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Apple Opens Up iPhone To Third-Party Browsers

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the boiling-your-own-frog dept.

Cellphones 75

sedition writes "MacRumors is featuring a story on Apple's discreet decision to open the iPhone to 3rd-party browsers, by allowing them to appear on AppStore. While the big players are still at bay, several choices are offered, allowing you, e.g. to browse anonymously or in fullscreen. Prices vary."

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No Flash (2, Insightful)

alain94040 (785132) | more than 5 years ago | (#26570995)

Sorry, these are just different skins on top of the same Safari (webkit) engine. Of course, Flash is still forbiddden on the iPhone. It's sad, but there's a very good reason for it.

Imagine if anyone could do dummy iPhone apps using Flash, put them anywhere on the web, with absolutely no control from Apple. There'd be popups asking you to enter your credit card every 10 seconds, ads left and right, etc. Users would eventually be fed up and find the iPhone ugly. I guess Apple cares too much to let that happen.

--
FairSoftware.net [fairsoftware.net] -- where geeks are their own boss

Re:No Flash (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26571037)

This, I swear, is a first post, and the best and most relevant I've ever read.

You've been preparing from the firehose, haven't you?

Re:No Flash (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26571075)

No, its an unbelievably poorly thought out post. I mean WTF? Flash will lead to fake apps? Why hasn't Apple banned Javascript then?

Re:No Flash (4, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 5 years ago | (#26571041)

Imagine if anyone could do dummy iPhone apps using Flash, put them anywhere on the web, with absolutely no control from Apple. There'd be popups asking you to enter your credit card every 10 seconds, ads left and right, etc. Users would eventually be fed up and find the iPhone ugly. I guess Apple cares too much to let that happen.

Does that happen with your non-portable computer (Desktop) running OS X & Safari?

Does it happen with your more portable computer (laptop) Mac running OS X & Safari?

So WTF do you think it will happen with your extremely portable computer (iPhone) running OS X & Safari?

Don't visit malicious websites.

If Apple sees any threat from Flash, it is people being able to develop & distribute Apps out of Apple's control.

Re:No Flash (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26571105)

If Apple sees any threat from Flash, it is people being able to develop & distribute Apps out of Apple's control.

Getting warmer. If Apple sees any threat from Flash, it's in providing a distribution system for multimedia that is out of Apple's control. Remember, Apple still makes a lot of money off the iTunes Music and TV stores. They don't want to have competition from the likes of Hulu.com or NetRadio.com. Especially if users get the bright idea of streaming this data over a cell network. (ugh)

The technology that worries Apple for apps is Java. Though I have to concede that J2ME apps tend to be craptastic. They're simply underpowered for a device as sophisticated as the iPhone.

Re:No Flash (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 5 years ago | (#26571215)

If Apple sees any threat from Flash, it's in providing a distribution system for multimedia that is out of Apple's control.

Bingo - you're quite correct, but don't dimiss flash as a viable dev platform for many of the I-am-rich-style non-apps that make up the bulk of the appstore.

Re:No Flash (2, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26571249)

don't dimiss flash as a viable dev platform

As an app platform, Flash can't do anything that Javascript/DHTML can't. (See my sig for an example.) Except for multimedia.

The apps in the appstore are there because the appstore provides a useful distribution channel to get apps in front of users. i.e. a "push" model. Apps on the Internet are much harder to find and require active searching by the user. i.e. the "pull" model

Re:No Flash (1)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585671)

So when can I expect your Javascript/DHTML version of this [unitzeroone.com] ? :D

Seriously, though. It's not so much about what you CAN do in Javascript/DHTML, but how much you have to invest to make certain things a reality. I've been coding in Flex for the last year and I cannot imagine how much work I'd have to go through to reproduce some of the applications I've built in Javascript/DHTML, much less to have it work consistently on a variety of operating systems.

Re:No Flash (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26585989)

That? That's easy.

http://lbi.lostboys.nl/blog/artikelen/canvas-in-full-3d/ [lostboys.nl]
http://www.nihilogic.dk/labs/wolf/ [nihilogic.dk]
http://www.nihilogic.dk/labs/canvas3dtexture_0.2/ [nihilogic.dk]
http://blog.nihilogic.dk/2008/06/3d-javascript-chess-mouse-support.html [nihilogic.dk]
http://www.kaarellumi.com/asylum/html/dyn10.htm [kaarellumi.com]
http://acko.net/files/projective/index.html [acko.net]
http://wiioperasdk.com/ [wiioperasdk.com]

I have seen 3D experiments that do environment mapping like you showed, but I'm afraid I don't have them handy. Of course, I doubt either Papervision 3D or a Javascript 3D engine would work very well on the iPhone. If the Canvas3D spec gets finalized, then we might end up with direct access to the 3D hardware which *would* make it possible to run 3D on such devices. (I've been asking for that on the Wii for some time. Especially since the fill rate in the browser is awful.)

Don't let my little game fool you. I'm limited to the technical capabilities of a much less powerful machine than your average desktop. (i.e. The Nintendo Wii) Since I couldn't push as many pixels on that platform, I threw in a few cinematic effects to add some pizazz. I can and have made that game run so fast on the desktop so as to be unplayable. Thus what you see is intentional limiting to keep a game at a reasonable speed. Browsers are capable of a LOT more these days.

It's not so much about what you CAN do in Javascript/DHTML, but how much you have to invest to make certain things a reality. I've been coding in Flex for the last year and I cannot imagine how much work I'd have to go through to reproduce some of the applications I've built in Javascript/DHTML, much less to have it work consistently on a variety of operating systems.

It's really not that hard once you get the hang of it. The big difference I think is that it's not a very mature market yet. But it is growing and FAST. I give it a year, maybe two before JS applications start displacing Flash.

Check these out:
http://blog.nihilogic.dk/2009/01/2008-year-of-awesome-javascript.html [nihilogic.dk]
http://www.pixastic.com/ [pixastic.com]
http://ejohn.org/blog/processingjs/ [ejohn.org]
http://jstween.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

Re:No Flash (1)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 5 years ago | (#26586219)

From the very first link:
Canvas is currently supported by all browsers except IE. Although various techniques are available for bridging this gap, this engine is probably a few bridges too far to ever work without native support or a plugin.

From the second:
Works in at least Firefox 2.0.0.14 and Safari 3.1.1 (a bit buggy, and the latest webkit nightlies don't work well). Opera is best with the beta. No Internet Explorer support.

And the third:
Please use a canvas-enabled browser (Firefox, Opera or Safari).

That's pretty much where I stopped as you're sensing the pattern. That's where Flash really runs circles around the others. Yeah, they're not perfect, either, but I do think they have a much better game plan. And the tools like Flex Builder make it relatively painless to develop high quality applications in minimal time, which is only unimportant if you don't value your time.

Keep in mind in this year or two while it tries to mature, the Flash market will be getting even MORE mature. And there will always be far less to explain to your boss about why your app doesn't work on XYZ browser version Q because of it's implementation of feature A isn't... blah blah blah, you get the point.

Re:No Flash (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26586529)

IE is currently the only browser without Canvas support. There is a solid solution using Java applets for emulation. (Current excanvas solution uses VML which isn't fast enough.) The *problem* is that IE is not worth supporting. The longer developers bend over backwards for it, the longer it's going to hang around. That's why my game redirects you to a nice "get a real browser" page rather than using the Applet I developed [dnsalias.com] for high performance Canvas emulation. I just can't make myself support that POS any longer. Especially with Microsoft's active attempts to ignore the standards in IE8. (Did you know that DOM2 Events support was closed out as "works as intended"?)

I included a few links that use highly experimental features that the WHATWG recently added to the specs. However, it's important to understand that these are not commercial apps. For the most part, the links I gave you are guys who pushing the envelope with their experiments. It's only within the last year that JS has started to gain some serious development traction.

And there will always be far less to explain to your boss about why your app doesn't work on XYZ browser version Q because of it's implementation of feature A isn't... blah blah blah, you get the point.

Thankfully, that's not really an issue any longer. Save for cutting edge experimental features (NOT required by any stretch of the imagination), browsers have become highly compatible with each other. There is no need to add special hacks any longer. Unless you're using IE, which is why (IMHO) its decline will accelerate over the next year as webapps continue to grow in sophistication.

Also, it's important to remember the topic we're discussing here. For development targeting the iPhone, JS and Flash are evenly matched. Or at least they would be if the iPhone had Flash. Same with the Wii. The Wii has Flash, but it's so outdated that Javascript is the best way forward. With more and more non-desktop devices having ports of browsers, but no Flash, the tables are already turning. That is what will help drive Javascript application adoption forward and place you in the position of explaining to your boss why you can't use Flex for projects in the future. The problem will only get worse as Adobe focuses on high-powered desktops while the market looks toward netbooks, smartphones, and game consoles.

Re:No Flash (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26586745)

It's only within the last year that JS has started to gain some serious development traction.

Clarification: It's only within the last year that JS has started to gain traction as a serious platform for application development. In result, many of the "cool" demos are experiments that push the envelope rather than efforts to create something useful.

Re:No Flash (1)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 5 years ago | (#26591625)

I really can't believe you so casually dismiss lack of IE support. Clearly you're not talking about commercial software. Because if you took that tone around my boss, you'd be in for a rude awakening. I think you've just made my point for me on why Flash is the better way to go if you're actually in the business as a business.

Re:No Flash (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594459)

I really can't believe you so casually dismiss lack of IE support.

As I said, it is easily fixable. I'm just on a mission to make sure that it dies rather than being supported. If someone wants to pay me to create something with IE support, I most likely will. But even then I work hard to ensure standards compliance to assist in phasing out IE. IE's market share has been dropping like a rock as of the last year, and I intend to see that it gets there.

If that shocks you, then I'm sorry. IE is a piece of crap pushed on to the market by a company that is using it to advertise how much they hate their users. So I have little sympathy for them. And what I have found is that most users still using IE have an alternative browser installed on their computer and only use IE out of habit. In result, I've received very little pushback for "firing" IE users. In fact, most seem to think it's rather funny.

I think you've just made my point for me on why Flash is the better way to go if you're actually in the business as a business.

And you're completely ignoring my point about non-desktop computing devices. Which is very much the topic at hand.

Re:No Flash (1)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594997)

I don't disagree with your opinion of IE, but I do disagree with the reality of marketing a product that either doesn't work on IE or requires them to download and install something non-standard to run it. IE still has the lion's share of the installed base, plus there's the fact of all the older browsers that won't be getting upgraded or replaced anytime soon. Flash slips in a bit under the radar both with home users and business users, since you don't actually have to change the browser to update Flash. And people are much more likely to say yes to an update of Flash as opposed to installing a plugin from some company they've never heard of so your javascript can work right. Every speedbump you put up is lost money.

But if you want to limit yourselves to a niche market, feel free. And yes, it is a niche in comparison to your potential. Consider that the market share for IE is thought to be 70%. And even with that remaining 30%, a much smaller percent (we're talking single digits) are using next-gen javascript engines that are necessary to make the 3d stuff usable that can be done in Flash six months ago. While you're waiting on the world to catch up, you could be making money on the 70% right now. That's what I'M doing, at least.

And you're completely ignoring my point about non-desktop computing devices. Which is very much the topic at hand.

Huh. How do you reckon that? The comments that spun off my responding was about how the iPhone SHOULD get Flash support because it's a great app dev platform that's widely supported. Then you jumped in saying Flash can't do anything Javascript/DHTML can't, thus implying that Flash wouldn't bring anything to the iPhone. Even though what it would bring to the iPhone is being able to run the exact same code that is already, today, without some fancy browser cherrpicking, running on the vast bulk of personal computers.

It would be a moot point to argue that TODAY javascript/DHTML is a better platform on the iPhone than Flash since the iPhone doesn't support Flash today. It's not better, it's just what you have (other than native apps). But if you're wanting to talk about where mobile devices and general (and probably eventually the iPhone) will be in a few years, then I expect Adobe's big push into getting Flash Player 10 onto mobile devices (which should probably also translate to home devices like the PS3, the Wii, etc.) will make Flash even more of a leader.

But anyway, from my very first post, I stated my basic point was return on investment. Not about which platform people SHOULD use, but which they DO use. How much money you can get back from the amount of time/money you put into developing an application. That means developing an app that can work on a majority of PCs today, as they far overwhelm the mobile market. If you're just doing something as a hobby, then (monetary) return on investment isn't really applicable.

And that's probably the last you'll hear from me on the subject.

Re:No Flash (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26618543)

And even with that remaining 30%, a much smaller percent (we're talking single digits) are using next-gen javascript engines that are necessary to make the 3d stuff usable that can be done in Flash six months ago.

FWIW, 100% of the alternative engines can do it on modern hardware. The exception I mentioned was a fill-rate limited device. The problems there had nothing to do with the JS engine. (Which is actually quite fast.) Even then, wiioperasdk.com attempts to provide a 3D engine for the Wii. Has been since 2007.

Also, IE is currently the slowest JS engine on the market. By a wide margin.

Even though what it would bring to the iPhone is being able to run the exact same code that is already, today, without some fancy browser cherrpicking, running on the vast bulk of personal computers.

Except that it doesn't work that way. Take it from someone who's dealt with flash on these devices. The same code doesn't run because the interface is different. Only the simplest of simple applications run. Everything else needs to be custom-built. And for the record, Flash APIs are too limited to allow for alternative input like the touch screen on the iPhone. Only the basic Mouse emulation + text field support would make it through. Same as on the Wii.

But if you're wanting to talk about where mobile devices and general (and probably eventually the iPhone) will be in a few years, then I expect Adobe's big push into getting Flash Player 10 onto mobile devices (which should probably also translate to home devices like the PS3, the Wii, etc.) will make Flash even more of a leader.

Well, they're failing miserably at this, I'm afraid. The only such platform where Flash is usable (Nintendo Wii) is stuck on Flash 7. Nintendo had Opera remove support with the DSi. The only modern Flash support exists on the PS3, but the NetFront(!!!) web browser is so limited that its not very useful. And it's not useful at all without a keyboard and mouse. (Same problem I mentioned earlier.)

But anyway, from my very first post, I stated my basic point was return on investment.

A fair argument, but Flash isn't it. The Flash platform makes some fundamental assumptions about the underlying platform. That is both its strength and its weakness. Ultimately, it has had a very poor showing on mobile devices and is unlikely to make headway. The ROI on it is terrible. (From my 3+ years experience with it on limited platforms.)

And that's probably the last you'll hear from me on the subject.

Thank you for the conversation. :-)

Re:No Flash (1)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 5 years ago | (#26622773)

Thank you for the conversation. :-)

And thank you for not calling me stupid, which seems to always happen when I have a back and forth disagreement of opinion on slashdot that goes over two exchanges. Stay classy.

Re:No Flash (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26571433)

I think it is a little less sinister than you think. Apple has a lot to gain from avoiding highly proprietary stuff on the web. Yes I know H.264 is not OSS, but compared to Flash or Silverlight it is certainly more accessible. Apple has a lot to gain from avoiding an Adobe or MS powered web. Despite the recent Apple hate, they are certainly better off with a more open web than the web of 2002.

Re:No Flash (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26571453)

Yeah dickish to reply to one's own post, but let me remind folks that Flash on the Mac, just like Linux is a disaster, Silverlight is also an afterthought. I didn't mean to suggest that Apple is altruistic, but they are smart, and with the way that these 3-rd party plugins work, I don't blame them for saying fuck off.

Re:No Flash (2, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26571589)

Yes I know H.264 is not OSS, but compared to Flash or Silverlight it is certainly more accessible.

Flash supports H.264 codecs. So in that respect, it actually works with Apple's designs for multimedia. Flash is also a pseudo-open platform, making it reasonably appealing to implement on any platform. Of course, the only reason why anyone feels it's a must-have is because of the multimedia capabilities. e.g. If you look at the Wii, the overriding purpose of Flash support on the Internet Channel was Youtube support. The staff have said as much and have ignored other sites with Flash players that don't work.

Apple sidestepped that issue by working out a deal with Youtube to provide direct MP4 access to videos. That allows the iPhone to have Youtube support (which doesn't compete with their offerings) without supporting the Flash player. Jobs also knew he could sell it because he talked Youtube into giving them higher quality videos. Higher quality provided justification for the path taken by Apple.

I think it is a little less sinister than you think.

Let's be intellectually honest for a moment. Apple's actions are neither sinister or altruistic. They are simply good business. While my answer of "Flash competes" is the distilled answer, there is more to the story than that. Take Youtube as an example. Apple truly is providing a better experience with a custom application that fits the phone rather than allowing users to use an interface that is designed for desktop PCs. This devalues the Flash player and raises questions as to whether or not it's needed. If you dig further into that line of logic, you find that Flash enables interfaces that go against the slick interface of the phone. Apple has some control over HTML rendering, but practically none over Flash rendering. Thus another ding against the platform. Add it all up and Apple's decisions start to make a lot of sense.

However, would Apple kick Adobe out on their can if they approached Apple with a proposition for supporting Flash? Probably not. Again, it comes down to good business. If Adobe can make an offer that appeals to Apple, it may overcome the aspects that devalue the platform to them. The only catch is that Apple doesn't need Adobe as much as Adobe needs Apple to maintain their multimedia monopoly on the web. So Adobe will be in the unenviable position of having to make the most compromise to reach an agreement.

Same with Sun. If Sun can reach an agreement on Java that appeal to Apple, Apple may change their tune. But as it stands today, Apple has ensured that they don't need anyone else's support. Especially if it causes aspects of the platform to leave their control. Given the ease with which an application could overwhelm a cellular network, control is something that Apple needs in this situation. It's just good business.

Re:No Flash (2, Insightful)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575525)

If Apple sees any threat from Flash, it's in providing a distribution system for multimedia that is out of Apple's control. Remember, Apple still makes a lot of money off the iTunes Music and TV stores.

What's that? I couldn't hear you over the music streaming to my iPhone using the Pandora radio app.

Re:No Flash (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26577743)

Here's a screenshot of Pandora. Note the third button down: http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/bto/20080710/iPhone-menu_270x502.jpg [com.com]

(For those too lazy to click: "Buy from iTunes")

Re:No Flash (1)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 5 years ago | (#26577915)

Yep. It also has a button "Buy from Best Buy".

Re:No Flash (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26578727)

The point being that Pandora works WITH the iPhone and Apple's revenue streams rather than against those revenue streams like a radio webapp would.

Re:No Flash (1)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 5 years ago | (#26578907)

My point being if Apple was really doing controlling the revenue streams, I would not have an option to purchase at Best Buy.

Re:No Flash (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579149)

Nonsense. Offering consumers options makes them happy. Apple knows that tight integration with their product ensures that a large number of them will use their store. It does not mean that they have to lock out every possible competitor in an attempt to create themselves anti-trust issues. Especially when the competitor's music doesn't operate on the very music device the user is surfing with.

In effect, Apple is competing in the market. They use their control not to lock out potential competitors, but rather to ensure that their competitors can't lock them out of their own channels.

Re:No Flash (1)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 5 years ago | (#26581121)

May I point out what you said several posts above:

If Apple sees any threat from Flash, it's in providing a distribution system for multimedia that is out of Apple's control.[...]They don't want to have competition from the likes of Hulu.com or NetRadio.com

If they are threatened by alternative distribution systems, and they are using the app store to block said competition, then that "Best Buy" button would not be on the Pandora app. They'd only be allowed to put on a iTunes store button. So this can't be why apple's not allowing flash.

In addition:

Especially if users get the bright idea of streaming this data over a cell network. (ugh)

This is what Pandora already does. So this can't be why Apple would be not allowing flash.

Now, I really have no idea why apple doesn't want flash. It strikes me as an odd restriction, much like Apple's block of TomTom-like turn-by-turn direction apps.

Re:No Flash (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26581975)

May I point out what I said in another post in this thread.

Let's be intellectually honest for a moment. Apple's actions are neither sinister or altruistic. They are simply good business. While my answer of "Flash competes" is the distilled answer, there is more to the story than that.

You may read the rest of the argument here: http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/01/23/0539240 [slashdot.org]

Effectively you are attempting to commit me to a black and white answer that I did not commit to. For every answer there are many shades of gray to go with it. It is silly to assume that just because someone does X it automatically means Z even if Y can be cooperative with X.

In this particular case, Apple's iTunes store is represented by Pandora. That is assured. Why does Apple need to make bad press for themselves by bringing the hammer down on Pandora for offering links to alternative stores? That's not in their terms of service, nor is it a condition they advertise anywhere. Clearly taking that tack would only cause more trouble for Apple than they would save.

However, Apple is easily in the position to say, "Net radio would be too heavyweight for 3G networks. No net radio apps." Which is a card they could have played when Net Radio apps were first submitted. Yet since Pandora supports Net Radio as a method of encouraging electronic purchases (of which iTunes has a distinct advantage) it was in their interest to allow such applications.

This is what Pandora already does. So this can't be why Apple would be not allowing flash.

My comment was more directed toward video content rather than audio content. An hour long television show is easily 300MB of data. That's a lot to send over 3G and an insane amount to send over EDGE. Audio is certainly a concern, but it's obvious that Apple and AT&T feel that the stream is sufficiently thin enough to stream over those connections. So *shrug*. Given the recent announcement that iTunes music will be available over 3G, it may be related to the 3G upgrades. Possibly, Apple was even watching Pandora to see if it would cause harm to the networks. If it did, they could have locked out the app and asked everyone to upgrade to a WiFi only version.

Re:No Flash (1)

uptownguy (215934) | more than 5 years ago | (#26577319)

If Apple sees any threat from Flash, it's in providing a distribution system for multimedia that is out of Apple's control.

Hrm... While that might be true, I have downloaded/purchased official App Store apps such as:

* Pandora Radio

* Orb (allows streaming media from my own PC)

(And those are just the official App Store apps... there's also a number of Cydia applications that can do this too.)

I think that the iPhone is a fantastic platform. Having used Palms / PDAs of various flavors over the years, I can say that the iPhone is already the best handheld I've had for accessing my own multimedia. That genie is already out of the bottle, folks.

Re:No Flash (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26571193)

Flash still eats a ton of CPU and Memory on my brand new 2gHz Mac Book Pro. I can't imagine what it'd do to an iPhone.

Re:No Flash (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575751)

Well, it works fine (unless you're running a particularly performance-intensive applet) on the 400MHz Nokia n800 (same processor line that the iPhone uses, 2/3 the processor speed, Debian operating system). It certainly decreases battery life while, for example, watching a video online... but it's possible to do so. It's the real thing, too; Desktop-capability Flash 9 (at the time, the most recent version available for any platform - they may have upgraded to 10 with the most recent firmware).

Of course, it does make AdBlock Plus a necessity, but on a 800x480 screen I don't want ads filling up my browser window anyhow. Hell, I never do.

Re:No Flash (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26576277)

Well, it works fine (unless you're running a particularly performance-intensive applet) on the 400MHz Nokia n800 (same processor line that the iPhone uses, 2/3 the processor speed, Debian operating system). It certainly decreases battery life while, for example, watching a video online... but it's possible to do so. It's the real thing, too; Desktop-capability Flash 9 (at the time, the most recent version available for any platform - they may have upgraded to 10 with the most recent firmware).

Funny, but other than YouTube, I find flash unusable on my n810 - it slows the system to a stuttering crawl (YouTube does as well). And some videos are even worse - they practically lock up the entire machine while giving you a good .1 fps.

It's practicaly a requirement to have some sort of FlashBlock so you can read the content of a web page first then get back to the video... otherwise I find my n810 won't even scroll the page properly.

Actually it's just plain laziness. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26572301)

If their lack of support for flash on the iphone is related in any way for their pulling of flash support from quicktime, it's 100% pure laziness.

Apple did not properly sandbox the quicktime engine, and instead of reworking it to be properly sandboxed (thus fixing the exploit threat) they simply pulled support for it.

Lazy, Lazy, Lazy, and because of it I have a bunch of SWF files I can't convert to ipod video, and some of which are interactive and can't be converted.

Re:No Flash (2, Insightful)

Graff (532189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573489)

Imagine if anyone could do dummy iPhone apps using Flash, put them anywhere on the web, with absolutely no control from Apple. There'd be popups asking you to enter your credit card every 10 seconds, ads left and right, etc. Users would eventually be fed up and find the iPhone ugly. I guess Apple cares too much to let that happen.

Pretty much anything you can do with Flash can also be done with JavaScript, Ajax, etc. The iPhone fully supports these technologies, in fact that WAS originally how Apple wanted people to do apps for the iPhone. You can find out more about creating web apps straight from Apple [apple.com] .

Apple has no problem with web apps because they access your device through a vetted application, Safari. The reason that Apple is being more cautious on native apps is that they don't want to make their device unstable or dangerous to the cell phone network through someone's bad or malicious coding. Yes, maybe they are being overly cautious and restrictive but I'd rather they deny a few extra apps than allow apps that could cause problems.

Overall Apple has approved many thousands of apps and the percentage of apps that have been denied is small compared to that. No matter what a company does there will always be a vocal minority that pisses and moans about something. The fact is that the iPhone is wildly successful and many people are very happy with Apple's app-approval policies. If Apple does go off the deep end then you can bet they'll lose a lot of sales. That's the way the market works. If you don't like Apple's policies then don't buy Apple, eventually they'll get the message and tone things down.

Re:No Flash (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575793)

Overall Apple has approved many thousands of apps and the percentage of apps that have been denied is small compared to that.

Citation needed. This kind of statement, without supporting evidence, sounds like either wishful thinking or fanboyism.

Re:No Flash (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 5 years ago | (#26579451)

Overall Apple has approved many thousands of apps and the percentage of apps that have been denied is small compared to that.

Citation needed. This kind of statement, without supporting evidence, sounds like either wishful thinking or fanboyism.

So name those thousands of apps that have been denied, or your post smells of hateboism.

Re:No Flash (1)

Trillan (597339) | more than 5 years ago | (#26582651)

According to CNBC, there are over 15,000 applications in the iPhone store: http://www.cnbc.com/id/28691281/site/14081545 [cnbc.com]

I'll accept that the number that have been denied is not "small" compared to that if you can provide more than 1,000 apps that have been rejected permanently. That would be about 6%. I think that's a fair "small."

Re:No Flash (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26576063)

FairSoftware.net -- where geeks are their own boss

Please stop spamming /. with your web site.

Re:No Flash (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 5 years ago | (#26582053)

I was about to tell you to shut up and turn off sigs but I see that the dude actually pastes that into the body of each comment. Laaaame.

Away with the App store please (3, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26571079)

This is exactly why I hate the App store. Apple has far too much control over its iPhone, stifling competition and hindering progress The iPhone is just a little computer that you can make phonecalls with. If Apple started to sell Macs on which you could only install new software using iTunes and the App store nobody would buy them. Then why is it OK for the iPhone to have this construction? I bet if the App store didn't exist we would at least have a beta version of FF for the iPhone now.

Re:Away with the App store please (3, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26571383)

That phone platform exists - it's called Android.

If you don't agree with Apple's business model for the iPhone, you are free to not purchase one, or use the apps on the app store.

This is slightly different to the usual "well if Microsoft did this, everyone would moan!" and you're right - they have tried, and very few people bought smartphones (compared to the prevalence of the iPhone).

If you don;t like it, don't buy one. Don;t buy one, knowing full well ahead of time the way Apple handles software on the iPhone and then complain bitterly after the fact that it's not they way you *think* they should do things.

If you want to do it yourself, you can jailbreak your phone and carry on as normal.

The iPhone is a specialised device, with a specific distribution model for its features and applications. It is not a computer (in the sense of a tiny PC - I know that it literally is a small OS X box), it is a phone, with pds-style functions. Apple can choose to lock it down as much as they like - either people will buy it or they won't. So far, it is selling almost faster than they can make it, so buying and installing apps via the store obviously is not a hindrance to the people who are buying it.

Re:Away with the App store please (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26571557)

I didn't buy an iPhone (the App store is just one of the things I find wrong with it) and I'm following the development of the Android with much interest. I can't wait until it's available here in NL so I can see what it is exactly, but then my trusty Nokia has to break down first before I will buy it.

Re:Away with the App store please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26579475)

See if you can get Android ported to it. It's not always easy, but one of the greatest powers of an open phone OS is that it can (with some effort) be ported back to older hardware. Folks have ported it (with levels of success varying) to Nokia's N8xx series (not a phone, I know), and OpenMoko's Neo phones.

Truly, if one is able to get/interact-with the GSM stack (likely closed), and can flash code down to the phone, then porting should not be excessively more difficult than, say, a RockBox port.

Food for thought, eh?

Re:Away with the App store please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26571905)

Why is it fair that Microsoft get's charged with with anti-trust violations when it bundles it's software with it's system but Apple doesn't?

Re:Away with the App store please (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26572299)

Because Apple doesn't enjoy a monopoly position in the cellphone/PDA market.

Re:Away with the App store please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26572307)

Why is it fair that Microsoft get's charged with with anti-trust violations when it bundles it's software with it's system but Apple doesn't?

Because Microsoft controls 90% of the PC market, while Apple barely makes a dent in the phone market. *IF* you decide to restrict yourself only to the smartphone market, Apple is still just the second biggest. The anti-trust are against monopolies, which Apple isn't.

Rather basic difference, I would think it should be obvious for everyone.

Re:Away with the App store please (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26571915)

This is slightly different to the usual "well if Microsoft did this, everyone would moan!" and you're right - they have tried, and very few people bought smartphones (compared to the prevalence of the iPhone).

Actually, no, Microsoft didn't try this. Ever.

Microsoft treated the Windows Mobile platform like any other Windows -- you can install whatever software you want on it, and it doesn't really matter how you get it there. It has a browser, so you can just download apps that way, from any website, no restriction.

Contrast with the iPhone, and... you get the idea.

The advantage of Android is, it's probably much friendlier to use than Windows Mobile, much of it is open source, and the preferred method of development is in a VM, making the transition to a new CPU architecture (which may well be necessary, in a mobile device, to keep power consumption down) is completely automatic for most apps.

Apple can choose to lock it down as much as they like - either people will buy it or they won't.

Yes, they can. It's completely within their rights to do so.

It's still a shitty thing for them to do. It's anti-consumer, it slows progress, it's even anticompetitive (so many patented features, so many exclusive deals)...

So far, it is selling almost faster than they can make it,

The fact that something is successful doesn't make it good.

Case in point: Windows. Microsoft could get it wrong for ten years in a row -- which they have -- and still have over 90% marketshare. Does that imply Windows is good?

I hate the fact that the iPhone is restricted to the App Store. I don't mind that it exists -- surely, that is a good thing all around. But I don't like that there is no alternative, and that Apple is using it to censor and control what does and doesn't get on the iPhone.

And yes, their customers are letting them do it. And yes, it is successful. But I think I'm very justified in my hatred of it.

Re:Away with the App store please (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 5 years ago | (#26572127)

I believe granparent's point was that the open and available nature of Windows Mobile was not sufficient to make people like it. People moaning that smartphones would be great if they were only open platforms generally forget that the great majority over the years were, yet that wasn't enough to set the world on fire.

Apple wanted a friendly way to distribute applications on the platform, and their network partner needed a way to ensure that they can continue to charge ridiculous rates for SMS and laptop pairing. I would guess they have contractual obligations around usages of the GPS in their phone as well.

Don't focus on the app store. That piece of kit actually works surprisingly well. Focus on the policy of the gateway to the platform. Nobody had managed a proper phone application distribution system up until this point, especially one that could potentially provide revenue for the software makers.

Re:Away with the App store please (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26572329)

That was exactly my point, thanks.

For the record, I own an iPhone, and I use the app store. It doesn't mean I have to agree with the way Apple is doing things, but for now, it's not bad enough that I would choose not to use the iPhone.

Would i love it to be open? Sure. Does it really matter to me at the moment, given the way I use it? Not enough to stop me getting one.

Re:Away with the App store please (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575253)

I dont think 99% of iphone buyers even understand the difference between closed and open development. The iphone is popular for its form factor, UI, and Apple branding. For most of these people its their first smartphone. The idea that users are clamoring for a closed app store is borderline ridiculous.

Re:Away with the App store please (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26578453)

People moaning that smartphones would be great if they were only open platforms generally forget that the great majority over the years were, yet that wasn't enough to set the world on fire.

I'm not suggesting that it's automatically enough to make them great. I'm only suggesting that the newer, better class of smartphones would be much better if they were open -- and there is no reason the iPhone couldn't be.

Apple wanted a friendly way to distribute applications on the platform

Look at Android. It has an App Store, too. It also allows third-party development and distribution, if you don't like their App Store. And I'm guessing their App Store doesn't have rules like "Thou Shalt Not Port a Scripting Language".

and their network partner needed a way to ensure that they can continue to charge ridiculous rates for SMS and laptop pairing.

There you go. That's the real reason.

Re:Away with the App store please (1)

origamy (807009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575805)

Some cell phone companies block users from installing *anything they want* in their Windows Mobile devices (AT&T for instance). In the end it's about the user experience, and their perception is that these phones do not allow installation of apps, unless you purchase them from the carrier's website.

You may say that unlocked phones allow installation of any app, but then, their price is not as attractive to the end user as the subsidized iPhone price is.

Cell phones and PDAs in America are simply a money making machine for the Cell Phone operators. The iPhone, Android are the first steps to open this market and move it away from the operators, with more variety and options, but we still have the censorship of Apple for their App store.

Let's hope the Android takes off and becomes a standard, so that we can have the freedom to control our own phones.

Re:Away with the App store please (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575211)

>"well if Microsoft did this, everyone would moan!" and you're right - they have tried, and very few people bought smartphones (compared to the prevalence of the iPhone).

There's two things wrong with that statement. The sales of blackberries, palm, and WM smartphones was huge before the iphone and still is.

MS never tried to lock down apps. Youve always been able to develop for WM or palm. Theres no WM app store.

Re:Away with the App store please (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 5 years ago | (#26582829)

I actually bought an iPod because IMO it is a PDA (probably the best one I've seen). I'm thinking of buying either an iPhone or an Android phone too. I'm leaning iPhone because I can then write apps for all it's functionality without learning a new platform from the iPod. If there was an iPod-level device (not requiring phone service) running Android and every bit as good as the iPod I would have considered that more. I do think the exclusivity of the iPhone platform is a benefit as a software developer too - Android seems like it'd be a lot less focused as far as what's available and how easy it is to find (to many choices).

I wish that someone would put together a language and SDK that would compile for either iPhone/iPod or Android. (why not for Windows, OS X, and Linux while you're at it) It'd be good to have easy portability.

Re:Away with the App store please (2, Insightful)

GF678 (1453005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26571461)

I bet if the App store didn't exist we would at least have a beta version of FF for the iPhone now.

If the App store didn't exist the iPhone wouldn't be as popular as it is. By having total control, Apple can ensure applications on the store are up to their standards, conforming to certain specifications like the GUI. This ultimately provides a higher quality app selection (in theory).

Of course, you're a geek, so you don't think like a normal person (no offense, just how I differentiate). But Apple obviously doesn't care about this, and the iPhone is flourishing because they don't bother catering to the geek. If you are worried about competition being stifled, go with one of those Android-based phones.

Re:Away with the App store please (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26571941)

If the App store didn't exist the iPhone wouldn't be as popular as it is.

True.

By having total control of the app store, Apple can ensure applications on the store are up to their standards,

Fixed that for you.

This ultimately provides a higher quality app selection (in theory).

In practice, it also provides exactly the quality, style, and kind of app selection that Apple wants, which is not always what the customer wants.

Just look at every single slackening of their rules, and see an instant mad gold rush, with consumers eating it up. For example: Apple relaxed the vulgarity rules, and people rushed to buy fart apps.

Don't you think it would be even more popular if you could do anything you want with it, not just anything Apple wants you to do?

Re:Away with the App store please (1)

GF678 (1453005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26572531)

Don't you think it would be even more popular if you could do anything you want with it, not just anything Apple wants you to do?

Unfortunately I'm shackled with a geek perspective on things so I honestly don't know. It SOUNDS like it should, but given how damn popular the thing, I'm kinda thinking Steve Jobs knows what he's doing by keeping it locked down.

On the other hand, what percentage of people who buy an iPhone jailbreak it? If we can find out these details and it's significant, then you might have a point.

Re:Away with the App store please (1)

geekboy642 (799087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573405)

Mine was jailbroken around Christmas-time, for two weeks. I wanted 'net access, and the easiest tethering options were all for jailbroken phones.
Now that I'm back around stable connections, I'm pondering reloading the firmware. Apart from winterboard and other theming tools, I can't find any real purpose to have a jailbroken phone if you don't need the unofficial tether.

Re:Away with the App store please (2, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26576541)

Mine was jailbroken around Christmas-time, for two weeks. I wanted 'net access, and the easiest tethering options were all for jailbroken phones.
Now that I'm back around stable connections, I'm pondering reloading the firmware. Apart from winterboard and other theming tools, I can't find any real purpose to have a jailbroken phone if you don't need the unofficial tether.

Here's one reason - MxTube [mxweas.com] . Lets you download YouTube videos onto the device for watching later. That way you csn watch the wifi version while you only got a cell connection, and they play instantly. Of course, you can also use sftp to then grab the mp4 videos off it if you want to preserve it that way, too.

Another reason is to "fix" your APN so if you don't have a data plan, the phone won't try to do any data over the cell network. It's apparently quite common for people to not have a data plan when they get the iPhone. Or, for me, the carriers disabled changing the APN so I'd be forced to use the "iPhone/Smartphone Data Plan" rather than my unlimited, tethering-allowed data plan (which they don't offer anymore). With a jailbreak and a little creative .plist editing, you can re-enable changing the APN. Without that they would've dinged me at 5cents/kilobyte (kilo, not kibi!) since my plan didn't include that APN.

Third, if you want to do iPhone development, you don't have to ante up $100 to test your app on the device (you will if you want to deploy via the app store, though). If you decide not to ante up, you can still deploy via Cydia or Installer (Cydia is popular... it's just apt-get!). And heck, you can do anything you want with your jailbreak-required app...

Oh yeah, if you're travelling, jailbreaking is mandatory so you can unlock your phone (iPhone 3G's are now unlocked, too) and use a local SIM rather than pay outrageous roaming charges, and even more outrageous data usage charges (if you enabled roaming data usage...)

Re:Away with the App store please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26576821)

Don't you think it would be even more popular if you could do anything you want with it, not just anything Apple wants you to do?

Possibly.

Sometimes less is more though. Imagine a huge noise with very little signal. It'd also open the gates to massive piracy. The goal of DRM is to make it uneasy for users to break it; not impossible.

Re:Away with the App store please (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26578387)

It'd also open the gates to massive piracy.

Guess again. Jailbreaking is relatively easy, so if people were really interested in pirating iPhone apps, they'd have done so by now.

The goal of DRM is to make it uneasy for users to break it; not impossible.

Which is why DRM will always fail -- it only takes one person to break it, then everyone can just download it. And if it's even moderately popular, it will be broken, just a matter of time.

Blu-Ray's BD+ looks a hell of a lot harder than anything Apple's done, and it's been broken.

That's why you never see anyone except Dan Glickman making that argument about DRM anymore. Instead, people argue that with games, DRM at least makes it so that it takes a week or more to crack it, because apparently that first week is important enough to offset the backlash of treating their customers like criminals.

But again, and inevitably, it will be cracked and available on BitTorrent, probably within a month of release.

Re:Away with the App store please (1)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 5 years ago | (#26571931)

If Apple started to sell Macs on which you could only install new software using iTunes and the App store nobody would buy them.

Check out the AppleTV [apple.com] .

Seth

Re:Away with the App store please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26572211)

Check out the AppleTV [apple.com] .

Seth

No Divx, less storage than an iPod; Lame.

Re:Away with the App store please (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 5 years ago | (#26572429)

I realize that there probably are people buying those, but I've not once seen one "in the wild" (outside and Apple store). I've seen Zunes, I've seen Android-based phones, I've even seen a PS3 or two. Not a single AppleTV, though - and I actually know quite a few Mac fanboys.

Re:Away with the App store please (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574369)

I'll admit that I've been seriously considering getting one. All the shows that I want to actually watch are moving to Friday night timeslots (BSG, Terminator TSCC, Chimp Eden, and Dollhouse). Since I'll not be at home to watch them most of the time iTunes is looking to be a perfect option to just watch them the next day. Only thing is without such a device (or a laptop hooked up to the TV), I'm stuck watching them on my computer screen. Now I've got a 24" LCD, and very good speakers on my system, but still - for shows like this I want to kick back on the couch and not my computer chair.

I really wish Apple made a deal with Microsoft so that the Xbox 360 could stream/sync iTunes content in the same way, but the chances of that are so slim that I'm not holding out any hope.

Re:Away with the App store please (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573885)

The iPhone is just a little computer that you can make phonecalls with.

No, its an appliance with a phone, media player, web browser and email client that you can also download approved games and other applications.

Plus, the App store doesn't seem to stop people doing cool geeky things: E.g. there are a already a couple of free remote control apps for MythTV (native apps, BTW - not webapps) up there. Its frustrating for a slashdotter not to be able to just write code for it, but its not really for slashdotters.

Of course, one thing that also gets overlooked is that you don't need Apple's blessing to write AJAX webapps, for which Safari is not a bad platform.

If Apple started to sell Macs on which you could only install new software using iTunes and the App store nobody would buy them.

...but maybe not for the reasons you think. Mac is established as a general-purpose "open" (to the extent of coming with free development tools as standard) computer with a substantial software industry around it. To suddenly "close" it and abandon all that would be risky.

However, if Apple ever produce the mythical tablet computer or enter the netbook market, I wouldn't be surprised if it were a closed "appliance" product running iLife/iWork/iTunes and with its own app store. That's not going to appeal to slashdotters, but it might be just the job for the masses.

Bear in mind that, from the point of view of the masses, Linux on netbooks etc. is pretty closed: The target user for the EEE PC would not be able to install anything not on the "Install Software" menu (even though the first thing you or I would do is to add the raw Debian repositories and/or set up a build environment). We never really got to see how that one played out before XP effectively took over the retail netbook market.

Re:Away with the App store please (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 5 years ago | (#26580583)

As a developer I appreciate how easy the iStore makes it for customers to find my apps. The hurdles to developing for iPod and iPhone are frustrating but make for less competition which weeds out a lot of the crap so people can find me easier. So not all bad.

JAIL BREAK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26571151)

DO IT AND DON"T LOOK BACK

Only Webkit-based browsers (5, Informative)

caspy7 (117545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26571173)

Let me clarify this before the hundreds of comments talking about Opera and Firefox "Coming to the iPhone!".
All of the browsers listed are based on Webkit, the rendering engine for Safari (in fact, I think they're all simply embedding Webkit).
It is highly unlikely that Apple will allow a browser based on other technologies any time soon.

Sorry to smash your hopes and dreams.

Re:Only Webkit-based browsers (1)

CptChipJew (301983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26571825)

And people have already been doing this for some time. You simply embed a UIWebView in your app. All Apple has really done is decided that your stupidly simple app with a UIWebView taking up the whole screen is no longer verboten.

Re:Only Webkit-based browsers (2, Informative)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 5 years ago | (#26572355)

In other words, Apple is allowing apps that are used for browsing, but has not gone back on their "no third-party software that can execute other software" i.e. a competing JavaScript engine (or Flash, or Java, or even Bash...)

I predict ruin (0, Flamebait)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26572371)

[...] Apple's discreet decision to open the iPhone to 3rd-party browsers, by allowing them to appear on AppStore.

I predict the competition will either ruin Apple, or introduce software that decreases the user's smug factor, to the detriment of all iPhone users.

I mean, Apple's infinitely wise decision to keep competition out in the first place was for the best of their customers, right? Right?

</snark>

browse "anonymous" (1)

tronicum (617382) | more than 5 years ago | (#26572923)

From http://appshopper.com/utilities/incognito [appshopper.com] Incognito is an anonymous web browser for the iPhone and iPod touch. Now you can browse without leaving a history of any kind. Simply close the browser, and Incognito will erase the entire session!
Now you will no longer have to clear Mobile Safari's history just to hide a single entry, which rendered the URL auto-completion useless!


Are they kidding? Deleting browser and URL history might be as leaving less traces on that device, BUT for me, browsing anonymously means something like TOR [torproject.org] ...

What ? (0, Offtopic)

daveime (1253762) | more than 5 years ago | (#26572987)

Offtopic I know, so save your mod points for somethign worthy.

On the frontpage of slashot, this story has "33 of 32 comments" ?

I welcome it (1)

TheReverandND (926450) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573557)

Safari on iPhone, much like it's desktop counterpart needs work. The only thing that ever encouraged Apple to innovate is competition. It's uphill battle against Windows has brought many welcome changes to OS X, as well as may new apps to meet customer need (like Safari). I see a browser war on iPhone producing a better Safari for both platforms.
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