Flash and the iPhone

I think that Apple made the right decision, as a company, to exclude Flash from the iPhone. And this is coming from someone who largely develops Flash websites for a living! But let me explain a bit more about my thoughts.

When we develop Flash websites, we typically fix our designs on a dimension that is intended to fit the sweet spot that the largest number of computer configurations, including the largest percentage of host operating systems, largest percentage of screen sizes, and largest percentage of Flash versions are comprised of. These are very much designs that are squarely aimed at “the average PC.” And why shouldn’t we? We want as many folks as possible to be able to enjoy a Needmore site.

When faced with a mobile device, with a dramatically different screen size and category of hardware, you just can’t possibly see the same thing. There aren’t enough pixels, and with many of our designs, every pixel really does count. You wouldn’t be able to read the text without a lot of pinching and zooming. No fun.

This is precisely what the QuickTime video experience on the iPhone circumvents. The most popular use of Flash on the Internet is for video (YouTube alone probably seals the deal here), it is almost the “Microsoft of the in-browser video experience.” Would it really be in Apple’s best interest even to allow this to extend to the new category of mobile devices that they themselves are pioneering?

Apple aims for the high end, as a company. They have brought the best quality of all kinds of media to the largest number of people in the history of computing, between their QuickTime technologies, the iTunes Music Store, and their affiliations (via Steve Jobs) to the entertainment industry at large. They want this market. They have a rather convenient opportunity to exclude Adobe from the party, and perhaps they’re taking it.

Were Flash Lite to gain momentum, it might make Adobe the Microsoft of mobiles, and Flash Lite the new Windows. That also makes it obvious why Apple wants to choke Flash to death before it falls into position as the new lowest common denominator in proprietary platforms on a new crop of mobile devices.
Roughly Drafted

Raymond Brigleb

Creative Director, dreamer, partner, father, musician, photographer. Has been known to ride the rails. Pulls one heck of a shot.