Casualties of Flash Wars


war_smallADOTAS – Creativity can bring out the best and worst in all of us. It’s fair to say, none more so than between Apple and Adobe.

Both have long appealed to creative individuals and companies that rely on their respective products — Apple for its trendy, easy-to-use digital media devices and Adobe for its creative authoring tools that designers swear by.

So, if most online display ads are built on Flash, does it really make sense for Apple to ban the use of Flash for all iPad and iPhone devices, including the upcoming release of Safari 5? It’s definitely a big shift from happier days when Apple welcomed Adobe as a creative partner (Apple PowerPC plus Adobe Creative Suite).

Unfortunately, Apple’s no Flash stance doesn’t only take aim at Adobe, but it also affects Microsoft (SilverLight), Oracle (Java) and basically, everything that would be dubbed as a rich internet application.

Apple claims that Flash’s platform (and anything not HTML5) would create inefficiencies that would ultimately affect the user experience such as Flash movie load times, the use of different browser settings and efficient CPU usage, etc. True as this may all be for now, these issues are all solvable.

In a few months, most of these Flash inefficiencies will all be resolved. Adobe is set to release, ”Gala,” a codename as an update to Flash Player. The new hardware accelerator would enable faster load times of videos (h.264) within Mac environments. Early tests from Windows machines running Chrome or FireFox showed positive results with Flash 10.1 using less CPU than HTML 5.

Despite Flash’s inefficiencies, let’s not forget the fact that Flash is used in over 70% of high traffic sites such as, YouTube, Hulu, Vimeo, Disney Video, Comedy Central, Farmville and many more. Online advertisers are also dependent on Flash with close to 99% of ads built in Flash.

The alternative that Apple is hoping to lead the way is with HTML5, which is evolving as a standard for richer experiences. Although it is still nowhere as rich as Flash, that’s not to say HTML5 is very far off.

Recently, Apple has claimed a high demand from mobile advertisers for HTML ads on iAds, and even the Interactive Advertising Bureau has supported HTML5 as the future direction. Yet, it remains to be seen how well HTML5 will be adopted by the creative community, since most depend on Adobe Flash.

The better solution here would be for Apple and Adobe to find common ground. Perhaps Adobe should offer to fix Flash on Apple devices and offer authoring tools for HTML5 and in return, Apple could start supporting Adobe Flash. It’s not a far-fetched idea considering, at one point, Apple did refuse Intel into its Cupertino headquarters and later changed its mind.

So let’s keep our minds open and our fingers crossed that Apple and Adobe will kiss and make up.


  1. Apple/Mac user for 20 years. Hooray for Apple’s successes and innovation. Really bad for Apple to hang out so many of their long-standing, loyal users out to dry.

  2. Yeah-I mean, really! There has to be a way to work this out. Would help if Apple would divorce AT&T-they’re not exactly an innocent bystander!!!!


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