D8 Interview with Steve Jobs, Flash Revisited

We all know that Steve Jobs had written an article on with his thoughts on why Apple has not supported flash on its mobile platforms. Steve has re-iterated occasion after occasion that Adobe’s Flash was not the best application for the iPad or iPhone. Flash was just too power hungry and would kill the battery, Flash needed to be better optimized for mobile platforms before Apple will adopt it. Steve Jobs commented on the performance as follows:

In addition, Flash has not performed well on mobile devices. We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it. Adobe publicly said that Flash would ship on a smartphone in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. We think it will eventually ship, but we’re glad we didn’t hold our breath. Who knows how it will perform? – Steve Jobs (Apple)

Steve stated that he and Apple stated to Adobe that they needed to improve the flash platform for mobile devices and when they did to show them, but Adobe never did. Steve says the same statement again when asked about Flash at the D8 interview. Steve stated that Apple always strives to include software that has a future, software that has an upward trend. Apple and Steve thinks that Flash has already had its place and does not have a future as bright as HTML5. Back to performance, Steve may have had a point that Flash would not and could not perform well on a mobile device, Gizmodo reported that it drastically slowed down the device. Here is what Gizmodo had to say about flash:

Here’s the bottom line on the first speed tests of Android 2.2: without Flash 10.1, its browser handily beats all comers. But with Flash? It drops to the bottom of the heap. Ruh roh. – Gizmodo

Another reason why Flash is not supported on Apple’s mobile devices is that Flash was designed for a touch pad or mouse because most flash applications require this. Now Steve did not mention this at D8 but I feel that it needs to be mentioned. How are you going to hover or mouse-over a menu or application on a Flash website? Flash would have to be re-written to support this as Steve mentions below:

Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers. For example, many Flash websites rely on “rollovers”, which pop up menus or other elements when the mouse arrow hovers over a specific spot. Apple’s revolutionary multi-touch interface doesn’t use a mouse, and there is no concept of a rollover. Most Flash websites will need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices. If developers need to rewrite their Flash websites, why not use modern technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript? – Steve Jobs (Apple)

Steve had many more reasons that flash was not being supported by Apple on mobile devices but you can read them from his ‘Thoughts on Flash’ article on I will include the full interview with Steve Jobs at D8 below for your viewing pleasure, please leave your thoughts and opinions as well below about HTML5 being supported and not Flash on Apple mobile platforms. Thanks for reading.

About D8: Since its debut in 2003, The Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital conference has been breaking news, highlighting innovation, and bringing you straight-up conversations with the most influential figures in media and technology.

Steve Jobs at D8, Thoughts on Flash

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