i’m sure i’ll be one of many, many, people dismantling Steve Jobs’s recent argument against Flash line by line, but the more voices chiming in to combat Apple’s spin on the subject, the better. Jobs’s article reminded me a lot of the US political campaigns that we Canadians watch from a distance, shaking our heads … the truth is pretty clear to us, but it’s fascinating to see how the powers that be twist words and spout half-truths in an effort to sway uninformed public opinion. This is exactly what Jobs is doing with his argument: it’s pure politics, baby.
As corporations more closely resemble countries, their PR more closely resembles political tap-dancing.
Here are a few glaring Fox News-like issues i had with what he said:
they [Adobe] say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues.
Yes, and the Iraq war wasn’t about oil, but about removing a cruel dictator and bringing democracy to the Middle East. And Osama Bin Laden didn’t attack the twin towers because of America’s meddling and destructive foreign policies, but because he “hates our freedom.” Lines like these are so hideously transparent and bald-faced they get my bile brewing.
Make no mistake: more free games on iPlatforms outside of Apple’s control means less money for Apple. This is so undeniable, it mystifies me that he’s even trying to spin it. This one statement paints the rest of his article with a dishonest brush.
Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc.
Pot, meet kettle. Jobs goes on to point out that “Apple has many proprietary products too”, but goes to laboured lengths to uphold WebKit as the shining example of open web technology. Forget the iPod, iPad, iPhone, App Store, and the closed technologies that are at the center of this debate. We’ve got WebKit. In magician’s parlance, this is called misdirection: get the audience to focus the shiny coin in your left hand, while you pocket the Eiffel Tower with your right.
You tell ’em, boys.
HTML5 … lets web developers create advanced graphics, typography, animations and transitions without relying on third party browser plug-ins
The implication here, though not explicit, is that HTML5 can do what Flash can do. This simply isn’t the case. While many writers have focused on the fact that HTML can run video admirably, they’ve glossed over the fact that with Flash, you can put that video on a 3D plane, map it to a cube, spin the cube, and on click make the cube explode into a flock of bats, with each bat holding a placard that has another embedded video on it, and all those videos have cue points that change the values in a web form. Some of you will argue “wait! Just because you CAN do it, doesn’t mean you should!” Of course, i’m offering a ridiculous example, but the fact remains that HTML5 simply cannot do what Flash can do. And if you want to claim that video is enough, then i’ll happily leave you behind in the Old World and continue exploring the Wild West, and its ever-expanding realm of possibilities. And whorehouses.
Golly! You shore do look purdy, Miss Marlene.
There are more games and entertainment titles available for iPhone, iPod and iPad than for any other platform in the world.
This is a lie, plain and simple. There are more entertainment and game titles on the venerable PC platform than the 2-year-old App Store could ever dream of. You can call an elephant a house cat all you like – you’re still going to need an awfully big litter box.
In addition, Flash has not performed well on mobile devices.
From what i’ve seen, i’ll actually hand it to Jobs on this one. i have yet to see a convincing tech demo by Adobe showing a practical piece of Flash (ie something other than the sleazy swarming coloured dots) moving at anything above zero frames a second on an Apple device. But the stuff i’ve seen running on Android looks a lot smoother.
Most Flash websites will need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices.
“Most” is not a statistic. There is no empirical research behind the word “most”. Wikipedia calls this a weasel word – it’s like saying “some have said that Steve Jobs has a third nipple”. Really? Who? Who, specifically, has said that? Because you’re not backing your words up with actual data, you’re being a weasel. Knock it off, Triple-Tits.
A less slimy way of putting this would be to say that “Flash developers who want their games and websites to take advantage of the new touch screen interfaces developed by companies among which are Apple because we’re not the bloody progenitors of this interface style may have to redesign some elements of their projects … much the same way that web developers have decided to redesign their websites to offer more smart phone-friendly layouts.”
Because the time difference between removing a few rollovers and learning an entirely new technology and re-coding a project from the ground up is immense, you git.
Even if iPhones, iPods and iPads ran Flash, it would not solve the problem that most Flash websites need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices.
Even if Apple were to release a new iPhone that had, say, an increased resolution somewhere between the resolution of the iPhone and new screen resolution introduced by the iPad, it would not solve the problem that most Apps would need to be rewritten to support all three resolutions, as well as a growing number of operating systems that lack backwards compatible feature sets.
Fourth, there’s battery life.
Jobs focuses on video here. That’s fine – there may be well-documented benchmarks there. But i don’t really watch video on my iPod – i play games. And some of those games suck juice like a Hoover. If Flash was on the iPhone, and there was a less battery-intensive reason to use non-Flash video, that option is there for me (that is, as long as the video is available in a non-Flash format). But the implication here is wider: Flash drains the battery. That’s the buzz that Jobs is hoping people will disseminate from this article.
We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.
Again, outrageous. Apple would not be at anyone’s mercy if a third-party developer was slow to implement new features; rather, it’s the third-party developer and their customers that would be at Apple’s mercy, trying to keep up with their relentless device upgrades and planned obsolescence.
The other thing that galls me about this bit is that if Apple has such an issue with third-party devs, why is there no mention of Unity in this article? If that’s really such a problem for them you’d think Unity would be in the same boat. But they’re not. This is clearly a battle between Apple and Adobe, so Steve’s last point falls flat. As Mike Chambers from Adobe said last week, in reference to the Terms of Service change disallowing any App store submission that was not created with Apple’s own language and tools,
While it appears that Apple may selectively enforce the terms, it is our belief that Apple will enforce those terms as they apply to content created with Flash CS5.
i have no filter when i speak, and i’ve been told that i’m honest to a fault. Perhaps that’s why i wish Steve would stop spinning this issue, and say what he means. It’s like when George Bush went on teevee after dethroning Saddam Hussein, when the Iraqi people started setting their oil fields on fire. Bush urged them not to do that, saying something like “that oil is your inheritance, a valuable resource that will help you attain your freedom and blah blah blah apple pie Little House on the Prairie bikini contest.” i just wish he would have said “Now don’t set those oil fields on fire, because … because THAT’S MY OIL, BITCHES! And ima spend three trillion dollars of my country’s money sending troops over there to collect every last drop. Yeehaw! Remember the Alamo!”
My political leanings aside, it makes me a tiny bit sad to live in a world where, increasingly, you can pass off a bald-faced lie as a talking point for inexperienced “citizen journalists” to distill and disseminate across the Internatz. When you start seeing bloggers post “FLASH IS BAD FOR iPHONE BATTERY LIFE”, you can think back to this article.
For my part, i’m going to play along and generate a sound bite of my own: Apple fuels its App Store by drinking the blood of Christian babies. Happy blogging!
- Steve Jobs on Flash: Correcting the Lies by Jesse Warden
- Thoughts on ‘Thought on Flash’ by Adam Banks
- Highlights: The Journal’s Exclusive Interview With Adobe CEO
- Moving Forward by Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch
- Thoughts on Apple by fbindie
- One more thing… Apple’s dubious defense of the Open Web by fbindie
- Please stop thinking about Gizmodo, doors being broken down, etc. from The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs
- Steve Jobs is Full of It by Lee Fernandes
- Steve Jobs Blogs On Why He Hates Flash, But Can’t Get His Facts Straight by Dan Rayburn
- Steve Jobs thoughts on not supporting flash – they just aren’t justification! by Andrew Smith
- Steve Jobs doesn’t like Adobe Flash by Rob Pegoraro
- Jobs on Flash: Hypocrisy So Thick You Could Cut it with a Knife by Thom Howlerda
- Steve Jobs: ‘Thoughts on Flash’ by John Gruber (Gruber calls the article “brutally honest” … this is how spin works, friends)
- Open Letter to Steve Jobs by Hugo Roy, to which Steve takes the time to personally respond
- The Real Reason Why Steve Jobs Hates Flash by Charlie Stross
- Steve Jobs Claims Flash Will Kill the Mobile Web by John C. Abell (Wired)
- Steve Jobs attacks Adobe’s Flash as unfit for iPhone by the AP (Toronto Star)
The HTML5 Experience on the iPad: