No Flash for You: Dissecting Steve Jobs’ Flash Explanation

flash-steve-jobsAdobe has had its words over Apple snubbing Flash on the iPad. And now Steve Jobs has had his.

In a small “town-hall-style” meeting within Apple following the launch of the iPad last week, Jobs apparently told employees that Flash would soon be made obsolete by HTML5, and that it’s too buggy, obviating the need for it in the iPad.

While there’s a kernel of truth to both assertions, Jobs’ cocky Flash-bashing still seems to miss the point on both accounts.

The distant future doesn’t matter. We need Flash now.

Is HTML5 the future? Almost certainly. For instance, both YouTube and Vimeo have rolled out HTML5 betas that let you skirt Flash and use HTML5 instead. Even Google’s controversial Google Voice app for the iPhone – which is actually not an app but a sophisticated Web page – uses HTML5. Clearly, HTML5 has legs, and it’s coming soon.

But “coming soon” doesn’t cut it. It could be years until we see HTML5 roll out in full force. The team developing HTML5 doesn’t even expect it to receive the first level of recommendation from the World Wide Web Consortium (the group that governs international Web standards,) until 2012. According to them, the third and final maturity recommendation likely won’t occur until 2022.

apple-ipad-no-flash-2Meanwhile, the Apple iPad will launch in less than 60 days.

Parts of HTML5 will be useable before that – and even work now – but opting for a work in progress seems hypocritical while you simultaneously bash its predecessor for unreliability. “There is no real test suite, there are many parts of the spec that are lacking real implementations, there are big parts that aren’t interoperable, and the spec has hundreds if not thousands of known errors that haven’t been fixed,” HTML5 developer WHATWG writes in its own wiki entry.

Even if HTML5 clicked over to final, perfect and unchangeable specifications today, Flash would remain a live part of the Web for years to come, making Steve Jobs’ tunnel vision even sillier.

We’ll live with crashes.

We can’t verify Apple’s assertion that the majority of OS X crashes are due to Flash – the company keeps all its Crash Reporter data private. But for the sake of argument, let’s trust them.

We still need it. Like a lot of shoddy products, people continue to use Flash because it mostly works: for video, music, games, intense Web graphics, apps, and whatever else developers use it for.

Shunning Flash because it sometimes crashes, or because it’s a closed-source plugin that makes the Web a less flexible place (like QuickTime) makes a nice academic approach, but ignores the reality of browsing the Web today.

Apple’s desire to keep users safe from crashes takes a straight-jacket approach: You can’t hurt yourself when you can’t do anything. Simply offering the option to turn off Flash when you want a safer browsing experience would make a perfectly acceptable compromise for users who want to walk outside the padded asylum walls Apple wants to put them in.

Sorry, Steve. We just don’t buy your Flash fairy tales. The iPad needs it.

Deals

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for February 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for February 2019.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for February 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for December 2018.
Deals

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.
Gaming

Here’s how to set up a virtual private network (VPN) on your Xbox One

Online privacy is more important now than it's ever been, and gaming is happening online more than ever before. Here's a quick guide on how to set up a VPN for your Xbox One so you game in safe anonymity.
Mobile

Flip from portrait to landscape as we reveal how to rotate a video on iPhone

If you've accidentally shot a video in portrait orientation and you want to flip to landscape, then this is the guide for you. We'll explain how to use iMovie to rotate a video on your iPhone or iPad for free and suggest alternative apps.
Mobile

The 2019 iPhone could put a charge into your other Apple gadgets

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.
Deals

Amazon cuts prices on the Apple Watch Series 3 for Presidents’ Day

The Apple Watch Series 3 is seeing the same price cut we saw during the Amazon sale just last week. So if you're hoping to pick up an Apple Watch for less than $250, this $50 discount from Amazon can make that happen for you.
Deals

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for February 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Computing

Chrome is a fantastic browser, but is is still the best among new competitors?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.
Deals

Apple brings back the iPhone SE with a $100 clearance discount included

Apple is offering the iPhone SE on their online clearance store once again. With discounts of $100, you can get a brand new unlocked iPhone SE for as little as $249. This offer is only available while supplies last.
Deals

From Air to Pro, here are the best MacBook deals for February 2019

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.
Mobile

Apple stomps on one FaceTime bug, only to have another one appear

Having fixed a FaceTime bug that let users eavesdrop on calls, another issue with Apple's video chat app appears to have surfaced. It concerns adding people to group calls, though there is a workaround.
Mobile

With Galaxy S10e, Samsung unapologetically rips a page out of Apple’s playbook

Samsung's Galaxy S10e -- a new entry in the Galaxy S-series -- has a few things in common with Apple's lower-cost iPhone XR. From the price tag to the color, we take a look atthe similarities.
Deals

Protect your iPhone or iPad with the IPVanish VPN, on sale through February

One of our favorite virtual private networks for iPhones and iPads, IPVanish, is now offering a huge discount on its two-year subscription as part of its 7th-birthday promotion. Read on to find out more about how this VPN works and how you…