Friday, April 02, 2010

iPad: the Flash killer?

I'm not sitting here (like some colleagues) eagerly awaiting the arrival of an iPad. I have an iPhone which I like a lot, but I don't see the iPad as being that much of an improvement. It's an interesting device but, as is typical for Apple, is overpriced and over designed.

Still, I'm hoping it's wildly successful for one reason, and one reason alone: it has no Flash support.

Confused? Let me explain.

Full confession: I hate Flash. Or rather I hate how it's used by lazy designers to build non-compliant non-accessible websites which are only visible to a subset of the web population. Don't get me wrong: Flash is a tool, and like all tools, there are somethings it is very well suited for. But mostly it is used by ad agencies and design firms to add sizzle and sex appeal to their presentations to clients so they can sell services. Its use contributes to what I once heard referred to as "bandwidth drunkenness."

So, the iPad won't support this blight on the web. Which means if you (as a website owner) make extensive use of Flash, you have locked out (and probably pissed off) a sector of the web surfing population that has self-identified itself as presumably having a fair amount of discretionary income who is an early adopter of technologies: the exact people you want to attract.

Oh the delicious irony.

As reported in Slashdot, WebMonkey, Gizmodo and other ubergeek sites, Apple has bitch-slapped Flash (and Adobe) by referring to "iPad Ready" sites as using "web standards" content.

Oh snap!

Adobe had previously taken to displaying a snotty message to iPhone users that said "Flash Player not available for your device. Apple restricts use of technologies required by products like Flash Player. Until Apple eliminates these restrictions, Adobe cannot provide Flash Player for the iPhone or iPod Touch."

It will be interesting to see the next volley in this exchange. Meanwhile, if this causes even one designer to thing twice about using Flash for some new project I'm a happy man.

1 comment:

Nick Rowe said...

I've heard that the iPad idea actually preceded the iPhone.

I agree with you on Flash. I used to take online courses where they tried their best to use every whiz-bang feature Flash provided. It was very distracting.

My Palm was supposed to come with Flash support. Then they said it was coming. I've owned the phone for 15 months and we still don't have Flash.

Our browsers at work don't support Flash either, so several of the websites we frequent are unusable. There's no non-flash site available.

The Recovery.gov website was fully accessible without Flash in early 2009, but then it was Flashed up sometime last October - exactly when the jobs "created or saved" were supposed to come out.

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