on flash on the iPhone / iPod Touch


There's much wringing of hands about the announcement from Apple that the iPhone (and iPod Touch) would not be getting Flash in the foreseeable future. I'm actually pretty happy that Flash isn't on the way. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good Flash website or video as much as the next guy.

But try this: on your Mac, open Activity Monitor. Let it process for a few seconds to get a baseline reading. Then, open a Flash website. Watch the change in Activity Monitor. On my 8-core Xeon Mac Pro system, a Flash website easily chews through 50% of a 3 GHz core - over a gigahertz of CPU without breaking a sweat.

That's more CPU than is available on my iPod Touch, which only sports an embedded 400MHz Arm chip and 128MB of RAM. And, even if the Touch could muster up the horsepower to run a Flash site, it would suck the battery dry pretty quickly, and crank out more heat than would be healthy for the little device.

No Flash? No big deal. I don't think it's an evil conspiracy, nor a ploy to force Adobe to cater to Apple. It's a decision based on something very simple and pragmatic: adding Flash would detract from the overall iPhone / iPod Touch user experience. People would start complaining about crappy battery performance, overheating iPhones, and sluggish UI responses. Better to just say no to Flash (at least in the current incarnation) and find a better way. For video, the iPhone chipset can handily decode higher quality (but non-Flash) video without breaking a sweat.

I'm hopeful that tomorrow's SDK announcement is going to bring some very cool stuff. I'm also hopeful that whatever apps are made available (even if Flash is one of them) that I won't have to worry about battery life when running them.


See Also