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Swaine Manor: Flash in the iPad

Volume Number: 26
Issue Number: 04
Column Tag: Swaine Manor

Swaine Manor: Flash in the iPad

What's all this fuss I keep hearing about Flash in the iPad?

by Michael Swaine

MacTech Magazine recognizes its obligation to present responsible opposing viewpoints to our editorials. Here with an editorial reply is Mr. Michael Swaine.

Flash and Bedazzled

What's all this fuss I keep hearing about no flash in the iPad? Everyone keeps complaining about there being no flash in the iPad, and this just makes no sense to me.

I think the Ipad is very flashy.

It has all those clever little things you can do with your fingers to make it do exciting things. All that pinching and swiping, which sounds a little naughty to me, but maybe I'm being old-fashioned. The book reader lets you turn pages by sliding your finger over the corner of the page, just as you do with a real book. And if you've never had the experience of reading War and Peace in full color, you just don't know what you're missing.

And you can see yourself in that shiny screen. That's so flashy it's dazzling. It's-what? Oh, the fuss is not about that kind of flash?

Well, that's different then. Forget everything I just said.

But I still say that the iPad thingy has flash, and I can prove it.

Got Flash?

A company called iSuppli recently broke an iPad down to see what it was made of. And do you know what they found? They found thirty dollars worth of NAND flash memory inside the iPad. That's almost a tenth of the cost of all the components put together. Or really, not put together, just thrown in a bag. Putting them together probably costs extra. Anyway, they found flash in it, and that's the real point.

So I hope that we can stop hearing about "no flash in the iPad" now that it's been shown conclusively that-what, what? You don't say. It's not about that kind of flash either?

Well then I guess I was mistaken. I'm so sorry. Let's just do a reset.


Pressing the Flash

I read this article by those nice people at Cars Technica that said they found evidence of support for flash in the APIs for version 4.0 of the operating system. They said that functions like VCaptureDevice.hasFlash, AVCaptureDevice.flashMode, and AVCaptureDevice.hasTorch are good evidence that Apple intends to support flash, in addition to a camera. Though I don't know why car fanatics are interested in the camera support in iPads. But no matter.

So while there may be no flash in the iPad now, there really isn't any need for it until they put a camera in it! At least that's how it seems to me. Unless I'm missing something terribly obvious.

You say I am missing something terribly obvious? You say that the fuss is really about Adobe Flash videos not running on the iPad? And not flash bulbs?

Well, why didn't you say so in the first place?

That's completely different.

Series of Tubes

That's just terrible. iPad owners won't be able to watch all those YouTube videos and those Hulu dancers and whatnot, not to mention all those wonderful ads that represent ninety percent of all Flash usage.

Of course you may have deliberately blocked Flash on your computer, but that's not the point. You have the choice of unblocking Flash when you want to see a YouTube video. Or a Hulu dancer, you naughty thing, you.

So the absolute inability to see Flash video on your iPad is just-oh, wait.

You actually can see Flash videos on your iPad with clever tricks that third-party developers are coming up with? Tricks like converting videos to supported formats on a connected computer, intercepting links to Flash videos and redirecting to sites where they are translated, or using desktop sharing to see a Flash video on your iPad that's really running on a Mac or Linux or Windows computer connected by some kind of virtual private network magic? Or like that company that translates Flash ads to supported video formats so that you'll never miss an ad on your Pad? Or other, even cleverer tricks still to be devised?

You know what? Just forget I said anything, OK?

Michael Swaine is the former editor-in-chief of Dr. Dobb's Journal ( and current editor of PragPub (http://, the electronic magazine for pragmatic programmers. You can reach him at


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