Why There Was No Flash on iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch
It’s been a long battle for Adobe in trying to get Flash on iOS. Steve Jobs has had some not-so-kind words regarding Flash in the past. Some of you may remember him calling Adobe “lazy” and say that they “have all this potential to do interesting things, but they just refuse to do it.” He then called Flash “buggy,” and said that “Whenever a Mac crashes, more often than not it’s because of Flash.”
He then expressed his interest in HTML5 and said that the “world is moving to the format.
Those words left a lot of people unhappy. To this day, one of the most common arguments you hear against the iPad (or any iOS device for that matter) is that “it doesn’t even do Flash.” That goes for the iPhone 4, the iPod Touch and the iPad.
Shouldn’t I Have the Choice If I Want to View a Flash Video On My iPhone?
In this case it seems like both parties are right and wrong. While it would be nice to have the option to view Flash content on the iPad and iPhone (Which Adobe claims makes up 75 percent of online video content), Flash is a bit of a resource hog. The Flash Blog even poked fun at Apple’s
“ultimate browsing experience” after we heard the news that Flash wouldn’t be supported. You can also argue that most users knew the iPad lacked Flash support when they bought it, and that’s when they made their choice. Of course, that doesn’t mean there weren’t ways around it. That’s where this next piece of software comes in.
Flash on iPad, and Other iOS Devices After All? No Way!
Believe it or not. That is going to change soon, because Apple may be somewhat loosening that grip as Skyfire becomes available on the App Store Thursday morning. That’s not a typo: Skyfire, which will let users playback Flash content on their iOS device, becomes available officially through the App Store. No hacking, no jailbreaking (but we do have a jailbreak fix, Frash: here), nothing is required. The question is whether a $2.99 App that gives users a feature many would argue should ship on the product is worth the price of admission.
How Does it Work?
Skyfire’s technique is interesting in that it plays back Flash content on iOS in a very different way than you may expect:
1) When you navigate to a page with Flash content, it’s sent to Skyfire’s servers.
2) From there, the Flash video is rendered into HTML5. Which, as you know, is the format that iOS supports.
3) Skyfire shows you a thumbnail that you can touch to stream the content from the Skyfire servers.
Privacy in the Our Day and Age?
According to CNN, the App takes user privacy into account. Skyfire CEO Jeffrey Glueck tells CNN Money that his company goes “beyond the norms” to make sure that their users are given the privacy they desire. No personal information is collected other than keywords being sold to advertisers. On a side note, how much of that do you imagine will be porn-related? Does this mean that the age of iPhone porn begins now? After all, the App does carry the “Rated 17+” for “Frequent/Intense Sexual Content or Nudity.” We are just wondering how much porn Apple’s App approval department looked at before deciding to call it frequent…just a thought.
What are The Down Sides?
One major bummer is that Hulu is blocking the App. They’d rather have users pay the $10 a month fee, or watch it on their computer. Good luck there, Hulu. Furthermore, games and otehr non-video content won’t work, either. That is part of the limitation of the software uploading to a server and streaming back to your device.
It doesn’t work natively on iPad. You will be scaling x2 to see content at full size. There needs to be an update for this very soon.
Any Hope for Native Flash Support?
Given the history of the two companies–Apple and Adobe–we doubt it. Apple is obviously hoping that HTML5 takes over, and it was reported by CNN Money that the application “received a rather rigorous review from Apple.”
In fact, the MacBook Air, Apple’s most recent laptop computer, doesn’t ship with a version of Flash installed. While it can be downloaded, it’s definitely and indication of the direction the Cupertino-based company wants to go. And it’s definitely not Flash on iPad.
Still, there is some progress, the iOS4 developer agreement at one time didn’t allow for content to be created on Flash and ported to iOS, Apple has since eased the restrictions.
If you are interested in a more extensive history of the Adobe vs Apple fiasco over Flash, you can check it out here: The Apple/Adobe Smackdown!
Skyfire 2.0 official website: Here (Includes Android download)
Update: Seems that a lot of people want Flash on their iPad. Skyfire says they have “sold out” which basically means their server can’t handle the massive download traffic they’re getting.
Here is their statement:
Skyfire for iPhone has been received with unbelievable enthusiasm. Despite our best attempts and predictions, the demand far exceeds our initial projections.
The user experience was performing well for the first few hours, but as the surge continued, the peak load on our servers and bandwidth caused the video experience to degrade.
Thus we are effectively ‚Äòsold out‚Äô and will temporarily not accept new purchases from the App Store. We are working really hard to increase capacity and will be accepting new purchases from the App Store as soon as we can support it.
We are very grateful for the demand. Within 5 hours, Skyfire for iPhone became the top grossing app, the third highest paid app overall and the top application in the Utilities category. Wow!
Please bear with us as we bring our capacity in line with the incredible demand ‚Äì stay tuned.