Will the Ipad make Flash extinct

On a recent trip to London, in a quiet pub, a fellow punter unboxed their shiny new IPad to the coos, aahs and oohs of a growing love-struck crowd surrounding the lucky bugger. Anyone would have thought a new born giraffe was taking its’ first cute stumbles judging the reaction from the awestruck lunch time drinkers.

Practically every digital billboard in the London underground featured provocative shots of the iPad’s lusty particulars, male and female eyes just couldn’t avert their gaze. One thing is for sure, the iPad is an object of exquisite technological beauty, and we are rapidly falling in love. Even die-hard PC fans may not be able to resist the temptress for long and could soon be bowing down in submission to Apples’ evangelists.

You only have to check out their HTML 5 showcase (you will need to browse in Safari, as the showcase uses non-finalized web standards) to see how Apple are going to take the driving seat in pushing the web and mobile technologies of the future. But Steve Jobs has confirmed that Adobe Flash will definitely not be coming along for the ride.

Jobs’ statement may seem a little harsh, and the ending to this ‘will they, won’t they’ storyline between Apple and Adobe isn’t a happy one,  but it’s difficult not to appreciate the logic behind the decision to not support Flash on the Apple mobile OS. Pixel perfect transitions, slick animations and  video are all achievable through the open standards of HTML 5, CSS3 Javascript. Free, openness and sharing are all concepts synonymous with the web and Apple at least seems to be embracing these with their development strategy.

If developing in open standards is the only way you are going to get an application on the iPhone and iPad – where does this leave Adobe’s licensed development platform?

If I were a Flash developer for web, I might be starting to rethink my long term career path. One reason is most Flash sites depend on hover-overs – an alien concept to the growing number of devices using touch screen navigation. So there will be plenty of companies looking to redevelop their Flash sites…………. just not in Flash when there are more accessible options available.

Power consumption is an issue every mobile device manufacturer faces, and how to get the most out of a single charge. So even the rise of the non-Apple smart phones that will support Flash, does not look likely to be throwing a lifeline when it comes to mobile, as the technology is more demanding on power. Large, battery heavy devices will not survive in the market and besides, manufacturers have to keep making devices smaller – so we keep losing them and buying more!

But where do the users loyalties lie? YouTube and all the major content providers support H.264 codec, so non Flash users aren’t missing out on much when it comes to video. Most of us couldn’t care less if we are viewing content using Flash or Javascript and the majority of us don’t know what this geeky nonsense even means!

So the allure of the Apple style mobile OS will swoon us in the end, and non Apple developers will be following the leader when attempting to emulate the Apple experience. They already are. Flash looks likely to retreat away from the web content arena but that doesn’t mean it’s multimedia applications are dead and buried, Flash still has it’s niches.

Before the pro-Adobe rent a mob (and the Flash team at my agency) get their backs up – there is no doubting Flash’s capability to create gorgeous animated web content, but recently the Adobe developer community seem to feeling the heat in advertising  the fact more than ever. Perhaps this will drive Flash developers to create even more innovative content. But open web standards are catching up – fast.

Sorry Flash, I think  it might be over. It’s not you, OR me. It’s Apple.

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