Adobe versus Apple

Posted on April 13, 2010

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This review is based on the numerous websites that had been debating this issue the last 2 weeks. I have listed the 6 links below. Each link wwill direct you to any sub-links if any

This latest battle between Adobe and Apple is now on based on these 2 issues:

1.  Flash browser plug-in.
2.  Apple is not allowing apps created using third-party development platforms

It is now public that Adobe Systems is unhappy with Apple “ban” on using Adobe’s Flash  in their new iPhone and iPads.

Lee Brimelow ( Adobe’s Flash evangelist ) had cried out  on his Flash blog –   Quote : 

Adobe and Apple has had a long relationship and each has helped the other get where they are today. The fact that Apple would make such a hostile and despicable move like this clearly shows the difference between our two companies. All we want is to provide creative professionals an avenue to deploy their work to as many devices as possible. We are not looking to kill anything or anyone. This would be like us putting something in our SDK to make it impossible for 3rd-party editors like FDT to work with our platform. I can tell you that we wouldn’t even think or consider something like that.

Lee Brimelow end his post saying, “Speaking purely for myself, I would look to make it clear what is going through my mind at the moment. Go screw yourself Apple.”

Flash 10.1 will be available  to Android, webOS and Windows Mobile bringing  “true desktop-class” browsing experience on these mobile devices.  Apple had promised such with the iPhone but had failed to deliver. Apple is proposing a new alternative HTML5 for its new iPhone and iPAD. HTML5 is still at infancy stage and for the time being all iPhone and iPAD users will just have to accept that their devices cannot use more than 75% of videos/apps on the internet as these required Flash support.

Apple was displeased with Flash . Apple claim  too much resources was required  for a small mobile smartphone while the mobile version of the browser plugin was lacking in feature and usability –  thus, Apple left Flash off of the iPhone. Ironically only last year, the 2 companies did  announced that they were working together to bring some version of Flash to the iPhone, but there hasn’t been much progress as even now Apple has left out Flash support on  iPad. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said Apple is now making a push for HTML5 standards rather than the flash plugin. In addition quoting poor performance of the desktop version of Flash and that the mobile version of Flash is limited in potential, Jobs also accused Flash of taking a toll on battery life.

With the announcement of iPhone OS 4.0, users found that Apple has implemented new language in its SDK that bars developers from using compilers for third-party development environments that would make it quick for developers to create multi-platform apps with ease. A big player that will be  shut out of the iPhone with OS 4.0 is Adobe, which had hoped to leverage Flash and Adobe Air as part of its Creative Suite 5 engine to allow developers to cross compile and create apps for multiple platforms.

Daring Fireball reports that Adobe’s upcoming Flash-to-iPhone compiler, that aims to let Flash developers take advantage of the iPhone platform, will produce iPhone apps that violate the iPhone OS 4 SDK:

The latest language change states:

“Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).”

When Adobe announced its Flash-to-iPhone compiler last year, the idea was to turn some Flash apps into native iPhone apps. In order to do that, Adobe created a new tool that will be part of Flash Professional CS5. This tool is again based on a system that violates the new iPhone OS 4 SDK. In other words, Flash-to-iPhone apps submitted to Apple’s App Store will be declined. The new iPhone OS 4 SDK basically tells Adobe to turn Flash apps into HTML5 apps if they want to reach iPhone users.

This segment of the agreement effectively locks out the use of Adobe’s Flash-to-iPhone compiler. Developers have used this program to import their designed apps into a format which the Apple App Store can, in turn, process. This means that developers who have been developing using this tool will have to find another way, just because Apple doesn’t enjoy that platform.

While Adobe isn’t the only one targeted–Java, Silverlight application ports, as well as Flash app ports are affected–the latest move by Apple seems to incite and fuel a long battle already being fought in Silicon Valley.

Jobs had defended his move in the language change of the iPhone 4.0 SDK stating that the move is to create a common set of APIs for multitasking to be effective on the iPlatform. According to Jobs, “We’ve been there before, and intermediate layers between the platform and the developer ultimately produces sub-standard apps and hinders the progress of the platform,” referencing the multitasking efforts that Apple is rolling out.

Whether the move will hurt Apple in the end with developers migrating to other platforms–such as webOS, Android, Symbian, or Windows Mobile–is still unclear. Apple stated during its keynote that it has 85 million iPhones and iPod Touch devices sold. In addition, the company is ramping up its iPad platform, which is cross-compatible with iPhone apps, creating a greater market for apps and more incentive for developers to remain within the iPhone ecosystem.

During the iPhone 4.0 keynote, Jobs also introduced HTML-based ads, called iAds–a product of Apple’s foray into mobile advertising–that takes a lot of the way interactive Flash ads are based, but are built using the open HTML5 standards. Apple has also been courting developers and content providers, including the ABC television network, YouTube, the popular Ted.com website, the New York Times, and others to make their videos for the company’s iPad tablet available in HTML5 rather than the Flash plugin.

 iAd is part of Apple’s recent strategy to set precedents without using Flash support  for both iPhone and iPad. This lack of support became a large issue when the company decided to release their iPad tablet, as Adobe claims that Flash is installed on 98% of Internet enabled desktops, and 75% of all video online is viewed through their technology. How would they be able to tout the iPad as the “ultimate browsing experience” if it could not see half the videos and a large amount of ads that are on the Internet?

Apple then did what it does best, and set a precedent. Apple is now asking all developers to drop Flash and support HTML5 as the new standard. It is analogous to asking the world not to develop apps for Windows OS but for  MacOSX. Apple hope this will then create the demand for more Apple iPhones/iPads killing off all Symbian, Windows mobile devices.

Android will fare better as it is not averse to HTML5, as any device with 2.0 and above has built-in support for the format.

The success of HTML5 is not certain and it is anyone bet it could fail , meaning the new Apple products might need to re-instate the flash plugin . In this scenario,  just imagine the amount of apps that had been develop without flash plug-in , all might need to be redevelop again.

Admob, the largest SDK for mobile ads has  being acquired by Google and is available to develop for Flash. At the moment, it has three SDKs: Flash, Android and iPhone. Apple wanted to acquire Admob but lost to Google. Infact this is one of the rumors why Apple now wants to “punish” Google by suing HTC.  Now that it’s directly competing with Apple’s iAd, it will be interesting to see if Admob will change to Apple’s new standards or perhaps cater more to Android developers.

Links about this issue :

http://theflashblog.com/?p=1888

http://daringfireball.net/2010/04/why_apple_changed_section_331

http://daringfireball.net/2010/04/iphone_agreement_bans_flash_compiler
http://pocketnow.com/tech-news/apple-adobe-war-heats-up-with-iphone-40

http://www.engadget.com/2010/02/10/adobe-got-7-million-iphone-and-ipod-touch-download-requests-for/

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/02/18/steve_jobs_calls_flash_a_cpu_hog_in_meeting_with_wsj_rumor.html