In Walter Isaacsons biography Steve traced the fault to 2003 when Adobe refused to comply with Steves request to develop a version of the newly rewritten Premier Pro video editor for the Mac. All sorts of reasons can be postulated for this refusal but Apples development of its own Mac-only competing top-end video editor, Final Cut Pro plus Apples GarageBand music editor and Apple’s Aperture as a photo editor all competing with key Adobe products inevitably played a part in the refusal. Also, Adobe’s top brass still had to swallow the bitter taste from a decade earlier when Apple`s Truetype copied Àdobe Type 1 font technology but Apple released Truetype to Adobe’s surprise as open and free software and in the process killed a lucrative font business for Adobe.
Fast forward to 2010 and Steve Jobs refusal to allow Adobe Flash Player to be run on not just iPhone but any iDevice. In an “Open Letter: Thoughts on Flash” Steve sought to justify his stance by raising 6 problems with Flash.
First, Flash ‘is 100% proprietary…Flash is a closed system’. Yet Flash player is free, available on more OS platforms and has more open APIs than Apple QuickTime, Windows Media Player and other competing media or animation players . Also Jobs ignores Adobe’s Open Screen Project and its standardizing work.
Steve wrote “that the loss of Flash Player was slight to iDevice users.” He cites the many Apple game apps made up for the loss of Flash games and the fact that Flash videos were replaced by .H264 videos. Steve fails to note that a)Flash is used on 47% of the 17,000 most popular websites and Flash animations not videos comprise more than half of Flash usage. Finally, millions of Flash-based websites built by Mac users were now unavailable to iDevice consumers.
Third, Steve trashed Flash security, reliability, and performance. “Symantec recently highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009”. What Steve fails to mention is that Apples own QuickTime had an even worse security record in 2009. And for the past 4 years Adobe’s Flash Player and Apple Quick time have had the same number of security advisories at Secunia ‘s respected security service. This despite the fact that Adobe Flash Player offers many more features , coding services, and platform support in comparison to Apple QuickTiime.
Steve cited bugs “We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash. “ but fails to note Apple’s own QuickTime and its continuing buggy behavior.
“In addition, Flash has not performed well on mobile devices. We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it.” And then – “Fourth, there’s battery life.”These are the very worst of Steve’s Reality Distortions. Apple was late in delivering the Apple Accelerator APIs to Adobe and within a month of his notes publication and 2 months of delivery of the APIs from Apple , Flash Player was running on a variety of mobile devices plus matching Quicktime performance on the Mac for speed and battery life. See here, here,here, and summarized here for the real facts.
“Sixth, the most important reason….Flash is a cross platform development tool. It is not Adobe’s goal to help developers write the best iPhone, iPod and iPad apps. It is their goal to help developers write cross platform apps.” Steve baldly states his I-want-a-monopoly case.No customer choice[if Flash Player apps don’t rate customers won’t buy them] allowed. But there is definitely the added burden for software vendors and businesses of having to develop another set of code for their mobile apps. Steve offers up HTML5; but as Steve well knew, HTML5 is not ready in standards, features and performance for primetime animation and application development. As well concentrated all his abusive remarks based on video performance where all parties were in the throes of major developments – ignoring Flash’s other pivotal role in animation and efficient media storage.
Rather Steve imposed his unjustified decision for all Apple users [if they did not like Flash, they simply would not use it – but use on Macs belies that]. So in order to enforce a closed, proprietary and non-cross platform application development on iOS – Adobe Flash, Java, and cross platform code generators are all banned on Apple’s mobile OS.
And so here we have the Steve Jobs Darkside – willing to destroy the work and business of hundreds of thousands of Mac-based Flash developers to create his own Apple iOS monopoly. The FBI report on Jobs is closer to the truth than Isaacson’s biography- Smart, Tough, Dishonest.
Ye Editor also got to witness an iBook Author session and 8 things stood out about iBook Author:
1)It is simple and fairly easy to use given templates and iWorks-like interface;
2)Users can import text from some Office and most iWork apps including styling; but after that import options fall off notably;
3)Adding images, video, HTML5 snippets and widgets and aligning them is really easy [text and object flow around drag and drop operations] making for savvy chapter layouts;
4)It can turn out large iBooks but they are huge files about 1.3 GB for a 100 page, with 10 or so large “animated” illustrations;
5)it can be slowwww at times in design and creation particularly importing 3D objects and perfecting live effects;
As substitutes for Flash animation, iBook Author supports a smorgasbord of specialized widgets, HTML5 snippets, Collada 3D models and interactive quiz drop-ins none of which match the full range of features and options available in Flash. As for animation, Apple’s Quicktime is again found missing in action. This is ironic because QuickTime had many of the same or even worse battery-power, security-risk, and performance problems that Steve Jobs attributed to Adobe Flash. The result is that iBook Author has problems in performance, storage efficiency and the range and robustness of animation features which are routinely available in Flash.
Bottomline: Apple Owes Its Graphics Community a Viable Animation Tool
iBook Author reveals the huge gap in Apple’s software line-up. Having sunk Adobe Flash on dubious if not illegitimate grounds on the iOS platform and doing the same on Mac OS, Apple owes the Mac animation and graphics design community a viable alternative to Adobe Flash. Apple has failed to deliver.