Gruber: Apple tablet likely won’t support Adobe’s Flash

EA Store: Award-winning Games“What about Flash? Lots of people are speculating that The Tablet will run an updated version of iPhone OS. If that’s true, then it almost certainly won’t support Flash. Me? I think The Tablet is going to be running its own Whatever-the-Name-of-the-Tablet-Is OS — but if I had to bet, I’d bet on it not supporting Flash, either,” John Gruber writes for Daring Fireball.

“Why? For most of the same reasons why I don’t expect the iPhone OS ever to support Flash,” Gruber writes. “Flash is the leading cause of application crashes on Mac OS X. It is buggy. It’s inefficient. Presumably The Tablet is going to have a faster CPU and more RAM than an iPhone, but that doesn’t mean Apple isn’t going to treat CPU cycles and memory as any less precious than they do on the iPhone.”

Gruber writes, “As I wrote in February 2008, correctly predicting that Apple would not be adding Flash support to iPhone OS: ‘As it stands today, Apple is dependent on no one other than itself for the software on the iPhone. Apple controls the source code to the whole thing, from top to bottom. Why cede any of that control to Adobe?'”

“To my knowledge, Apple controls the entire source code to the iPhone OS,” Gruber writes. “That’s not to say they wrote the whole thing from scratch. Many low-level OS components are open source. But they have the source. If there’s a bug, they can fix it. If something is slow, they can optimize or re-write it. That is not true for Mac OS X, and Flash is a prime example. The single leading source of application crashes on Mac OS X is a component that Apple can’t fix.”

There’s much more in the full article, “Tablet Musings,” here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “MacVicta” for the heads up.]


  1. …. and that’s why I have click-to-flash on my browser. Unless I really need to watch something in flash, I don’t have to worry about Safari slowing down or crashing!

  2. Flash causes havoc on my safari browsing.

    Flash has been flaunted as “must have”. We’ve gotten this far without it (iPhone). I think we’ll be just fine.

  3. Apple has learned its lesson about not ceding control of an important part of its user experience to a third party. There will be no flash on the tablet, just like the iPhone.

    I remember when I got my first iPod and there was no good way to plug it into my car. I thought, “Surely Apple can’t expect the entire automotive industry to change to accommodate their product.” But that was exactly what Apple expected, and now many (most?) cars have iPod kits standard or optional.

    Its the same with the web. People say “Surely Apple can’t expect the entire Web to be re-written to accommodate the fact that Apple won’t use flash.”

    But the Web will be re-written without Flash. Good riddance.

  4. Why would the iSlate support Flash? It’s meant to
    be nothing more than a new vessel to purchase iTunes content. If you had Flash, you’d have a hell of a lot less dependence on iTunes and that’s no good as far as Steve’s concerned.

    The iSlate is gearing up to be a big ass iPod touch with a few extra features, not the remarkable device in some of our imaginations. Just like the Apple TV, everything you’re expected to do with it will revolve around iTunes. It’ll be a portable iTunes media player, not a tablet computer.

  5. And, now that Apple owns Quattro Wireless, they can even be at the forefront of showing how those “ad” people can still get their point across using HTML5.

    I don’t think Flash is going anywhere because there are MANY Windows systems (and other portables) that run it well enough for their users. But those companies that took their Flash content and quickly exported it as an iPhone app format have GOT to be happy that they’ve got an excuse to monetize their “Free” Flash game.

  6. @Dmitri – And not a moment too soon. Adobe has been on my list since they started charging royalties for PostScript, their supposed always-going-to-be-free page description standard that they suckered the world into adopting. They deserved to die then.

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