

With Windows on 80%-85% of desktops, it'll be hard to convince most computer users to switch to other browsers, given that most people don't exactly go out of their way to acquire alternative technologies. Why do you think Google is pushing Chrome to OEMs so hard, having removed the "beta" label, even though it's still Windows-only. It's because Google knows that development of its web tools (with Google Web Toolkit, an AJAX-JavaScript toolkit) will be stalled so long as they have to support any version of IE.

IE is not going away anytime soon. Until it does, non-RIA web development is going to be too painful to advance as quickly as it needs to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

As I said above it isn't only Apple working on javascript, Google, Mozilla, Palm are also heavily invested.

The ability to make rich internet applications, media playback, and animation is being worked on. It will come as their is more development being invested in javascript than in Flash.

Internet Explorer does not hold the position as the gateway browser it once did. IE's dominnance on the desktop is quickly waning. IE has no position on mobile devices. As we go into the future IE will have little to no power to dictate which frameworks are used.

The fact that javascript is divided into different test environments at this point is a strength as the major developers are in competition to leap frog each other in improving javascript speed and performance. That competition effectively pushes javascript to a place where it can supplant and replace Flash.
post #32 of 80
I'd prefer a flash to Flash on the iPhone.
post #33 of 80
Thank you.

I agree that new web standards will go a long way towards reducing the need for RIA's like Flash. However, there are two problems with your argument:

1) Internet Explorer won't implement many of these new technologies, including SVG graphics.
2) The latest standard technologies (HTML 5, new CSS animations, etc) can only go so far for functions like charting, animations, grids, and other applications that businesses need for complex RIA's.

That's why I'm in the JavaFX camp. Open technologies are better than closed ones, and JavaFX is the open RIA technology to bet on.

Yes, I am biased, since I'm a Java developer as well as a Sun fan. However, Apple and Sun have far more in common than you think, and certainly have far less in common with Adobe than they don't have in common with each other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

You are obviously both a smart and experienced guy, so I'm not going to attempt to pick apart your argument, which is solid as far as it goes.

I would disagree with your base assumption though, that so-called RIA's are useful and necessary and that Apple "has to pick one" eventually. I just don't see it.

The only RIA's (true ones) that I can think of seeing in any kind of mainstream context are Flash games. In the new mobile environment, Flash games are simply lame next to anything the platform (especially the iPhone platform) can do natively. When you add in the app store distribution and the instant "download and run from anywhere" aspect, I don't see that Flash based games are anything but destined for the scrap heap. In a world where you can download and install an app on your mobile quicker than an RIA can load in the webpage, the RIA is just not going to win.

I would argue that all the other uses of Flash have either fallen by the wayside over the last few years or been supplanted in whole or in part by other emergent technologies. For instance, there was a time when every single website had a Flash intro screen, and many still exist but they are definitely "on the wane" as it were. Even when they were popular (if they could ever be said to be so), most eyes were only scanning for the "skip intro" button in order to avoid them.

Flash is mostly used now to display video, but there are many other emerging options there as well. The way the iPhone handles YouTube is but one example, and it is Apple's pushing of the h264 standard that is most responsible there. If not for tha,t it's arguable that Adobe would never have started pushing it themselves.

Recent additions to WebKit and CSS standards, HTML5 etc. have already created an environment wherein the majority of what used to be Flash animations, intros and splash screens can be replicated. Most of these used nothing more than a few sliding/moving elements for which Flash was serious overkill. This too will accelerate in the near future and is not a technology "standing still" as Flash (more or less) is.

IMO by the time Flash optimises it's code to the point where it becomes attractively "speedy" again, they will already be almost completely supplanted by other emerging technology.
post #34 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by JavaCowboy View Post

Yes, IE isn't as dominant as it used to be, but it is still the majority browser market share holder by far. Put it this way: have you seen any web developers other than Google with Gmail who refused to totally support the abomination that is IE 6? My employer still requires us to use only IE 6 at work (I'm unofficially using Firefox), even IE 7 downloads are prohibited.

Supporting IE 6 because of legacy is different from IE 6 guiding what frameworks will be used in the future.

Quote:
With Windows on 80%-85% of desktops, it'll be hard to convince most computer users to switch to other browsers, given that most people don't exactly go out of their way to acquire alternative technologies. Why do you think Google is pushing Chrome to OEMs so hard, having removed the "beta" label, even though it's still Windows-only. It's because Google knows that development of its web tools (with Google Web Toolkit, an AJAX-JavaScript toolkit) will be stalled so long as they have to support any version of IE.

Actually IE's marketshare has dropped to 67%. The erosion of IE's marketshare by Firefox and Safari is accelerating every quarter. Its very likely by the end of '09 IE will be at 50%. Chrome has grabbed itself 1.12% in only a few months of use.

The majority of the near future internet growth isn't about the PC at all. Internet growth will come from mobile devices, of which IE has no control at all. That is why Adobe is trying hard with the Open Screen Project to gain a firm footing on handsets.
post #35 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

When you add in the app store distribution and the instant "download and run from anywhere" aspect, I don't see that Flash based games are anything but destined for the scrap heap. In a world where you can download and install an app on your mobile quicker than an RIA can load in the webpage, the RIA is just not going to win.

I rarely if ever disagree with any of your comments but I would like to point out that a web page offers the advantage of context. Instead of jumping out of the page into another environment to see the video, game or interactive application, the user stays on the site which is good for revenue if stickiness is your objective. In that perspective RIA rules as far as desktop browsing is concerned.

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post #36 of 80
HTML/CSS/javascript are all open technologies. JavaFX still belongs to Sun, they have expressed the intention to release it an open software.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JavaCowboy View Post

That's why I'm in the JavaFX camp. Open technologies are better than closed ones, and JavaFX is the open RIA technology to bet on.
post #37 of 80
F*** flash, let me get that GPS though!

and landscaped keyboard for SMS, that's all I ask.
post #38 of 80
More than an intention.

The compiler and parts of the graphics libraries and tools are already open source (GPL 2).

https://openjfx.dev.java.net/

Quote:
Open Source

Sun is committed to open source as part of its business model. Key elements of JavaFX are in open source today, and provide customers and partners the proven benefits and security of vendor independence and lower total cost of ownership.

The JavaFX compiler, parts of the graphics libraries and tools are available now from the OpenJFX (http://openjfx.org) web site, under the GPL 2.0 open source license.

The JavaFX compiler and JavaFX tools will continue to be developed in the open and the current JavaFX Preview SDK libraries will remain on openjfx.java.sun.com. Sun is committed to delivering enhancements to the JavaFX platform and to this end will continue internal development and reconcile key elements with the open source builds, with future releases of the JavaFX platform.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

HTML/CSS/javascript are all open technologies. JavaFX still belongs to Sun, they have expressed the intention to release it an open software.
post #39 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by JavaCowboy View Post

Apple's going to have to invest in an RIA technology sooner or later.

They're investing in HTML 5.0 and related tech.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML_5
post #40 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I rarely if ever disagree with any of your comments but I would like to point out that a web page offers the advantage of context. Instead of jumping out of the page into another environment to see the video, game or interactive application, the user stays on the site which is good for revenue if stickiness is your objective. In that perspective RIA rules as far as desktop browsing is concerned.

True enough. And of course I perhaps exaggerated a bit on the speed but they are "fast becoming" comparable at least.

I was also talking from the point of view of the end consumer, but you are right, for the entity promoting the games, such stickiness is ideal. I was addicted to "BoxerJam" myself for a short nasty period a few years ago and wasted much time there.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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