Adobe capitulates on Flash, adopts Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming for iOS

“Adobe previewed some new streaming video capabilities of its Flash Media Server at the 2011 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) trade show, including new compatibility with iOS devices like the iPad,” Chris Foresman reports for Ars Technica. “Instead of getting Steve Jobs to relent on his ‘thoughts on Flash,’ however, Adobe is instead adding HTTP Live Streaming support to Flash Media Server.”

“HTTP Live Streaming is a protocol that Apple developed to stream live and recorded video using standard HTTP connections instead of the more difficult to optimize RTSP. It uses H.264-encoded video and AAC or MP3 audio packaged into discrete chunks of an MPEG-2 transport stream, along with a .m3u playlist to catalog the files that make up the individual chunks of the stream,” Foresman reports. “QuickTime on both Mac OS X and iOS can play back this format, and it is the only streaming format compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.”

Foresman reports, “In other words, instead of trying in vain to persuade Apple to build Flash into iOS, or losing potential Flash Media Server customers to some other iOS-compatible solution, Adobe seems to be implicitly acknowledging that content publishers need Flash-free video streaming.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote nearly a year ago: “Flash is being marginalized. Any content provider worth anything simply cannot ignore 100+ million iOS devices.” – MacDailyNews Take, June 10, 2010


  1. errr, MDN Take: “As we wrote nearly two years ago…”
    June 10, 2010 is by, Canadian mathematics, less than 1 year ago.

    Perhaps the Canadian counting method explains why none of our banks have failed

      1. but we also need snowmobiles, snow throwers and long johns… those cost almost as much as a car in the US.

        (truly, the same Toyota RAV4 in Canada will cost $8,000 more here… and that is in Canadian $ which are worth more than the US $)

    1. Wow. Flash to the Canadian Banking System. The Canadian Banking System is very different than the U.S. Banking system. We have countless relatively small regional banks serving specific communities. I think Canada has 5 big banks that have an effective finance cartel over the entire country. The Canadian banks were also not pushed to crank out mortgages like American banks. Only 25% of their assets are mortgages, the remaining 75% other kinds of deposits and debt. The crisis that hit the U.S. was largely based on crap mortgages. In the past Canadian banks have gone broke though. Back in 1985 CCB and Northland went belly up. CCB was bailed out by the Canadian government, and loans from U.S. banks interestingly enough. I remember that there was a bunch of talk about what we now call toxic assets and the CCB bailout didn’t work, and the domino effect of collapsing smaller banks led to bigger banks eating them up, helping to result in fewer banks, what the Canadians have now. So nothing special in Canada really, as usual, just different, at a different time.

  2. “…Foresman reports, “In other words, instead of trying in vain to persuade Apple to build Flash into iOS, or losing potential Flash Media Server customers to some other iOS-compatible solution, Adobe seems to be implicitly acknowledging that content publishers need Flash-free video streaming…”


    Adobe is acknowledging that it will never be able to optimize Flash for mobile devices — too much processing power is required and too much battery life is consumed…


    Adobe simply can’t optimize Flash with current mobile technologies. These questions finally will be answered within the next few weeks, as more competing, Flash-enabled tablets hit the market. If they run Flash efficiently (without dramatically reducing battery life compared to HTML5 solutions) AND if Mobile Flash is crash free, we’ll know Adobe was right and Steve Jobs was wrong.

    Any odds-makers out there?

  3. I think Apple’s devices and client base is more important to the world of mobile computing and content providers than most other mobile platforms. Apple seems to be getting most of the revenue from mobile computing.

    If Flash is battery and memory hungry, then I would think that all mobile platforms would benefit if it went away. I honestly don’t know why Flashtards protest so much about holding on to Flash except for playing free Flash games.

    Anyway, the potential iPad consumer base is going to be too large to completely ignore even if the iPad doesn’t support Flash. Adobe is going to come out looking like the bad guy for not making some changes to get Flash content on iOS devices. It looks like Apple is going to stay firm.

  4. This marriage of Flash and PHP completes the transmogrification of crap code Flash into something theoretically worth using on iOS. Would that they would simply kill off Flash entirely. Now both Flash video AND Flash apps can work on iOS.

    HOWEVER: This is UNPROVEN technology as of yet. We still have these CRITICAL questions to be answered:

    1) Will transmogrified Flash will be friendly to iOS device CPUs and batteries?

    2) Will transmogrified Flash be SAFE? Or will it continue to be the single LEAST secure technology for Apple devices?

    People with brains in their heads want to know!

    I write about Macintosh security at:
    Mac-Security Blog

  5. Flash will gradually fade from use as every site adds iOS compatibility out of business necessity. Sucker ads will go last of course. Adobe is smart to accept the inevitable and try to lead the shift.

    yeah, the “whole web” hype from the competition will sound totally lame very soon … more like the “old web.”

  6. Case in point: Coachella Music Festival is streaming live on YouTube this weekend in Flash only.. missing all iOS users.

    Now with HTTP live streaming on Adobe streaming video servers, next year will be different, much different.


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