I am sure that everyone has heard the buzz going on around the internet with Steve Jobs not supporting Flash on Apple devices. I have gotten dozens of emails asking my take on this issue, which I will address.
While I am not an avid animator, I certainly understand where Steve Jobs is coming from. I read his statement regard Flash, compatibility, and his reasons for not implementing Flash on mobile devices. They are all true and relevant. Jobs mentions the fact that Flash requires third party software just to run in your browser, when you can use more standards compliant methods to display video with no extra programs needed.
Flash also does not work on touch-sensitive devices, which means that rollovers are not supported. This is huge, because no matter how beautiful your site is and how intricate your animation is, if your viewer can’t go anywhere within your site to see your work, contact you, etc., then what is the point?
Jobs also mentions the fact that with Flash being a proprietary software, meaning it is owned by one company or entity who makes all of the decisions, this greatly hinders development, because you have to wait on the developers to catch up to new technologies, or support new features. That would be a complete disaster. With everything being open, look how much development has happened since Apple has opened the App store. That would have not happened on the scale that it has if it was created on proprietary software.
On a personal note, I like Flash, and it is great for the right project, but even the program itself can be bugged. I can’t tell you how many times I have created projects in Flash, and all of a sudden, the next day, when I go to open the .fla file, it says that it is corrupted or can’t open the file. I only work on Apple machines, but even when I worked on a PC for a short time I had this happen to me. I don’t fully trust a .fla file. I always save multiple copies.
I love Adobe, and I love Apple. They are both great companies, with great products. With that being said, Flash has its problems, especially with crashes or not displaying for some unknown reason. Listening to Steve Jobs’s argument, I didn’t hear a single thing that I disagree with, or find to be an exaggeration. If anything, his comments are more of a call to action for the makers of Flash to create a product that is more stable and runs on more standards-based functionality.