Flash Developer Explains Why Touchscreen Devices like iPad, iPhone Cannot Use Flash

Why Flash cannot work on the iPad

There has been a lot of discussion lately over the lack of Flash support in iPhone OS

Most of the arguments presented have been about the technology being buggy, crash-prone and resource intensive. Steve Jobs has also called it a "dying technology". 

However, one perspective that has largely been missed so far has been about a fundamental way in which most Flash applications operate that makes it unsuitable for use on not just the iPad or iPhone, but also on most of the touchscreen devices in the market. 

According to Flash developer Morgan Adams, one of the biggest issues with Flash on touchscreen devices is the hover/mouseover event. Adams writes that most of the Flash applications available on the internet today are built with a mouse pointer based control in mind. As a result, these applications respond differently to mouse-hovering as against an actual click.

For instance, hovering your mouse pointer over a running video will bring up the media control options. However, on clicking the video, it may be paused. Adams explains that touchscreen devices are not built to recognize a mouseover as input, which means that most of the Flash files on the web today may not respond as desired to users accessing them from these devices. As Adams points out, Flash based games, maps, videos and advertisements are all prone to be affected due to this issue. 

The pervasive nature of this problem means finding a solution to this for touchscreen users is both a complex and impractical proposition. Adams explains that alternate mechanisms for differentiating hovering from mouse clicks using gestures or tap based inputs needlessly complicate the experience. As he notes, even if users were to disregard the other issues with Flash, the mouse-hover problem is one that can be difficult to substitute on the touchscreen devices.

Ironically, this is also an issue that Apple has been working at. Our readers will recall a patent application filed by Cupertino earlier this year that sought to bring a proximity detection system to the iPhone/iPad touchscreen. Such a technology will enable touchscreen users substitute a simple mouseover event with an equally intuitive finger input. 

An interesting perspective by Adams on why touchscreen devices like iPhone, iPad cannot use Flash. What are your thoughts on this?

[via Roughly Drafted]

  • dxs101

    COME ON,
    Stop feeding us SHIT, seriously, me and apple slice are pissed,

    STUPID MOUSE POINTER SHIT,

    Were not asking for 10000 percent compadible working god damn flash just flash FFS, EVERY other smart phone has it, god

  • Bif

    x2.

  • dxs101

    Sorry for the crappy grammar/spelling.

    But like really… I'm sick of going onto website and getting "this site requires flash".

    Like really.. apple were not JUST asking for some flash videos/games. Just some basic flash please:(

  • Ike

    What a load of manure. Complex and impractical?? Name your gesture or finger combo and tell users what it is.
    Most of us can manage moving 2 fingers at the same time.

    This legion of lies is simply to stop flash applications from being mounted on web pages and cutting the App Store's profits by 99.5%.

  • o

    wtf does nokia n900 ring a bell!

  • iPhone DOESN'T HAVE FLASH!!

    FFS!!
    We're NOT GETTING Flash!!
    Deal with it!!
    Go see a therapist if it's that big a headf#*k
    If you wanted Flash, and you know the iPhone doesn't have it, ISN't GOING TO GET IT, then why the f#*k buy one in the first place??

    Tip!!
    Don't buy an iPad either, you might be a little upset (BY THE LACK OF FLASH)

  • iPhone DOESN'T HAVE FLASH!!

    FFS!!
    We're NOT GETTING Flash!!
    Deal with it!!
    Go see a therapist if it's that big a headf#*k
    If you wanted Flash, and you know the iPhone doesn't have it, ISN't GOING TO GET IT, then why the f#*k buy one in the first place??

    Tip!!
    Don't buy an iPad either, you might be a little upset (BY THE LACK OF FLASH)

  • anonymous

    ^lawl.

  • jimmy

    hummm y does the droid have flash???? it touchscreen

  • http://www.priphone.com rreveron@yahoo.com

    Funny how people say that "every other smart phone" has it. Last time I checked "Every other smart phone" wanted to be an iPhone. Go figure…

  • SteveJobs

    HTML5 FTW baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • HB

    I seriously think Steve disabled Flash so that we have to turn to the Appstore if we ever want to do anything interesting on the iphone…

  • Bill Gates

    Good rant buddy!

  • lead

    ^ OH RLY?!

  • http://www.theyliveandwesleep.com Nada

    I forget, Whats the brown stuff scattered in a Matador ring called ? Oh right, BULL SHIT !!!

    " I've got one that can see !!! "
    +theyliveandwesleep.com+

    " TL Agenda Commericials !!! "
    +theyliveandwesleep.com+

  • KrisG

    Very true. After all, if we could play flash games on sites (or even downloaded for offline), then that's 30% of that game's sales Apple won't be getting their hands on.

  • hxclos

    This makes so much sense I can't believe it never fully crossed my mind. You speak of the proximity patent but let's not forget the touch sensitive case. And why would Apple spend so much time reinventing the mouse? You could use the back of the case as a mouse pointer. Another idea would be to have a stand alone flash player much like Quicktime, equipped with touch screen settings that support different gestures.

  • D

    Doesn't html5 allow you to write apps
    and ads similar to flash???
    If that is the case how can you accuse
    apple of trying to stop these apps from
    being written. The fact is no flash based
    app is as slick as the ap store apps and
    it up to the devs to decide how much to
    charge for them.

  • skeptical steve

    Do you know how VERY SMALL the revenue from applications is as a % of Apple's revenue? I don't know the number, but I know they don't give a sh*t about their app store revenue, they just want to complement the iPhone the best they can. Hence, this is not a good argument.

  • daniel

    Your Retarded