Today at Apple’s iPhone OS 4 announcement, there was the predictable and laughable lack of Flash inclusion once again for the fourth-gen OS. Though Apple’s new iAd mobile advertising platform will be based on HTML5, where does it leave the rest of the ad-world who does use the seemingly ubiquitous technology?
After the event, during the Q&A portion, Steve Jobs was asked yet again about any future plans regarding Flash — even just in iAds — in which he promptly replied “no.” It’s now clear that Apple will never use Flash, opting instead for a life of HTML5. While I’m not saying there’s something wrong with HTML5 from an ad-unit point of view, it’s the simple fact that Flash is used in an astonishingly large amount of ad creative already in use from a brand’s inventory.
Now, when advertisers choose to adapt to the iAd platform for distribution, they’ll have to completely re-work their Flash-based ad-inventory instead of simply using the tried-and-true ad-units they already have. What’s the solution?
I think with Apple’s long-term blockage of anything Flash, we’ll see an uprising of Flash-based transcoding to allow the same experiences Flash provides, but scaled to adapt to iPhones, iPod touches and iPads. Greystripe has already made waves with its “iFlash” proprietary transcoding methods, and I think similar methods and fixes will be in the works very soon. That is if Apple doesn’t block those moves as well, which is a strong possibility.
The CEO of Bluestreak Technology, the 2nd largest provider of embedded Flash solutions in the world, was readily anticipating any announcements from Apple this morning as well, and had this to say regarding its lack of Flash;
“From multi-tasking to folders, the new functionality Apple previewed for the upcoming version of the 4.0 OS addresses many of the features loyal iPhone users have demanded since the device’s launch,” said Dominique Jodoin, President and CEO of Bluestreak Technology. “Glaringly absent, however, is support for Flash, a feature which, surveys indicate, consistently remains one of the top items consumers would like to have on the next generation of iPhones. Flash is used on over 85% of the top 100 websites and 75% of all web videos. Until the iPhone supports Flash technology, like most other wireless devices do, and, specifically, many competitive Android-powered devices, it will never offer a complete data services experience to consumers.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself. What do you think? What is your answer to the lack-of-Flash problem? Do you see other solutions besides Flash-based transcoding and work-arounds?