Greg's Bite: Steve Jobs wins, Flash discontinued
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Greg's Bite: Steve Jobs wins, Flash discontinued

By Greg Mills

Adobe finally blinked after Steve Jobs didn't. As a young man Jobs actually practiced staring people down without blinking for long periods. He knew it freaked people out and so mastered long blinkless pearcing stares. Figuratively, he did that with Adobe by refusing to pre-load Flash on Macs, and Apple didn't allow Flash to even run on the iOS platform. Wretched whining from various quarters didn't get Apple to change its stand, as there really were technical issues that Adobe wouldn't or couldn't fix.

Apple was of the opinion that HTML5 was the way to do web animation and, finally, Adobe gave up, announced that Flash was dead and fired 750 Flash platform employees. Flash, in addition to being a battery hog also had security issues, kept cookies in a place that made it harder to police what you picked up on the web by simply running a Flash-enabled browser.

You don't have to use an iPhone or iPad on the web very long to run into web sites that refused to convert to HTML5 and, thus, don't work right since they have Flash content. Many is the time you get an error message to download the latest version of Flash when, with an iOS device, you couldn't do it without jail breaking the device, anyhow.

I confess that I found it a bit irritating that state-of-the-art Apple products wouldn't run common web animations. I read the information Apple posted on the issue and had to agree that Adobe ought to either fix the bugs or Flash web sites ought to convert to HTML5 standards.

Apple notoriously gets a wild hair that something like floppy drives or FireWire are over awhile before the industry gets it and does the same. Flash was one of those technologies that Apple rightly discarded earlier than most people would have wished, but Steve Jobs was right. Even Adobe couldn't ignore the issues that made Flash obsolete.

There are some technological dinosaurs out there that intend to continue to develop Flash for their platforms despite Adobe seeing the light. RIM, never too shy to be odd man out, has announced that they will not drop Flash and will continue to support it on the wonder platform, the RIM PlayBook. All 317 RIM PlayBooks that are still in use will continue to get updated operating systems that will run Flash material, when encountered. You can now get a free PlayBook; if you buy two the third one is free. RIM seems to be in a backwards spiral, as even Google has just announced they will no longer support GMail on the BlackBerry platform.

It turns out one of the main reasons Siri requires an iPhone 4S is the advanced proximity sensor rather than the noise reduction microphone I suspected. While Siri seems to work ok on previous devices, Apple seems to plan on holding the line by reserving Siri for newer devices.The iPad 3 and perhaps the next generation of iPod Touch, ought to be Siri enabled. I predict the Macs will get Siri pretty soon. Rumors are that the coming Apple HDTV will use Siri for user input. Nuance voice recognition is, in fact, the secret technology behind Apple's Siri voice recognition.

Steve Jobs, some time ago in a furious rant, observed that Google launched the Android OS phones knowing Apple was developing the iPhone, but that Apple wasn't doing search. Could Siri be a way for Apple to now get into search? Microsoft has lost a bundle trying to make Bing profitable. Could Apple succeed in search where Microsoft failed?

That is Greg's Bite.


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