Adobe evangelist lashes out at Apple over iPhone 4.0

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Changes in Apple's iPhone 4.0 developer agreement have sparked passionate outrage from a Flash evangelist which was so intense that Adobe redacted some of his blog comments.



Curiously, Apple made no mention of the wording change or what it might mean to developers during the introduction of iPhone 4.0. The new clause was only discovered by registered iPhone developers, who then leaked the agreement wording to the public with their own interpretation of what it might mean.



Apple has neither clarified nor expanded upon the wording in the new agreement, nor is it likely to do so. Requests for further comment from Apple have as yet received no reply.



Responses from other sources have far more intense. Lee Brimelow, a Platform Evangelist at Adobe who advocates Flash and related Flex and AIR development for the company, posted to The Flash Blog today an entry that began by saying, "new iPhone 4.0 SDK language appears to make creating applications in any non-Apple-approved languages a violation of terms. Obviously Adobe is looking into this wording carefully so I will not comment any further until there is an official conclusion."



Immediately afterward however, Brimelow announced, "What is clear is that Apple has timed this purposely to hurt sales of CS5." One of the primary selling points of CS5 is Flash Professional's touted ability to generate native iPhone apps using the same tools to create Flash content, although there are a variety of other notable new features in the package.



That comment was incendiary enough to prompt Adobe management to ask Brimelow to strike it from his blog entry, which he later did. But Brimelow continued in his criticism, calling the change "a frightening move that has no rational defense other than [Apple] wanting tyrannical control over developers and more importantly, wanting to use developers as pawns in their crusade against Adobe."



Will Unity3D run afoul of the new iPhone 4.0 SDK?



Brimelow also said "This does not just affect Adobe but also other technologies like Unity3D," apparently citing speculation by Mac blogger John Gruber, who explained yesterday that the rule change might not involve Unity3D, but also that it might. (Unity3D is a cross-platform gaming engine that makes it easier to develop titles for a variety of systems, from Macs and PCs to the Wii and iPhone.)



"I originally thought this would ban games written using Unity3D," Gruber wrote, "but perhaps not ? Unity3D produces a complete Xcode project and Objective-C source files, so it?s more like a pre-processor than a cross-compiler. Hard to tell. If you forced me to bet, though, the fact that developers are writing C# code puts Unity3D on the wrong side of this rule."



Brimelow didn't wait for official clarification or even parrot Gruber's uncertainty about how this would all play out. Instead, he described the change as a "hostile and despicable move" by Apple before characterizing his own company by saying, "All we want is to provide creative professionals an avenue to deploy their work to as many devices as possible. We are not looking to kill anything or anyone."



Adobe vs Flash



But it wasn't too long ago that Adobe was itself trying to kill Flash, back when Flash was owned by Macromedia. Adobe supported SVG as an alternative to doing vector graphics on the web, and promoted SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language) as an open specification for presenting multimedia using XML.



Of course, now that Adobe owns Flash, it has dropped all interest in advocating those open standards, because with its acquisition of Macromedia, Adobe also obtained what Brimelow might call "tyrannical control over developers" who create dynamic web content.



Canvas vs Flash



Meanwhile, the most significant threat to Adobe's Flash platform is HTML5's Canvas. Adobe is participating in HTML5 development, but is among those working to split Canvas from the HTML5 specification, a move that would greatly weaken the next version of the web's markup language from delivering the kinds of features that are often currently implemented in Flash.



Another company with less than enthusiastic interest in Canvas is Microsoft, which like Adobe has its own web plugin architecture designed to replace web standards with proprietary binary code that requires a separate runtime. Microsoft will be protecting the interests of Silverlight by releasing Internet Explorer 9 with support for many HTML5 features but lacking an implementation of Canvas.



Canvas was developed by Apple within WebKit to power features like Dashboard widgets. It enables dynamic, scripted rendering of 2D graphics inside of an element that can be embedded in HTML.



Canvas was then adopted by Mozilla and Opera, after which Apple then submitted the technology to WHATWG to become part of the HTML5 specification. While based on Apple-patented technologies, the company has agreed to provide royalty-free patent licensing for Canvas technologies when it becomes part of the official W3C recommendation.



So when Brimelow says his company is "not looking to kill anything or anyone," it can only be because he's either unaware of (or working carefully not to say anything about) HTML5 Canvas. Brimelow might also be selectively forgetting that Adobe, and Macromedia before it, also did nothing for years to deliver either an optimized, functional Flash plugin for the Mac platform or to deliver a mobile version of Flash that actually worked prior to the success of the iPhone.



Brimelow concluded his post by insisting that he "will not be giving Apple another cent of my money until there is a leadership change over there," then announcing that he was not actually trying to organize a boycott, then ending with "go screw yourself Apple," before noting "comments disabled as I?m not interested in hearing from the Cupertino Comment SPAM bots."



Mad about Apple



Brimelow isn't the only person at Adobe upset about Apple. The company has already warned its investors in SEC filings (cited by MacRumors from a Bloomberg report) that "to the extent new releases of operating systems or other third-party products, platforms or devices, such as the Apple iPhone or iPad, make it more difficult for our products to perform, and our customers are persuaded to use alternative technologies, our business could be harmed."



That same report cited Patrick Walravens, an analyst at JMP Securities in San Francisco, as saying, "Adobe?s goal has been to make it so people can create content once and it can be delivered across all platforms -- that?s the pitch and Apple is trying to derail that effort."



Of course, the reality is that content for mobiles and desktop system and multitouch tablets simply can't be delivered by a "one size fits all" platform, which is why Apple has separate development targets and Human Interface Guidelines for the iPhone, iPad and the Mac.



The report also stated Adobe's position that "more than 96 percent of U.S. Web surfers have Flash installed on their computers, according to researcher StatOwl," without noting that the iPhone now accounts for more than 60% of all smartphone traffic globally, while the iPod touch accounts for nearly all (93%) of web traffic among "mobile Internet devices." It's not hard to guess that iPad will similarly account for most "tablet" web traffic.



Having locked up the PC browser market, Adobe has a very strong position in controlling how interactive content is delivered. But having no showing at all in the mobile properties Apple has created is a serious problem, one Adobe needs more than angry rhetoric to fight against.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 273
    adamiigsadamiigs Posts: 355member
    suck it



    Steve



    Sent from my iPad
  • Reply 2 of 273
    I've never seen a code generator that created halfway decent code. In order to create churn out multi-platform crap, you've got to work toward the lowest common denominator.



    This IS NOT what Apple is about. If you want to write code to work efficiently in a constrained environment like a Smart Phone or iPod Touch, you've got to learn the tool set and conform to best practices.



    Maybe it's harder, maybe it's a barrier to entry, but that's just the way it is.
  • Reply 3 of 273
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Having locked up the PC browser market, Adobe has a very strong position in controlling how interactive content is delivered. But having no showing at all in the mobile properties Apple has created is a serious problem, one Adobe needs more than angry rhetoric to fight against.



    Adobe is now in BIG trouble. They are going down.
  • Reply 4 of 273
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Arthur_Klok View Post


    Adobe is now in BIG trouble. They are going down.



    Future = Cloud

    Cloud Access = Mobile Devices



    Adobe = Toast
  • Reply 5 of 273
    Well, it's his job on the line when people start using real dev environments instead of script city. As I have said, this will be settled easily. If Apple sells devices without Flash, and they fail in the marketplace, we might look into them not having Flash. But if Apple sells devices and they do fine on the market, then perhaps Adobe is full of BS when they tell us Flash is so important to the Internet.
  • Reply 6 of 273
    ihxoihxo Posts: 562member
    The only way Adobe can pull off letting people use windows version of AIR to create iPhone app is those things are basically flash bundled with the runtime environment.



    Now please go back to the drawing board, and make something that's not crap.
  • Reply 7 of 273
    celcocelco Posts: 211member
    Seriously guys make some hardware and see if you will lets others run software on it. Adobe frankly doesn't get it. Flash is one of the web's worst ideas and should be allowed to die. Canvas, and Jquery are proof that Flash is like a 1990s pop song, eye candy, without purpose and crap. Adobe, you screwed mac users with CS suite interface built for the PC and "just" ported for mac, and now you want us mac users again? WE DONT WANT YOU.
  • Reply 8 of 273
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    Quite refreshing indeed!! A thread on AI where people can fight back and forth ad infinitum over the pros and cons of FLASH. Whheeeee!
  • Reply 9 of 273
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,202member
  • Reply 10 of 273
    elrothelroth Posts: 1,201member
    Brimelow's job title at Adobe is "Platform Evangelist"? That's hilarious.
  • Reply 11 of 273
    vinney57vinney57 Posts: 1,162member
    Steve's iPad 'Garden of Perfection' will not be sullied with the stench of cross-compilers.



    (It makes my life a little harder but its perfectly understandable)



    All philosophical and business arguments aside, anybody who understands how the Cocoa frameworks function can see why they have done this. Pretty well everything you use (numbers, text, constants etc) has to be wrapped in a Cocoa object and that allows all sorts of magic to occur behind the scenes; now including multi-tasking, state saving etc. Cross compiled code breaks the object tracking and Apple are having none of it.
  • Reply 12 of 273
    ihxoihxo Posts: 562member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by elroth View Post


    Brimelow's job title at Adobe is "Platform Evangelist"? That's hilarious.



    Yeah, basically a preacher for a company. Or some people call it sales representative.
  • Reply 13 of 273
    prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cczaphod View Post


    Future = Cloud

    Cloud Access = Mobile Devices



    Adobe = Toast



    It's kinda sad though. Adobe wouldn't be toast at all if they just refocussed on what they actually claim to be their goals which is enabling professional content creators to create content on whatever platforms they need to in the most efficient, platform agnostic way possible. Today that means HTML 5 and delivering decent, reasonably priced content creation tools for Mac OS-X. They just aren't even trying to do that.



    The ironic thing is that almost the only thing that will keep traditional desktop systems in existence is the fact that all the content *creation* (or the creation of any consequence at least), will still have to be done on desktop computers. This is Adobe's niche basically.



    It's their choice as to whether they go down in flames, or simply do what they claim to want to do and live on. CS suite has sucked on the Mac for several years now and no competitors of any note have come forward yet (except perhaps Pixelmator). Adobe should consider themselves lucky that no one has ate their lunch to date and buckle down and do some real work for a change.
  • Reply 14 of 273
    stashmanstashman Posts: 90member
    Adobe (and before Macromedia) has been flogging buggy versions of Flash player and equally buggy development tools to Mac users for years. They have always had a strong bias towards Windows and treated Mac users like second class citizens. I think it's great that Apple is standing up and saying F**k You we don't want your crap software anyway.
  • Reply 15 of 273
    grkinggrking Posts: 533member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mark Fearing View Post


    Well, it's his job on the line when people start using real dev environments instead of script city. As I have said, this will be settled easily. If Apple sells devices without Flash, and they fail in the marketplace, we might look into them not having Flash. But if Apple sells devices and they do fine on the market, then perhaps Adobe is full of BS when they tell us Flash is so important to the Internet.



    Most consumers do not know what flash is. If you asked the average consumer the following questions you will probably get the following answers



    1. Do you know that the iPhone/iPad will not play flash, I am willing to bet that 90% will give you a blank stare.



    2. Do you know that you cannot current watch Hulu on the iPhone/iPad - 90% of the people would probably say no.



    OTOH, I am willing to bet that more than a few people will be annoyed that they cannot play Flash video or games when they find out. However, I dont think it will be a deal breaker for many people because these are multipurpose devices.



    Most people do not buy these items because of Flash/no Flash - it is simply not an issue for most people, because the devices do so much more than that.
  • Reply 16 of 273
    grkinggrking Posts: 533member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Stashman View Post


    Adobe (and before Macromedia) has been flogging buggy versions of Flash player and equally buggy development tools to Mac users for years. They have always had a strong bias towards Windows and treated Mac users like second class citizens. I think it's great that Apple is standing up and saying F**k You we don't want your crap software anyway.



    The thing is, that is Adobe's decision because Flash is their product, just as Apple has the right to restrict what can and can't go on the iPhone or iPad.



    I do not understand why people get so pissed at either Adobe or Apple when they make a business decision like this. It is their product to do with as they please, and if you do not like it, then buy a different product.
  • Reply 17 of 273
    grkinggrking Posts: 533member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    It's their choice as to whether they go down in flames, or simply do what they claim to want to do and live on. CS suite has sucked on the Mac for several years now and no competitors of any note have come forward yet (except perhaps Pixelmator). Adobe should consider themselves lucky that no one has ate their lunch to date and buckle down and do some real work for a change.



    You are right, it is their choice, and if they choose to produce a second rate product for the Mac, why complain?



    I doubt you would argue that Apple should be forced to allow low level graphics access for hardware acceleration to improve performance, so why should Adobe be forced to make a good Mac version if they do not want to.
  • Reply 18 of 273
    g3prog3pro Posts: 669member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by elroth View Post


    Brimelow's job title at Adobe is "Platform Evangelist"? That's hilarious.



    Guy Kawasaki was an Apple Evangelist for many years.
  • Reply 19 of 273
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ihxo View Post


    Yeah, basically a preacher for a company. Or some people call it sales representative.



    Sort of. The first company "evangelist" that I know about was Guy Kawasaki, the Mac software evangelist for Apple during the '80s. His job was to convince developers to create software for the Mac. Since then the concept of a company evangelist has spread. The odd part is how far Brimelow seems to have wandered off the reservation. An evangelist is supposed to be upbeat and positive, to be a salesman and a sweet talker, to spread the "good word" about his company's products -- not to tear anybody a new one. They've got CEOs to do that, and lawyers if necessary. I'm going to guess that Brimelow's days at Adobe are numbered.
  • Reply 20 of 273
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,214moderator
    I don't think we should automatically assume Apple has the upper-hand here. If Adobe's CS Suite wasn't available for the Mac platform, I bet a lot less people would be using the platform.



    If Apple threaten Adobe's business, Adobe can do far more damage in reverse. Obviously it affects their business somewhat initially too but it won't be long-lasting.



    I really don't see why there has to be such a huge problem - the tech industry always seems to fight towards problems than find solutions. Adobe are well known as the best company for content creation software. If they simply took on board Apple's Canvas addition to the HTML 5 spec and developed software like Flash but using Javascript instead of Actionscript, how would they lose money?



    If anything, they'd make more money because designers would be able to build entire sites by themselves in the software without learning code and know that their site is standards compliant. Device manufacturers don't have to wait for hardware-acceleration support, they can build it in themselves.



    It's not an overnight deal but if Adobe can change 60 million lines of code in one year in a CS update, they can pull this off too.



    It may require converging Dreamweaver and software like the Flash app but it would help sell the CS 5 Suite way more than iPhone targeting from the Flash software. It should even be able to fulfill that role as they'd be able to publish apps that run on webkit's HTML 5 and Javascript interpreter and they will work on any HTML 5 compliant platform - Nexus One, Droid, iPhone, iPod, iPad, Blackberry, all netbooks/laptops/desktops running Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari and every OS - that's not more than the Flash install base (thanks once again Internet Explorer for the lack of standards support) but it's a big market and a potential way to kill IE too. Developers can all accelerate it as fast as they want, which is more than they can do with a Flash plugin.



    Like I say, if they'd all just try and work together on this stuff, it would be easier in the end for publishers and consumers who are the only ones that really matter in all this. It's not about a pissing content between companies to see who actually has the last word, it's about providing business solutions that generate revenue and keep the web interesting and the constant bickering is helping no one.



    Adobe's products are mostly closed off and that's not good for the future of the web, nor are plugins. It should never have been allowed to go this far to have nearly all web video dependent on a single company. Adobe just need to do the smartest thing and play along. They will come off better for it in the end.
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