Since we are living in the Year of Our Lord Twenty-Ten, today’s comic is so far behind the news cycle that I might as well be discussing the Wars of the Roses if I’m trying to be relevant to current events. Starring Adobe Flash and the Apple iPad, my illustration references a product announced an entire thirteen days in the past (gasp!).
If you can remember that far back into the past, you might recall that the iPad is something to the effect of an iPod Touch nega-Mini, being simultaneously some sort of multimedia super-nexus and entirely incapable of fitting into your pocket. I’m not sure yet if I have a need for a device guaranteed to break my neck while I try to watch
adult action films on it. But I’m sure at this point that the iPad has for all extents and purposes killed Adobe Flash.
Right? I’m sure I read that in the Wall Street Journal somewhere.
No? My bad.
As it turns out, Flash shares that quality with Mark Twain wherein the reports of its death are doubtlessly greatly exaggerated. It remains to be seen if the iPad will sell like hotcakes (my bet: it will) but even if it does some people might have forgotten about these little devices we have around the house called desktop and laptop computers.
Well, they still have browsers that can install the Flash plug-in. And if the immortality that Internet Explorer 6 is experiencing is any guide, there’s no reason to believe that Flash is going anywhere anytime soon. Plenty of cartoons, online video, and video games are still being churned out onto the web via Flash.
I’m debating if that’s a pity or not.
I’d rather not have a situation where a given browser decides for me what content I will or won’t view on the Internet. As a consenting adult, I’m pretty sure I have the decision-making power to do that myself. However, the fact is, Apple has made that decision, and likely won’t back down from it, and more devices like the iPad will continue the trend.
If I were Adobe, I’d be looking into how to transition the Flash authoring tool from something that outputs only SWF files into something that produces pre-generated Canvas/JS/CSS code. A sort of interactive Dreamweaver on steroids. That would allow the thousands of developers that use it to painlessly transition into a post-plugin era while still making use of their tool of choice.
Of course, until either Adobe cries uncle or all browsers get on the same page in regards to HTML5 feature adoption (like which video codec to use), all that devices like the iPad are doing for me personally is creating a situation where I have to stuff even more code into the same video on a page; if I want my clients’ videos to show on all available browsers and devices, that is.
That said, I’m not really attached to Flash. If I can get my videos and other rich content without it, then good riddance. Which is, allegedly, what the iPad’s move is leading us towards (or, more cynically, towards iTunes purchases of video content).