Mobility

Apple Talk: Steve Jobs' Flash of insight gives him the final word

Apple's talismanic leader is still making a mark...
Steve Jobs

Jobs' vision for iOS devices and the wider web has been vindicated by Adobe's abandonment of further development of its Flash plug-in for mobile devicesPhoto: CNET Asia

Apple's Steve Jobs continues to cast a long shadow over competitors and customers, says Seb Janacek.

Just over a month after his death, Steve Jobs is still having an impact on the technology world.

First, there was the wave of excitement and speculation raised by the statement in his posthumous biography that he had "finally cracked" the Apple TV issue. Talk was rife of Apple dominating the living room.

Then there was the astonishing admission of defeat from Adobe. It is abandoning further development of its Flash plug-in for mobile devices and focusing instead on the emerging HTML5 standard.

Writing on a blog, Adobe's VP for interactive development said: "HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively. This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms."

Adobe will continue to support licensees but it is effectively game over for the proprietary technology. The announcement signalled Apple's victory over Flash and ratification of Jobs' vision for iOS devices and the wider web.

The news also kicks away a marketing prop for iOS competitors, which have made Flash compatibility and access to the full web a key selling message.

In truth, Flash may have worked better in marketing than on devices. Flash movies requiring user interaction seldom performed as they did on the PCs in my experience. I have no experience of using a tablet other than an iPad for any length of time but Flash is a processor hog on Macs, with my MacBook Pro fan whirring into overdrive on Flash-laden pages. Goodness knows what it did to tablet and smartphone batteries.

In his 2010 missive Thoughts on Flash, Jobs wrote: "Flash has not performed well on mobile devices. We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it." The chances are we may never now.

The publication of the Jobs biography has provided some insight into what motivated his treatment of certain companies and technologies.

An earlier incident with Adobe also provides another example of why Apple now absolutely insists on managing the user experience it wants on its own hardware.

According to the biography, Jobs also felt deeply aggrieved by...

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