Adobe Flash vs Apple HTML5: Is Steve Jobs Right or Wrong?

Apple Guru, Steve Jobs is adamant that Adobe Flash will not come to the iPhone or their new iPad, basically Jobs doesn’t like Adobe Flash as he thinks its old technology that’s too slow and hogs battery life and that the way ahead is HTML5, and that no one will use Flash in future.

Jobs’ remarks led to Adobe fighting back saying that their Flash isn’t old technology and that their latest version of Flash works well on smartphones, and that HTML5 will bring a return of the dark ages of video on the web.

The constant battle between Apple and Adobe has been running for ages, each taking a snipe at the other at every opportunity. But realistically if Apple says Flash isn’t coming to the iPhone then it isn’t coming unless Adobe can find some way around it.

So it is increasingly looking like Flash will never come to the iPhone and the iPhone will go the HTML5 route. With HTML5 you can embed video into web pages but it is up to the browser to play that video, so basically is that better than using Flash?

Should Apple allow Flash on the iPhone and other Apple products? Is Steve Jobs right about HTML5 being the way ahead and that Flash is old tech? What are your views is Steve Jobs Right or Wrong? Drop us a comment below.


10 thoughts on “Adobe Flash vs Apple HTML5: Is Steve Jobs Right or Wrong?”

  1. CJDS says:

    My underlying point is that Flash as a software is absolutely genius . However HTML5 is more native to the web and also prevents the monopoly of one company owning to much of the web. Adobe practically controlling all video on the web is a scary thought indeed. Steps need to be taken by both adobe and Apple to counteract this. For example Adobve needs to make their software more accessible to consumers maybe by making it open source. However it doesn’t look like the notoriously closed minded Apple will ever fold. With Apple iPhone and iPad still selling inspite of no Flash Adobe has to come up with something FAST

    This link is a very interesting article that explains the problem properly

  2. Thanks for the well written article.

    I don’t think either one of the technologies is actually a choice that we have to make.

    Flash has never tried to supplant HTML. On the contrary, Flash exists because of HTML. Flash and HTML are technologies that help provide a complete web experience.

    TCP/IP, HTML, Ethernet and now Flash are all old technologies which combine to make our internet.

    We at Adobe and other members of the openscreen project are working to bring this experience to newer platforms.

  3. From a developer’s point of view. Flash has a bad reputation because poor implementation.

    If developers uses frameworks like gaia or swfseo. Flash would be the clear front runner.

    HTML5 is a step backwards, because it is further fragmenting the development process due to incompatabilities. Not to mention the amount of code needed to implement “simple flash like” functionality far exceeds what it would take if one were using flash to develop something more robust.

  4. james mcintyre says:

    Apple obviously doesn’t pay much attention to history. Think IBM and MicroChannel vs x86… who won that battle. It seems everytime someone gets greedy, they lose in the tech industry. Now that Google is coming out with a phone, my bet is that they do everything they can to support flash and then watch the movement away from ipod and ipad.

  5. HTML5 has great promise for making developing just a teeny bit easier, and a whole lot more complex. I argue that using the element is the right way to do it, but unfortunately it’s just not feasible yet.

    Flash has also created a cozy niche for itself in interrupting videos for ads or providing annoying pre-roll ads and attempting to mask the source URL. As far as I understand, the element would allow users to just download the original video with nothing to get in their way of doing so.

  6. @james mcintyre I don’t think Google will be moving away from iPhone or iPad, HTML 5 is the way forward. Google’s YouTube has a HTML 5 version too http://www.YouTube.com/HTML5. When you have developers like Apples website development team already developing in HTML 5 and Even google chrome supporting HTML 5 the last thing they’re going to do is move away from it. I come from a print design background but recenlty started web designing. (I was also taught how to use flash.) There’s enough to learn about the web development, HTML, XHTML, CSS, jQuery etc without have to learnitr flash too. Don’t get me wrong I think flash is brilliant, but it has it’s place ie Flash CS 5 will have direct export for iPhone apps and no doubt for iPad. I’ve worked at places where flash was forbidden and being a iPhone user I’ve never thought “oh I wish I had flash”. In this fast paste world who really has the time to wait for flash to load?

  7. Flash has a bad reputation because poor implementation.

    If developers use frameworks like gaia or swfseo, flash would be the clear front runner.

    HTML5 is a step backwards. Due to incompatabilities, it further fragments the development process.

    The amount of effort needed to implement “simple flash like” functionality with html5 far exceeds what it would take if one were developing with flash.

  8. GusDeoMatik says:


    What I think is the biggest problem is that people aren't truly understanding the situation from a designers perspective.

    Designers need flash for rich interactive content. Supposedly you can create the same content with a combination of Javascript, HTML5, and CSS3. But here's the issue–designers can't!!! A programmer can, but how many programers can actually design?

    Another issue is that people are comparing Adobe Flash with the open standards of Javascript, HTML5, and CSS3. You can't compare it, they are totally 2 different animals. Javascript, HTML5, and CSS3 are computer languages, while flash is an application. Flash does use a bastardized version of the computer language, Javascript, which adobe called ActionScript, but that's goes without saying.

    See I can go inside Flash and create a stunning advertisement without knowing a lick of code. There is no such editor currently on the market that has a WYSIWYG user interface, that converts Javascript, HTML5, and CSS3. If I'm wrong please point me to one.

    I have thought about this for a while and came up with a solution.

    Note: This solution isn't perfected but it's a point in the right direction Also this solution is for the <canvas> tag which is the new HTML5 tag which enables the user to have flash like content on their page:

    Either Adobe, Apple, and/or an Independent company needs to create a MAC/PC compatible application that solves this problem. Personally I would like to see Apple make it. Although if Adobe made it they would add support to Photoshop, Illustrator and/or other apps in their line up. The type of support only adobe could do like layers and editing.

    I would call this Application iCanvas(Apple), Canvas H5(Adobe). Of course they would never use these names cause they would feel some type of way about using a name I created for their apps since I don't work for them.

    The App:
    I would add a timeline, code/designer view, the many tool palettes that are currently available in most creation applications, and of course a canvas for creation. The canvas is where you would create your animations and such, just like you would do in Flash except to the left/right would be the code view in which you could see the actual code that creates these animations. That way an expert coder could also adjust, fix, and/or add custom code. The app should also automatically create an external CSS3 file to go with the project, but give the user the flexibility to name the styles being used.

    Once the designer finishes the project the user saves it in 2 different formats. The first format would be the native app project format. the second format would be a text file that the web could use.

    Implementing this file so that the web can use it. The solution for this would be create a new tag or alter the existing (canvas) tag.

    (canvas embed class="whatever" id="custom") …/directory/fileName.canvas(/canvas). You would place that tag in the area where the current flash file is located. You would use the class/id for positioning, borders, height, width, and so on.
    Note: I removed the html brackets because the server thinks it malicious code

    Embedding the file would be better so you can have other files point to it rather than having to copy and paste the code to each file that wants to use that particular file.

    Adobe might not want to do this cause it would compete against their current line up of apps, Flash/DreamWeaver. But they could make it as an extension/plugin for those apps.

    Now this is just me brainstorming, but Adobe/Apple have teams and think tanks that can take this idea and transform it something more powerful.

    One thing I will add before I end this very long comment is that any independent company that sees this idea please jump on it… The first company to make such an app will have millions of purchasers…
    And if Apple is reading this then I want you to hurry up make it…. PLEASE!!!!

    Thank you for taking the time out to read this…

  9. digital juice says:

    I too come from a print design background, (was trained in flash too) but over the last few months I've been web designing/developing. What I have noticed is that HTML5 JavaScript and CSS3 is much easier, especially seeing as you can break it apart by simply viewing the source code and then playing around with it. And when you have http://www.apple.com/html5 and HTML5 Rocks by Google makes the whole processes easier. I've not found going from design to developer that difficult especially with HTML5 and CSS3 and what you can code in 3 secs i.e rounded border around my content to exact measure compared to having to draw a rounded corner box in say illustrator and take 5 secs the time builds adds up.

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