by Ron Daly
A few weeks ago, we were talking iPhone apps. Now we need to make an amendment and change "iPhone" to "iPad".
Apple's new innovation debuted to much fanfare a week ago, with people immediately responding with either exuberant delight or a loud "ho-hum". Is it the latest, greatest thing since sliced bread and a surefire change to the world of computing, or is it a giant iPod Touch that plays movies? If I know anything about Apple - and I don't claim to be an expert, but I DO own an iPhone - it's that Apple will be releasing a "Version Two" shortly thereafter with everything re-done. Advice from me to you? Wait a generation or two.
Something that's been striking me as kind of odd is the anti-Flash sentiment. Flash used to be THE thing that every site designer bragged about - we can do a Flash cartoon! We've got a streaming video player! Flash buttons! A Flash splash page, or even a whole website!
The iPad, like the iPod Touch and iPhone, doesn't do Flash. And Apple is dead set against making plugins for their new wonder-toys.
This has touched off the powder on a war between Flash developers/supporters and Apple devotees. Steve Jobs, head of Apple, is saying that Adobe (the people behind Flash) are being lazy. He blames most of the crashes that happen on your Mac-based browsers on Flash and says that HTML 5 is going to be the new way forward.
HTML 5 - sounds futuristic, yes? After all, HTML 4 dropped way back in 1999. HTML 5 is supposed to have built in video players that don't require Flash, along with dozens of other goodies that are designed to make content more accessible and make web design easier. Instances of HTML 5 are being tested and tried by developers across the web as we speak. Still, and there are still some that doubt HTML 5 and Internet Explorer will play nice , even at IE developer's insistence that HTML 5 will work just fine with the browser that gets used by more than half of all Internet users. As Wired Magazine said:
Still, given HTML 5's lofty ambitions - to bring the web to maturity as a full-fledged application platform, a level playing field where video, sound, images and animations are all standardized - it might be quite a bit longer before we see sites start to adopt the new features. (Read More)
So, even if Apple's playing the long game, they're still going to be cutting Flash-heavy sites off at the knees on its new computing platform. Buggy or no, shouldn't a system that's focused on "content delivery" be delivering ALL kinds of content?
I don't want you to think Flash is the only thing that will change when HTML 5 rolls out - other script heavy endeavors are going to hit the wall as well. Your food for thought of the day: is the iPad REALLY going to change the way people interact with the web so completely that we can raze the old foundations? Are so many people going to start using iPad Safari that IE will finally lose its top-dog status? Seems like a lot of people's hard work is hanging on that little rectangle.
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