Steve Jobs: Why Apple Does Not Allow Flash on iPhones, iPods, iPads

By Posted 2010 Updated   Apple

Steve Jobs has clarified why Apple does not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods, iPads. This hopefully clarifies all issues in mind of Apple product users, Apple critics and Adobe Flash fans.

Adobe recently pointed out that “Apple released a new draft of their iPhone developer program license which  had the effect of restricting applications built with a number of technologies, including Unity, Titanium, MonoTouch, and Flash CS5”.

Then Kevin Lynch, Adobe CTO revealed that they “have already decided to shift our focus away from Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices for both Flash Player and AIR. We are working to bring Flash Player and AIR to all the other major participants in the mobile ecosystem, including Google, RIM, Palm (soon to be HP), Microsoft, Nokia and others.”

Now Steve Jobs replies point wise why Apple will not support Flash. Here we a few key takeaways from his statement –

  1. Adobe’s Flash products are a closed system, and Apple would rather adopt open source technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript
  2. While Adobe says 75% of web video is in Flash, it is known that almost all this video is also available in H.264, which can be viewed on iOS devices.
  3. Flash causes Macs to crash.!
  4. Flash websites currently requires an older generation decoder
  5. Flash was designed for use with mice, not for touch screens – lets take the example of “rollovers” for instance, or pop up menus
  6. Adobe has been slow to keep updated with Apple’s platforms.

Basically Steve Jobs wants to suggest that the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards where Flash falls short. 200,000 Apple Store Apps proves Flash isn’t necessary for developers to create rich applications and games and creating HTML5 tools is the future.


26 comments on “Steve Jobs: Why Apple Does Not Allow Flash on iPhones, iPods, iPads

  1. Jason Spencer says:

    This is pretty scary. Apple claims it only supports open standards but it’s closing off to flash makes no sense to me.

  2. JC says:

    Meaningful use of HTML5 is at least two years away and full implementation won’t happen for another ten years. Meanwhile, consumers will toddle over to Android when they see that the same thing can be done for far less money and trouble in a less brown environment.

  3. Bored says:

    One thing I dont like about Steve’s reply is that he does not accept flash because it is not an open standard (adobe owns it and apple would probably have to pay money to use it) but they have adopted the video format h.264 for HTML5 which will cost apple money as it is not owned by them.
    To me this is a tactical manuever by apple as other browsers i.e. Firefox will not adopt the format h.264 because it will cost them, thus people will have to go with a browser that does support it such as apples safari.

  4. Rahul says:

    The real reason is that there are already many Flash applications available on the internet.
    If flash is made available to iphones then every one will use those applications. This will be a total loss to the appstore.
    Also creating apps on flash is a lot easier and many developers are already into flash development. So if flash were present in iphones they would use Flash SDK rather than learn a new SDK (Iphone SDK)

  5. Latrina Dellaratta says:

    As such a geeky person, I just loved this post on your blog. I’m glad we live is such a world that we get to use stuff like this, and your view of this topic interests me greatly. Cheers for this entry.

  6. Walter says:

    Meanwhile, we the consumer are once again the losers

  7. ShannonS says:

    Apple is actually hurting themselves. Because they do not support flash, people need access to flash capable devices. Hence, more non-Apple products being sold. I have an iPad and iPhone but a PC desktop which I use frequently for the many sites that use flash.

  8. Andy says:

    Let’s put the consumer first Steve! Just looking for a new car and all most all manufactures sites are flash….. Can’t say I am happy with the iPad. Will sell and buy a new device that puts the customer first.

    Pathetic from apple.

  9. Joe cool says:

    Andy, you are right. Steve and Apple is being very close minded by now allowing FLASH. I have designed and developed flash since it came out. It is on over 75% of all websites on the internet. So Steve is basically saying that they are not allowing their devices and customers to view ALL that great content. Cars, music, videos, e-learning, education, and more!

  10. Monty says:

    It is digusting. YOU are losing business.

  11. Drew says:

    History repeating….ms dos and microsoft became so common place back in the 80’s after BIll Gates and co made dos open source whilst Apple did not. Apple runs the risk of making the same mistake!

  12. gerald says:

    WE WANT FLASH FOR OUR IPHONES OR ITS ANDROID FROM NOW ON.
    ARE APPLE NOT MAKING ENOUGH MONEY THAT THEY CAN PUT THE CUSTOMER FIRST….. JUST THIS ONE TIME!!!!!!!!!

  13. cathy says:

    Just bought an Iphone4. Did not do my homework. I am afraid that Apple will be left behind in the next 2 years which is the length of my contract.
    Will cost me 70.00 for a “restocking” fee from Verizon to return my phone but I’m returning it for the Droidx.

  14. chickie says:

    I will pay more to have a flash supported device… one significant purpose of tablets nowadays is for BROWSING… 75% of websites use flash… do the MATH stevie… This is the only reason I did not get an IPad… went over for galaxy tab just because of the flash… IPad could have been my ONLY choice… BUT… enough said…

  15. Jim says:

    All that flash people are talking about do not understand IPhone runs more modern format H264 witch also runs all that flash video and pictures your losing nothing with iPhone let’s not forget if not for iPhone there would be no android since apple stared smart phone technology.

    • Brad says:

      @Jim that’s true but you can’t be afraid to evolvejust because you invented something doesnt mean someone else can’t improve upon that technology.

      • Jim says:

        One more thing it always starts with one persons or companies iDea and it all started with Apple’s iPhone .

  16. rxantos says:

    Instead of telling the customer what they should or not use. Why not let the market decide for itself? If Jobs point of view is truth, then the market will leave flash, if the point of view is flawed, then the market will stay with flash.

  17. Nitisara says:

    Steve Jobs is right in his comments regarding Flash.
    But some support for flash contents (say, Safari Flash plugin for iPad) will not harm Apple but will be of much use for their customers.

  18. Ben W says:

    Watch as playbook, sony erickson, samsung build better and better phones/gui’s/7″ touch pads and Steve Jobs could blow all their socks off by allow flash on IOS devices, instead he sits in his little sand box saying “No, It’s not right… I am right” and apple’s share of the lucritive smart device could be skyrocketing, instead, truth is, it is being erroded by Playbook/Galaxy/Motorola/LG/Sony and this fool Job’s thinks he still right… watch as people eventually turn coat on Job’s sphinkster view of the world.

  19. Christine Beshara says:

    It is very frustrating to get a message on my iPad that I cannot continue because I can’t install Adobe Flash. Please change this!!!

  20. Lance says:

    Anyone want to buy and IPad so I can get an andriod that supports flash?

  21. Chris says:

    If you think about it – Blackberry’s Playbook is an iPad that has all the features that an iPad does and has all the features that an iPad doesn’t, including flash.

    I definitely know where I would put my money.

  22. Machtyn says:

    I can understand not using Flash due to technicalities (extra power needed to run Flash based apps causing serious battery drain.)

    However, I don’t understand Steve Jobs denouncing Flash as a closed system and acting high-and-mighty like the iPhone is an open system.

  23. J. Tapia says:

    Soo. Let’s suppose apple gives in and allows flash. Yay! Great for everyone! Now, safari crashes all the time, videos would take forever to load since it requires software plug in, and it still wouldnt be the same since flash was meant to be used with a mouse. Should we add a mouse to ipods/iphones/ipads instead?

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