Thursday, April 29, 2010

Response to Apple on Flash

I have heard little snide comments from Steve Jobs about how he feels about Flash. But releasing an official statement online has led me to respond with my feelings about Apple on Flash.

As much as I do not like Flash, I have to disagree with Apple a couple points made.

If you don't think a product should be supported, stop supporting it, including on your desktop platform. Apple is not really expressing its feelings about Flash. Apple is simply saying what is currently good for Apple at the moment. Be prepared for Apple to change its views at any given time, depending on what product they are selling at the moment.

Apple wouldn't dare upset its customer base by removing Flash support from its desktop OS. They can somewhat get away with not adding to iPhones and iPads what it has never had (but apparently not so, as per the reason to make this public announcement).

Steve Jobs mentions the re-design of software for the iPad or iPhone. Web pages are not designed to take advantage of multi-touch. Therefore, HTML and the current set of web browsers are just as 'bad' for mobile devices as Flash. Perhaps HTML5 addresses multi-touch capabilities. I don't know.

However, last I checked, it is not only Flash that handles "roll-overs;" also Javascript and pretty much every GUI API I have ever used. I can think of adding pressure sensitivity to touch displays in addition to touch capacitance. Perhaps this would change the idea of touch roll overs. But, it would slightly alter how people use the current set of popular touch screen devices--that would be bad for Apple. I assume someone has already patented this idea and it's probably not Apple.

Third party development kits are good for developers. For one, it allows them to write their software on multiple platforms, providing more sales, software ubiquity, and less work to make that happen. Two, it should create a healthy competition between platforms--if one provides features that the other doesn't, that platform is pushed to either adapt or adopt the other feature.

But, clearly Apple does not like competition. Jobs says that the third party approach prevents developers from using the "innovative" features that are only on their platforms. Perhaps if Apple did not patent things, such as mobile devices with multi-touch screen capability, it would not be an issue.

No, Mr. Jobs, everyone does not benefit--how altruistically conceited you are. The only people who truly benefit from a closed approach, such as Apple, is the company itself--not the customers--certainly not 'everyone,' implying only if everyone used Apple products and nothing else. Wouldn't that be great? No?