If you’ve been watching or listening to the coverage of the iPad one of the things that you have almost certainly heard is that it doesn’t have flash. A lot of people have been talking about this because it really is a big deal, especially to web developers but most of those people never really sat down and thought about why, and while you still may not agree with Apples reasoning their point of view, that flash should not be on the iPad has some good points.
The first of these points is that even with flash a lot of websites would have to be redesigned. There are simply a lot of things that are done with flash on a computer that does not work with the interface of the iPad. The best example given is hover over menus. You can’t hover over something with a touch screen. These websites would either give a very bad experience or have to be redesigned anyway.
The second reason is that the iPad like the iPhone and the iPod Touch run on batteries and flash is a memory hog, which means it’s a battery hog. By forcing people to update to new tools you can build them more energy efficient and cause battery life, not only in the iPad and iPhone to go up but also in other devices that use those websites.
The third reason is probably the most important to Apple. That is that having flash on the iPhone breaks the app store. The reason for this is easy if you think about it. A website with flash can do most if not all the things you can do with the iPads programming language and whether you agree or not it is clear that Apple and Steve Jobs wants control over what apps are available on the iPad.
There are two groups of people that you can aim for when you are building a device. For some reason in the past most technological devices went for the hard core group, early adopters, tech heads and gadget lovers but the truth is that this is only a tiny amount of the market and just as the Wii proved that making something simple and fun would work in video games the iPad is going for the other market, the great unwashed who don’t really know how to use a computer and don’t really care and one of the ways that they have done that is by limiting choice. For those of us who understand that can be frustrating but they have good reasons.