The Apple iPad has received enormous coverage these past couple of months. With devices in hand to the consumers, it’s just a matter of time before the final verdict on the device is passed. In the meantime, the “ultimate consumption” device has many users experimenting and stretching the device to it’s limits.
One of the limits however, is one brought upon by Apple itself. It’s the lack of Adobe Flash support. The keynote originally showed the lack of Flash when Steve Jobs ventured upon a website that contained Flash. Many people became sour at the fact that the device, like it’s iPhone/iPod predecessors lacked Flash support. If the device is supposed to replace the night time venture of netbooks and such, why is Flash still left out in the cold?
According to Steve Jobs, running Flash video on the iPad would cut its battery life from 10 hours to a measly 1.5. It is unknown if this is true, but what it does mean though is that it may force websites to rethink their adoption of Adobe Flash on their sites. If the adoption of the iPad into people’s lives becomes a hit like the iPhone, it can force webmasters into rethinking their strategy on consumption.
If a website wants to be seen, it’s important to adapt to what the consumers are using. The iPad could be the game changer in this market. Apple has given us a list web sites that rely on Web standards without Adobe Flash. This makes them ideal for viewing content on the iPad. They have also provided a submission form to include new sites to be added to the “growing list” of standard-compliant pages. This type of move will force Webmasters to rethink and redesign websites into adopting the HTML5 standard and dropping Adobe all together.
It has already shown that the WSJ and NPR have started redesigning their website to ensure the iPad will be able to view their websites. Virgin America has also dropped Adobe Flash to allow the iPhone to view their website and allow others to check on flight information.
So, “Will the iPad force Adobe Flash out of the scene? Probably not, but it appears that Apple has definitely forced the direction of the river when it comes to how websites are to be displayed. Being a thorn of web standards, Apple has also forced rejected apps from their App store to rethink their deployment, Much like Google Voice favored HTML5 to bypass the App Store all together. As long as Apple makes it a pain for others to get their Apps in the App Store, people will adapt to the way Apple has paved the road.
Adobe won’t die but Flash has probably seen it’s peak. This means it’s time for Adobe to step up the challenge. Any Flash developer now has to consider the iPad/iPhone/iPod market and wonder if it’s worth it to lose those potential viewers. It may be worth it as a whole. It all depends on how the iPad takes off and how many viewers are visiting via the iPad. But it probably won’t make much of a change otherwise when it comes to new development. Adobe still does have to make some game changing steps to ensure they stay in this market and not go the way of “Real Player”. Apple may have the upper hand this round. Let’s see how things develop in the coming months.