The Real Reasons iPhone/iPad Won’t Ever Support Flash – They Can’t

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UPDATE: The gentleman in the video above is Daniel Eran Dilger, author of the Roughly Drafted blog referenced in the post below. I regret any confusion my failure to identify him may have caused. – Lonnie Lazar

Don’t just take Steve Jobs’ word for it. Full-time Flash developer Morgan Adams articulates good reasons why Flash should never come to Apple’s iPad and anyone interested in the Apple-Adobe conflict on the matter of Flash would do well to pay attention to his commentary.

Adams, an interactive content developer, wrote to the Roughly Drafted blog to explain in terms more measured than those used by Mr. Jobs with editors of the Wall Street Journal last week why Flash won’t ever work well on any mobile touchscreen platform:

It’s not because of slow mobile performance, battery drain or crashes. It’s because of the hover or mouseover problem.

Many (if not most) current Flash games, menus, and even video players require a visible mouse pointer. They are coded to rely on the difference between hovering over something (mouseover) vs. actually clicking. This distinction is not rare. It’s pervasive, fundamental to interactive design, and vital to the basic use of Flash content. New Flash content designed just for touchscreens can be done, but people want existing Flash sites to work. All of them—not just some here and there—and in a usable manner. That’s impossible no matter what.

Adams goes on to detail several fundamental incompatibilities between touchscreen operating systems and Flash content on the web, showing why current Flash content can never work well on a touchscreen platform.

In addition, workable alternatives exist for delivering the video content many wrongly believe is unobtainable without Flash, according to Adams:

imagine my embarrassment as a Flash developer when my own animated site wouldn’t work on the newfangled iPhone! So I sat down and made new animations using WebKit’s CSS animation abilities. Now desktop users still see Flash at adamsi.com, but iPhone users see animations too. It can be done.