Steve Jobs’ Thoughts On Flash

Adobe to stop Flash to iPhone compiler investment

Adobe recently announced that it has stopped working on Flash for iPhone, which caused some uproar among iPhone users.

Steve Jobs has posted an open letter on Apple’s website offering his “Thoughts on Flash”. It is a must-read to find out the reason for not allowing Flash on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Steve Jobs has provided six reasons for not allowing Flash on its iPhone OS devices.

Open Standards:

Steve Jobs points out that Adobe Flash is proprietary. He admits that iPhone OS is proprietary but argues that web standards should be open giving examples of HTML5, CSS and JavaScript etc. He has also given an example of how Apple had started the open source project and created WebKit, an  open-source HTML5 rendering engine that is the heart of the Safari web browser, which is widely used in almost every smartphone web browser.

The Full Web:

Steve Jobs points out that Adobe’s claim that iPhone OS devices cannot access 75% of the video on the web is not accurate as almost all the videos on the web is available in H.264 format, which works on iPhone OS devices.

He admits that users can’t play Flash games on their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch but highlights that there are 50,000 game and entertainment iPhone apps available in the App Store of which many are free.

Reliability, Security, and Performance:

Jobs points out to a report by Symantec, which highlighted that Flash had one of the worst security records last year.

He claims that Flash is the number one reason for Mac crashes that have persisted even after working with Adobe to fix the problems for many years.

Steve Jobs also highlighted that though Adobe has mentioned that they will bring Flash on the smartphone in early 2009, we still haven’t seen it work well on the mobile.

Battery Life:

Steve Jobs explains that to preserve battery life it is important to decode videos in hardware, which is possible with chips used in most smartphones as they have a decoder called H.264 rather than decoding videos using software. Apple has observed that H.264 videos play for up to 10 hours, while videos decoded in software play for less than 5 hours.


Jobs points out that Flash was designed for PCs using mice and it is not compatible with Apple’s revolutionary multi-touch iPhone OS as there is no concept of a rollover, which is widely used in many Flash based websites.

Third-Party Cross platform development Development Tool:

The most important reason for not allowing developers to use cross platform development tools is because Apple believes that developers end up developing sub-standard iPhone apps as the cross platform development tools would be slower to adopt the changes and improvements that are rolled out by Apple.

Steve Jobs concludes by saying:

New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.

You can read the full text of Steve Jobs’ open letter by following this link.

Are you convinced why we don’t need Adobe Flash on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch?

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  • David Hill

    I despise Flash, and have disabled it on my desktop machines. I consider Apple's exclusion of Flash on my iPhone & IPad to be a bug fix, not a limitation.

  • AJ

    Bullshit, sorry for the language, but to sit down and accuse Adobe (which very much wants to work with Apple) of closed software when they themselves have one of the worst track records when it comes to open software is unbelievable. Simple enough, battery, mouse over or whatever doesn't matter. That like saying certain HTML/javascript codes don't work well with Safari so we're not supporting it. As for battery life, why not leave it to the consumer instead of "babying us" and not allowing us to make our own informed decisions?

    Ughh, I don't understand why so many people view him as a "god". He has his head far up his ass to think "Apple knows best and no one else does".

    Btw, I'm writing this from an Apple computer, so no I am not an Apple hater, I just can't believe how one sided this company is…ughh my next phone will definitely be an Android one, hell a jailbreak isn't even necessary for it.

    • StevieX

      I do not think you understood what Steve was getting at. Perhaps if you read the letter again with a little more understanding it will be come clearer to you.

  • Jay

    Good luck with the android. Lol!!!

  • Ike

    Abandon Apple.

    Bought a Nokia n900 which has a Mameo (Mozilla base) browser.
    Linux base OS on the phone.
    Flash works fine on this phone.
    5 megapixel camera

    go look for yourself

  • apple-lover, esq.

    you don't get it, do you. The public at large are idiots. If you are allowed to decide on battery life, the world wide interwebs will be littered with blogs complaining about it. You can't make everyone happy all the time. In business you pick your battles and Steve Jobs does that very successfully. Please feel free to inform me if you have ever tried to use a PDF without acrobat. That's right, you can't. Exclusivity, no it's called competitive advantage.

    • minetruly

      What are you talking about, “You can’t use a PDF without Acrobat?” You can uninstall Adobe Acrobat and replace it with Nitro, which can handle everything Acrobat handles.

      Speaking of which, is there non-Adobe software that can run Flash files? Can’t Apple pursue ways to handle these files with their own programming?

      Let’s hear from some actual programmers, please!

  • Ybt

    I completely agree with you. I can't stand flash. It causes nothing but problems on computers

  • Mee too

    @ Ike, that phone looks nice on paper but ummmm. Yeah I'll stick with my iPhone. As far as flash is concerned, I've only missed it when it came to Hulu and with them bringing it to the ipad…….Flash who?

  • Thorgvin

    I use PDF's all the time using non-Adobe software. I'm talking create *and* view! I even have a non-Adobe PDF viewer on my iphone. What's the problem here?

  • whatever

    Try Google for free PDF viewer, Duh. You dont leave the Garden of Apple often, do you?

  • John

    I only have one thing to say to those who decided to hate apple for not supporting flash. Don't like it? Buy something else. Even jobs himself have made comments similar to this.

    Speculation and flaming on internet message boards are pointless. Sales figures speak for themselves. Despite apple not supporting flash, they've reported record high sales during a time of recession. 500,000 ipads sold with no flash support.

    Does the majority really care? I think not. The ones who do care, probably don't own an iphone or have no plans to buy one. That's fine, perhaps there'll be more supply for those of us who do appreciate the iphone and who do want it. Not because we're dumb or stupid, but because we're content with what it can do and we're aware of that before we bought it.

  • AJ

    When I bought it originally, Apple was dubious about supporting Flash or not. Now that they have their numbers, they don't care and outright say they're not going to accept flash.

    Tell me, were you so sure in the beginning around when 3G was first out that flash would never be an option, no right?

    And now that I know and see some of the amazing phones out there, I will buy it, but right now I'm stuck with the closed platform device as most people are and if they're happy great, if not, we're screwed.

  • CristV

    if life would be around flash, ure screwed, thank goodness that i don use it, so u use is, good for u, let other dont in peace, be happy with what u have and stop bother the rest of us with this stupid comments, u want to get everyone on ure side of the story, and u cant do that, everything works different for everyone, so its a matter of information y apple dont take use flash, its not like life depends on it, or that everyone has to agree with you.

    bsides, apple its going to do whats best for the company, thats y their in this business, so live and let live.

    ohh and btw, steve explain also y flash its also a closed "While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.", so plz, mind ure own business.

  • YW

    ha, Apple engineers can't make Flash to work on their devices so they are bashing it, o-fense is the best d-fense I guess.
    But let's be honest, Flash support is not the issue but a symptom of a company who wants to control what its customers are doing and how just because they can't integrate. Apple, good UI/usability – mediocre OS.

  • John

    Why should apple engineers bother with trying to make flash work on their platform? Don't you think adobe should've gotten it squared away by now?

    Like Steve says, put it on another phone and show us how great it runs. Personally, I don't care for flash. I use firefox on my windows 7 pc and have flash blocked by default.

  • John

    I didn't want to say it, but the majority rules. Real world sales figures dictate direction, not blog posts or comments.

    Don't like the product? Buy something else. Don't like apple's sdk agreement? Develop for another platform. It's pretty simple really.

    By driving iphone sales down, by driving new iphone/ipad apps down, apple will eventually comply. Otherwise, the majority has spoken on the subject and it will be as it will be.

  • musicmarley

    I have been using OS 10 since it was 10.1
    Flash works great with Firefox.
    Flash works like trash with Safari.
    This I feel is a tactic to sell H264 codec.

  • Sigh..Apple just totally pissed the Adobe off. However, Adobe does not get advantage as well. Now they have to count on Android now.

  • John

    I've been using an iphone since the very first model was released. I've been aware of the flash situation, but like I said above, it doesn't bother me. I never liked flash and didn't miss it at all.

    In fact, I've gotten used to not using flash on my windows 7 machine also. Flashblock enabled.

  • hihihahahoho

    Wise man wise words – Steve Jobs is God! I'm starting to adopting Apple's products and leaving Microsoft behind.

    Long live Steve Jobs! and bring to us more new innovations.

  • mac-convert

    I am a field service technician working to support a Windows only environment in one of the worlds largest companies. I have had considerable experience with supporting Adobe products and I can tell you that their software is problematic. If you were to take a wander through the registry after having uninstalled an Adobe product, like Acrobat pro for instance, you will find literally hundreds of entries to do with their software left behind. Also, they make changes between versions that cause issues with compatibility, especially if a user has reason to require more than one version installed at the same time.

    Mind you they are not the only ones to have these sorts of issues. Microsoft and Corel are two more I can think of, MS Office leaves an enormous amount of rubbish behind after an uninstall also. I am just making the point that Adobe are not renowned for their clean and tidy code. Personally, as a result I would not want anything that Adobe creates anywhere near my computer. Yes you can get other software to create, view and even edit Acrobat files. Some of that alternative software is even free and better written.

    If Apple (Steve) has outlined their reasons for not wanting Flash on their phone or iPad, I say good idea. I surf the web in my spare time a lot and almost never even visit a site where I would need flash support. So what is the big deal? I would imagine that way too much is being made of this decision by Apple and it is irrelevant to most users anyway, since they probably can live just fine without Flash.

    I now own and use my first ever MAC, a Macbook Pro at home and would never go back to the Windows platform. OSX is just better for everything, except games I guess, but you can always dual boot for that if you need to. I also own a iPhone and think it is the best gadget on the planet. It was such a game changer that every other mobile phone maker has rushed to try copy it's design. Witness the many touch phones that have sprung up since the release of the 3G. So if you don't like it, like has been said so many times before, go buy something else….

  • Bill Gay

    Have you guys try to run Adobe Creative Suite on a PC with couple hundred of Presets and Plugins loading? It takes forever to load and actually freezing your PC! My rig is quad-core with 8GB Ram + Windows 7 and still experience the issue… Talking about Adobe is in the business for a long time and hasn't improves anything yet but problematics! Adobe should join with Microsuck and go to hell.

    Microsuck and Adobe products are very similar to each other and that is every expensive and very suck in terms of security, performance…etc. Most of the open source products are way better.

  • lol "most open source products are way better" fucking oxymoron.. as open as Mac OS X, Apple products and the App store? My $1700 Mac has way less then that but it has no problem running photoshop, even with all the plug-ins, etc. I've installed.. sounds like it's either Winblows or you fucked up your setup somewhere along the way.

  • raspelele

    I'm sick and tired of the shyt these so called apple funboys are saying on here, No i'm not a Microsoft funboy not a apple funboy , i have a macbook pro, mac mini, ipod touch, iphone 3GS, HD2 and a toshiba laptop running win 7. All these products works fine for me, i use flash almost everyday, both on the mac and the win machine and have no problems at all. My problem i have is safari webkit crashing like there is no tomorrow.

    All lot of people posting on here are talking about not using flash anyway but bare in mind that the most web user in the world are people from the ages of 12 to 30, who heavily use flash online, it being on laptops or desktop. secondly, i can say majority of people using the ipod touch are young and most use flash. Honestly i don't even believe the people that claim they don't use flash on the web. "BUNCH OF LIARS"

    In conclusion , Apple is just fun of dictating to the user what they should have and can't have. Take your head out of your ass and stop saying, buy another product if you don't like their policies. They make these products and they are good, we lack certain things on them and we are voicing our opinions, STFU and don't read the blog if you are troubled by our opinion .


  • moz

    But then again you're correct with the assumption that people are idiots. And I must admit that if what "Steve Job's thoughts" are true then she shouldn't even expect great support of Flash on Android.

  • steve bill gay

    fucking i'm removing all adobe products off my pc! they causing my pc to run slow and crash….

    In Steve We Trust – You will see this slogan in a new $100 bill.

    Most PC user are porn and piracy freaks –

    Windows + Flash – Great for porn and piracy!

    MAC – In Steve We Trust!

  • asdf

    Now, you know you're not getting an Android. Go take a breather and then pick up your iPhone and rekindle with it's fascinating technology that you know you will sorely miss should you decide to get an Android.

  • Krew92

    Wow you guys grew up with FLASH, backstabbing betrayers.

  • Krew92

    And the damn Flash haters just be quiet nobody cares if you took off flash from your computer, enjoy your half-assed experience on the web!

  • AJ

    Everyone on my side? I'm sorry I'm not listening to Steve's every word and just accepting what he says. I have a right to complain about the product that I DESERVE to do what I wish to it because I paid with MY money for it. I don't see how Apple is any different from any company, but is in fact WORSE when it comes to open software. They very reasons people hate Microsoft can easily be found in Apple. Anyways, barring certain things, such as piracy which should be controlled, the iPhone shouldn't be so closed up just to further Apple's wishes. I mean really, do you honestly believe Steve has his customers' interest in mind when all he's interested in is the bottom line?

    BTW, everyone's wish list is Flash for the iPhone so please, stick your head out of your ass and don't follow a money hungry company so blindly.

  • hc

    I agree with AJ. You Apple lovers are lemmings and should fall off a cliff. No company should have to right to restrict what you install on devices you bought.

    You don't see a car manufacturer say you can't listen to hip hop music in a car you bought do you? Apple is taking away you rights. Straight up dictatorship!

  • hc


    No wonder Steve's last name is Jobs…you morons give him BJ's all day.

  • John

    A more fitting example would be the keyless start from toyota. I love that feature, but I can't go into a honda dealership and demand they install it on the honda I wanna buy. They'll tell me to go buy a toyota if that's the feature I want.

    You talk about rights? Companies have rights as well. They don't have to submit to petty demands. Apple isn't a monopoly. There are plenty of alternatives. Exercise your right to choose.

    I don't put you down for your preference in phones, so there's no need to put anyone else down who prefer something different than you. I simply said on this topic that if you don't like an apple product, just buy something else.

    I don't like "something else" which is why I buy apple products. Same concept applies to you.

    The only idiots are the ones who spend hard earned money on a product and know that the product does not support the feature they want. LOL to that!

  • Joker69

    Just wait for the Government to step in from all over the world because of Apples practices, with the help from AT&T, the most "shitty" network….

  • steve bald head

    everybody lets start removing Flash off their pc and see how well it performance then start to spread the words………and the end of Flash is near. -_-

  • Joshua Parker

    I'm a website designer who always hated Flash. Being a designer my platform has alway been Mac OSX. Flash has alway crashed my browser and performed sluggish. It's a difficult to understand action script 2.0 and 3.0 and the different publishing standards for each script.

    JQuery (javascript) has been a dream to use. HTML 5 video (H.264) is the perfect platform to view video crisp and clear.

    I hope Adobe and Microsoft will get there head out there ass soon and adopt the growing number of designers using web standards.

    We (designers) are sick of "hacking" code to get things working in these technologies.
    IE 6 must die and Flash must go back to what it was created for, high end programing applications, not video and sideshows.

  • hc

    John your argument with Honda would make sense if Honda didn't allow you to do it. You are still free to do it yourself…Apple restricts you on a device you own. There is nothing petty from demanding this from a device you own and is capable of doing. This is outrageous. Apple does have the monopoly of the best phone and buying another phone isn't really what I want.

  • Ike

    Somewhere back there I mentioned a Nokia n900 i bought which supports Flash. I should point out I also have an iPhone 3G 16gig.

    To be clear, its not about loving Nokia over Apple. Apple makes sleek devices. When I bought my iPhone a few years ago flash support was coming soon. Apple employees were saying so in the stores. I think they fully believed that. Unfortunately Steve Jobs shoved his head back up his own disposal chute so far all he could hear was his own ego.

    Flash will never ever ever come to the iPhone. Jobs wants your money, all of it for the basic functionality that every computer has had for years. He held back copy and paste for god's sake.

    I do think Flash is often abused for putrid purposes online. Adverts, content protection, asinine video loaders that could be done far better in other ways. Regardless of this Flash is part of the online experience. The iPhone I bought was portrayed as being fully internet website capable. It never has been and never will be.

    Steve Jobs and his minions at Apple mislead you. They are nothing but con men(con women too). They now have the effrontery to put out a tablet that lives in the same walled garden of limited functionality where you have to purchase and repurchase basic functionality.

    I have used Apple computers for many years. I will never ever buy another Apple product until they clean up their act.

    Just so you know the difference i can run full open office on a nokia n900 not just a file viewer. Walled gardens are cute novelty devices. Trendy for a while, but soon to be a passing fad.

  • apelpapa

    i do think flash is a little buggy, but still i think you should at least have an option to get it or not… as long as when you download it you get all the warnings it shouldnt be a problem… right?

  • Lyger000

    We Should be given the choice as to whether we use Flash or not regardless of the code from adobe being crap or useless.
    Apple tend to bully the customer and push them into a corner, yes their products are good when they work (IOS4 and Iphone4 pushed out unfinished) but Apple seem to have a like it or lump it attitude towards the customer which considering the price of their products seems a bit harsh.
    Apple shouldnt continue to depend on their fan base and should treat the customer fairly, in this day and age why not include a memory card slot in a phone and why lock the carrier? its because of greed and the lack of respect for the customer apple i believe were the first to charge for a firmware upgrade? Many Apple users would pay for the next iphone if it was an empty shell and let Apple sell them the components one at a time for an extortionate price, while the apple fan base is blindly buying their products apple will continue to be greedy and inconsiderate ! (Yes I have an iphone purley on the fact its jailbroken and can be improved, if apple stop the geniuses out there who give us jailbreaks then they take away a choice for us to do as we want with a potentially awesome product.)

  • doctorsid

    Steve Jobs is becoming another Bill Gates. He doesnt want Flash on his stuff so he can control what you buy instead of get for free. There is no comparison to what you can do in Flash against HTML 5. This whole argument really is about video playback. HTML 5 cant come close to the timeline based stuff you can create in Flash.

    If Adobe stopped making Photoshop for the mac, I know Steve would have to change his plans, or just not make computers anymore and stick to phones and overpriced magazine readers. Without Adobe, there is no mac desktop need.

  • What the hell us wrong with u peopl? Flash is widely used all over the web and I think it would be great to have it on the iPhone, I just wish frash worked on iPhone 3G 🙁

  • Really! People

    Wow. So much hatred among us users. Look, the truth is out there. Some of us are living in denial. I’m not taking on any side. Fad or trend will come and go. If you look past the secret agenda then you will really know, however with disappointments. Everyone have different needs. Just remember to not follow, but to lead. Freedom of choice within limitation will have you always wondering. Freedom with no limits is the best

  • Beleth

    I use flash everyday on my pc and mac, and never came across any security issues with it. It also runs smoother than many other programs. Wht i can’t view on the iphone i view on the pc, no problem with that. The problem is the lack of choice that apple gives to its customers, both when it comes to appss and customization/tweaking. That’s why all my idevices are jailbroken. But that’s my personal opinion.

    Bottom line, if you are happy to have the standard things, use a normal idevice, otherwise, jailbreaking is free (and u actually get a port of flash as well that way), with its risks of course. Everyone’s choice.