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Jobs Says Flash Video Not Suitable for iPhone

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the too-good-for-you dept.

Cellphones 387

Lev13than writes "Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs said the iPhone won't be using Adobe Systems' Inc.'s popular Flash media player any time soon, saying the technology doesn't meet his company's performance standards for video. Jobs said the version of Flash formatted to personal computers is too slow on the iPhone while the mobile version of the media player is "is not capable of being used with the web." The comments come a day before Apple is set to introduce the company's plan for iPhone SDK, the software developers kit which will allow third-party developers to create applications that can work in conjunction with the popular handheld device."

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Another way of saying that (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22660926)

the iPhone isn't powerful enough to run flash properly. Too bad.

Re:Another way of saying that (5, Interesting)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661038)

Why is this a troll, its exactly what the problem is.
My n810 runs flash - badly - its advertised as working which it does but it drops frames with current implimentation.

iPhone/Apple users expect more and currently it can't be handled.

Re:Another way of saying that (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22661314)

My n810 runs flash - badly - its advertised as working which it does but it drops frames with current implimen
The difference here is that Nokia is fully content with shipping unfinished products and Apple is not. This "giving users choice" mantra is getting stupid. We've seen the result of this on Linux desktop. 10 competing window managers with all the choice you could wish for. Except none of them really stand out. How about a choice of 1 window manager that actually works?

Re:Another way of saying that (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661358)

Ignoring for now that you're not only a troll but also off-topic, and an AC, I'm going to reply and say that I don't even know what window manager I'm using. It's the makers of my distro chose for me. If I don't like it I can go dig for a replacement, but frankly I'm quite happy with it. Does this mean it was pointless having all those different window managers out there? No. Because I am not the only person on Earth.. my choice, or absence of one, is not the only one that counts. Besides, someone made a choice of what window manager to ship to me.. and they had a choice of many window managers to decide from. As I'm typically happy with their choices, it seems that having a choice of window managers is working out for me, even if I couldn't be bothered making it myself.

Now back in your box.

Re:Another way of saying that (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22661510)

Your comment would hold some more water if OS X had a descent window magager, which it doesn't. Can you even shade a window? Are you going to point me to some binary hacker program now?

Re:Another way of saying that (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661324)

Thats *exactly* the problem.

Hell my oldish Pentium 4 starts coughing with some flash ads and videos.
What chance does a little iPhone have?

Re:Another way of saying that (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661366)

Flash video is stopgap. Why won't adobe realize that?

Not surprised (5, Informative)

nighty5 (615965) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660940)

Frankly, flash / shockwave totally sucks on OS X. Its a CPU hog which affects battery, when I run any flash CPU spikes to 100%.

It's not to say its Apple's fault, but I think Adobe is at fault and I think their position won't change in any time soon.

Re:Not surprised (5, Interesting)

ncryptd (1172815) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660976)

It's much better on x86 -- it used to be absolutely horrid on the PowerPC platform. Given my past experience with Flash on non-x86 architectures, I'm not surprised that Flash on ARM isn't a high-performance solution.

Re:Not surprised (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661378)

Reminds me that one of the important points on Flash 9 was improving performance on Linux and other platforms. Flash is a very CPU hungry plugin anyway, but everything helps.

Re:Not surprised (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661614)

I can't watch the Comedy Central flash clips on my 1.5GHz G4 without dropping frames. On my 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo, the BBC iPlayer spikes my CPU to over 60%. In contrast, playing 720p brings it to about 30%. It also causes the fans to spin loudly and kills the battery.

Re:Not surprised (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22661342)

Some fingers have been pointed at the Safari plugin API.

Re:Not surprised (5, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661390)

Smarter people have blamed the atrocious coding in Adobe's flash interpreter. There's no excuse for busy-wait loops.

-jcr

Re:Not surprised (1)

ThaReetLad (538112) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661620)

busy-wait loops? Really?!?! I find it hard to believe they'd do anything so crap, but then I guess it is adobe we're talking about. Proof?

Troubleshoot Your System (1)

DilutedImage (769059) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661478)

Perhaps you could share your system configuration, rather than assuming your setup is the final word on Flash and Shockwave on OS X.

I've tested content in various versions of FireFox and Safari, on the following systems, without any problems:

- Mac OS X 10.4.11, on Dual 1.8 GHz PowerPC G5, with 2.5GB DDR
- Mac OS X 10.4.10, on 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, with 2 GB 667 MHz DDR2

I've also got a couple G4s that play Flash content well. It certainly chugs on my clamshell iBook G3 though (especially now that it's deceased).

Re:Not surprised (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661598)

I think the same can be said for any OS that isn't win32.

Can't say that I disagree (5, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660942)

I get jerking on even fully buffered flash video in both WindowsXP and Linux using Adobe's Flash plugin. The same machines played media via the divx plugin without issue (at much better quality)

Re:Can't say that I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22660972)

>played media via the divx plugin

before the demise of stage6 *sniff*

Re:Can't say that I disagree (4, Interesting)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661002)

Videos turn into a slideshow on my 2ghz Turion running Ubuntu. If you're not using a powerful processor on windows flash will suck for you. Which is probably why I see so much hate for adobe and flash around here since we have a lot of non-windows users on this site and the flash experience is terrible. Adobe needs to shape up and make the linux version work as good as the windows one.

Re:Can't say that I disagree (4, Insightful)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661036)

No they don't. They are making a lot of money right now without those things you mention. They don't NEED to change anything. But it would be really, really swell if they did.

Re:Can't say that I disagree (0, Redundant)

lawnsprinkler (1012271) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661232)

No, they do. Otherwise they'll be dependent on their competitor, Microsoft. Don't be an idiot.

Re:Can't say that I disagree (5, Insightful)

tacocat (527354) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661318)

Websites fall into generally two categories: Information Delivery and Entertainment Delivery.

Information Delivery are websites where you are seeking some kind of information or news that you desire in your daily life. Examples of this are google, amazon, slashdot, ebay, bbc, csmonitor.com for most. This also includes sites for mysql, apache, postgresql, perl/cpan. These are all sites that, when you visit you often have a very specific purpose and end goal in mind.

Entertainment Delivery are sites that offer no hard end goal other than entertainment and can be represented by youtube, ask a ninja, webkinz, and other online game sites. On these sites, the web content is the entertainment and people would have more expectations of lots of flash load on their PC.

But there seems to be a lot of manufacturers and resale sites that are trying to do both at the same time and for most, they do an amazingly bad job without any real thought of delivering informational content about their products but just wowing the crap out of some board members. I tried to buy some Serengeti sunglasses because my experience has been that they are the best I've ever owned. But their website is one of the fattest and annoying places I've been to in years. And they don't even properly identify how to purchase their glasses. Had I been a marginal customer I would have walked a long time ago. In the past, I have walked from suppliers because their product catalog brought down my computer to a crawl and didn't do anything to provide me the information I needed.

Flash does not belong on Information Delivery websites.

Re:Can't say that I disagree (1)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661580)

Websites fall into generally two categories: Information Delivery and Entertainment Delivery.

This is eerily like my kindergarten-age child's description of books as being either non-fiction or fiction. If it provides information, she says, it's non-fiction. (Makes you wonder how you would classify sites for things like Entertainment tonight and TMZ. Okay, not really.)
But I'm with you. The web has folks trying to blur the lines and if information is not clearly presented, especially towards the stated purpose, then it's a nightmare.

Re:Can't say that I disagree (4, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661490)

Chances are this has something to do with the X11 driver and the way Flash uses it, not Flash per-se. My Wii, which is a much poorer spec'd machine than your Pentium from the sounds of things, has no problems at all with Flash. Try the following:

  1. Install MPlayer. Make sure you install the non-free plug-ins (the Windows DLLs and stuff.) Configure and test it to make sure it can play regular videos smoothly.
  2. Go back to your webbrowser, and go to your favorite Flash video that "turns into a slideshow", and play the entire thing in your web browser (or, at least, wait for it to finish loading and hit the pause button)
  3. With your web browser still open, open a terminal window, and type "mplayer -fs /tmp/Flash*"

The chances are that playback will be smooth as a baby's bottom. This, at least, is my experience on an 800MHz VIA C3 in my living room. "Slideshow" in the browser, "Smooth" when played with MPlayer. The problem isn't the Flash codec, it's something to do with the way Flash videos are pushed through the browser.

Now, my N800 with OS2008 does strain a little to play a Flash video perfectly smoothly, but on the other hand it's not a bad job and it's more than acceptable.

The CPU usage of Flash video isn't that great relatively speaking. It's just it's very easy to foul up playback.

Re:Can't say that I disagree (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22661556)

The most recent version of Flash for Linux (9,0,115,0), the one that introduced "real" fullscreen mode support, is horrible. The older one (9,0,48,0) offers much better performance, at least for me. Personally I had to downgrade to that version, and lock the Flash version so that Ubuntu wouldn't push the latest one for me anymore.

It's quite strange really, there are a lot of complaints [adobe.com] about this under the release announcement on the official Linux Flash Blog - and yet, it seems like this huge problem is just completely ignored. Pretty much everyone seems to get much worse performance with the latest Flash.

Re:Can't say that I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22661612)

Could you give me a link so I can test? I have an Intel Pentium D 2,8GHz running Ubuntu 7.10 with Compiz, and I never have any problems. CPU is high, sure, but almost never 100% and I've never noticed any frame drops.

I think you're just trolling.

Re:Can't say that I disagree (4, Funny)

Riktov (632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661070)

I get jerking on even fully buffered flash video in both WindowsXP and Linux using Adobe's Flash plugin.

Me, if the chicks are hot and the action's good, I get jerking regardless of format or buffering...

Re:Can't say that I disagree (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22661422)

I'd hate to see what happens in the event of a buffer overflow...

Re:Can't say that I disagree (1)

SlashWombat (1227578) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661458)

FOSS VLC plays flash very necely ... perhaps Apple should try that.

Re:Can't say that I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22661586)

I get jerking on even fully buffered flash video

Sounds like you need to lay off the pr0n.

"performance standard" (3, Insightful)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660946)

That's a euphemism for "if we let Flash on the iPhone, we (Apple) don't completely control the video and content delivery on the iPhone anymore".

That's also the real reason Jobs has been so slow on the iPhone SDK: the last thing they want is other companies creating audio and video delivery apps for Apple's iPods and iPhones.

Re:"performance standard" (5, Insightful)

deathtopaulw (1032050) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660978)

that makes no sense, the more video/audio capabilities a device has the more people are going to buy it

remember apple makes money on the hardware not the songs/vids from itunes

Re:"performance standard" (1)

strack (1051390) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660998)

Yeah but id bet they'd prefer to make money on both..

Re:"performance standard" (3, Interesting)

vally_manea (911530) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661118)

I'm not so sure about that anymore, I recently heard Itunes is the number 2 on-line music store: http://money.cnn.com/2008/02/26/technology/itunes_walmart.ap/ [cnn.com] just behind Walmart, they can't sell this much music and not make money. Not sure about the video part though.

Re:"performance standard" (2, Insightful)

funfail (970288) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661156)

So being number 2 store in a multi-billion dollar industry can be interpreted as not making money, right?

Re:"performance standard" (4, Insightful)

ubernostrum (219442) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661278)

So being number 2 store in a multi-billion dollar industry can be interpreted as not making money, right?

Maybe, maybe not. Apple's net profit -- the amount of actual money they make -- depends on the cost of operating the iTunes store infrastructure (servers, bandwidth, personnel, etc.) and on the fees they pay to the record labels for access to the music catalogs. From what I can find after some quick Googling, it appears that Apple pays 70 cents to the labels for each 99-cent download, which means that in order to turn a profit it needs to cost less than 29 cents per song to run the store. It almost certainly does, and the actual numbers almost certainly represent serious money, but suddenly it's a bit more debatable as to whether iTunes is a major cash cow in and of itself, or whether it drives hardware sales while happily turning a profit of its own.

Re:"performance standard" (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661626)

Look at teh number of online music stores that have failed -- Napster (2.0), Walmart, that MTV one, buy.com, and more. Those were all properly financed and they found out there's no room for profit. The only people making money are MS (by licensing PlaysForSure), the RIAA, and Apple (but only on the hardware).

Re:"performance standard" (4, Informative)

GauteL (29207) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661276)

"I recently heard Itunes is the number 2 on-line music store: http://money.cnn.com/2008/02/26/technology/itunes_walmart.ap/ [cnn.com] just behind Walmart, they can't sell this much music and not make money."

Correction. According to the article you reference, they are the number 2 music retailer, full stop. The are the clear number one in the online market, they just also happen to be so big that they have surpassed all the traditional retailers except Wal-Mart.

Your conclusions are surely right, however. I'm convinced that the notion that the iTunes store is a loss-leader for iPods is a myth or at best outdated information. The iTunes store surely makes money on it's own at this stage.

Re:"performance standard" (5, Informative)

ronin510 (1113835) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661042)

Have you used the iPhone? I listen to audio podcasts and watch videos directly through the Safari browser. Any website can provide such files without having Apple as a proxy.

Sure, there's the special YouTube application. What it basically does is link to h.264 converted videos, but as I said, any website can provide videos in that format. Having videos play via h.264 benefits iPhone users, and standards enthusiasts, actually. The iPhone has a dedicated h.264 chip to more efficiently decode such files. This is a much more energy efficient solution compared to decoding flash videos through software. So in truth, the "performance standard" you mock is a reality.

Re:"performance standard" (2, Interesting)

rainhill (86347) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661066)

you are probably right, but one wanders why youtube works nicely on iphone

Re:"performance standard" (5, Informative)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661264)

Because the iPhone is downloading the H.264 vids direct from YouTube's site, rather than playing them in a flash-based player. ;)

Re:"performance standard" (1)

lbft (950835) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661576)

If it's grunty enough to handle H.264, why the hell would it have any problem with Flash?

It's the API, stupid ;-) (5, Interesting)

Kifoth (980005) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661238)

Has anyone seen Flash's Actionscript lately? AS3 is a respectable programming language (Flame away :P). Considering that Jobs never wanted an iPhone API at all, if he lets Flash on the iPhone, he'll be opening the door to a rival API that he has little control over.

Re:"performance standard" (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661282)

I couldn't agree more. That's exactly the first thing I thought when I read this.

I have little doubt that Apple could make that device do just about anything they want it to do -- it's a really nice piece of hardware. But it's so clamped down that everything about it says "we didn't do it because we don't want you to do it." I once tried to do something as simple as "send a text email then try to copy and paste the information into the address book" only to find there was no way to do that. C'mon! Apple practically invented copy and paste! (I know, they did not.) The same certainly applies to uploading pictures via email and the like. I can't imagine these disabilities (that do not exist in my pathetic blackberry) are anything but lock-down that Apple/AT&T simply doesn't want you to have. It seems at every turn Apple locked the device down to prevent as much 3rd party activity as possible including the inevitable 3rd party market for batteries. (It's a phone! Replacement batteries are required! In fact, the inability to pull the battery is actually a huge security concern!)

Apple will either have to admit colossal failure of the iPhone (just as they did with Newton and others) or they'll have to deliver on user expectations and "get over themselves." Their tight control mentality has kept them from growing beyond specific limits and I have little doubt that this is the case now.

Mod parent down (1)

Udo Schmitz (738216) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661372)

The post doesn't make sense.

completely control the video


How is Apple controlling h.264?

Re:"performance standard" (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661554)

That's so true, except for the bit about complete control. I think the iPhone does most video content and web content, but hey, apparently every website on Earth without Adobe's Flash is under Apple's control.

Someone better tell those YouTube guys they're working for Apple. It's the sort of thing they should know.

Nice way of saying... (-1, Flamebait)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660964)

Jobs said the version of Flash formatted to personal computers is too slow on the iPhone

...ie, your $600 toy has the CPU power of a TI-85. Enjoy playing text-mode Tetris on it, though...



while the mobile version of the media player is "is not capable of being used with the web.

Okay, that one doesn't even make sense. Unless it in some way requires use of the cellular-telephony-specific hardware in an iPhone, it will work "with the web", on a PC (or Mac, as the case dictates).



Once again, Master Steve turns the screws, and the fans will cry out, "Thank you sir, may I have another?"

Re:Nice way of saying... (3, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661134)

How on earth did this get modded insightful? I mean, sure, your '$600 toy' isn't as powerful as a laptop, but it does have a faster CPU than any PDA on the market!

As for not suitable for use on the web, I suspect that's SJ's polite version of "it's shite".

Re:Nice way of saying... (4, Interesting)

vertigoCiel (1070374) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661174)

...ie, your $600 toy has the CPU power of a TI-85. Enjoy playing text-mode Tetris on it, though...
The iPhone is one of (if not the most) powerful smart phones on the market in terms of processing power. Or do you know of a smart phone that does support full Flash (not Flash Lite)? Extra points if the battery life is longer than ten minutes.

Okay, that one doesn't even make sense. Unless it in some way requires use of the cellular-telephony-specific hardware in an iPhone, it will work "with the web", on a PC (or Mac, as the case dictates).
He's referring to Flash Lite, which is typically used to provide a UI layer for mobile devices. It doesn't even support the most recent version of Actionscript (which has been out for almost two years). The mere idea of navigating any modern Flash website with Flash Lite makes me cringe - which is what he meant by "not capable of being used with the web."

Once again, Master Steve turns the screws, and the fans will cry out, "Thank you sir, may I have another?"
I do a fair amount of Flash development, and even I don't like the idea of Flash on my iPod Touch. If not having Flash on a mobile device is wrong, baby, I don't wanna be right.

Re:Nice way of saying... (4, Interesting)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661274)

while the mobile version of the media player is "is not capable of being used with the web.

Okay, that one doesn't even make sense. Unless it in some way requires use of the cellular-telephony-specific hardware in an iPhone, it will work "with the web", on a PC (or Mac, as the case dictates).
I think he's alluding to the fact that the mobile version of flash just doesn't do the same things as the desktop version. I don't know the details, but there are significant gaps in functionality. There was a fairly recent version of flash which was more useful, on S60 at least, but, again, I don't know the technical details.

Here [allaboutsymbian.com] 's something for you to read. Maybe it sheds some light on it.

cf. the N800/810 (4, Informative)

DingerX (847589) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660966)

...which has Flash 9 fully implemented.

It works, and you can watch video with it, and with OS2008 it isn't half bad. But Flash is either on or off, and some abuses of flash can really slow down your web experience (e.g., try loading page full of flash video ads).

So, yes, you can get Flash on a mobile device (the n800 has an Arm9 @400 MHz, while the iPhone's processor runs at 620), but not a 100% reliable effort-free flash. Also, considering the iPhone's screen resolution, Flash would really suck on it.

A: Because it disturbs the flow of a message (5, Funny)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661166)

Q: Why is starting a comment in the Subject: line irritating?

Re:cf. the N800/810 (4, Informative)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661290)

> the iPhone's processor runs at 620

The iPhone's arm11 runs at 412MHz (before firmware 1.1.2 at 400MHz). Theoretically, it could run with 620MHz, but it doesn't.

Jobs is so full of shit ... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22660970)

... that I can't believe anyone listens to him any more.

Re:Jobs is so full of shit ... (0, Flamebait)

gmon750 (1216394) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661006)

Apparently enough people listen to him instead of listening to whiners like you. And yet the iPhone is a success after only eight months? iPod? MacBooks? iMac? I'm sorry... what were you saying? Not important anyways... you can go back to your parent's basement now.

Re:Jobs is so full of shit ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22661542)

Ease up with your +12 Shield of Jobs Protection there, champ.

Or just stop being a cunt.

If flash is slow then what is quicktime? (3, Interesting)

Tweaker_Phreaker (310297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660982)

It's amazing that Steve Jobs criticized flash's performance on PC's when quicktime has long had the slowest decoding on PC's for any format it can play. I think he may be threatened that flash is going to become the defacto player for h.264 on the web.

Quicktime is very good (4, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661306)

at telling me I need a new version of it.

Requiring me to reboot my iMac to install that new version.

I think they make the windowms machines in my house reboot out of sympathy.

I have to agree with what you put forth. Compared to other players I have always found quicktime to be a dog, especially when embedded in a browsers

Re:If flash is slow then what is quicktime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22661352)

It is made by Apple dude so it works perfectly just like Steve intended!

Makes sense (2, Informative)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660984)

Running on a late 2003 vintage amd64, Flash video spikes processor usage in linux (debian-64, with wrappers to make it work). The same computer plays much higher quality divx using a much smaller amount of resources just fine.

So mostly, flash just sucks for this purpose. But I doubt that is the only reason why Jobs says this.

Analysis (5, Insightful)

DigitalisAkujin (846133) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660988)

A lot of people will construe this as simply Apple trying to control media on the Iphone which although it does make sense that people would think this way, it's definitely not true.

Flash is optimized for windows. It has no where near the right optimization to run on OSX at full speed. Further compounding the issue is that the CPU must do all the decoding work where on a proper player the decoding could partially be offloaded to a GPU (in a full PC), or optimized CPU with support for certain optimized instruction sets.

Re:Analysis (0)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661206)

bullshit.
there is flash for windows mobile, palm (sony clie) and symbian os (a list of supported handsets [adobe.com] ). those devices have much weaker cpus than the iphone.

Re:Analysis (3, Informative)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661294)

That's Flash Lite, the mobile version of Flash that Jobs was referring to.

It, in a nutshell, is worthless.

youtube, anyone? (2, Interesting)

markybob (802458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660992)

youtube uses flash video, and as most people know, you can view youtube videos on the iphone. so how does this make sense? it seems like jobs is saying the iphone wont support what it already supports. i dont get it

Re:youtube, anyone? (5, Informative)

Zelos (1050172) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661014)

IIRC, the iPhone plays Youtube videos converted to H264 using a native client, not Flash video.

Re:youtube, anyone? (1)

DigitalisAkujin (846133) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661018)

They probably have an alternative means to an end..... YouTube can deliver the video in a different format.

Re:youtube, anyone? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22661044)

youtube re-encoded their videos with Quicktime H.264 for iPhone and AppleTV support

Re:youtube, anyone? (1)

raynet (51803) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661048)

Youtube when used with a "standard" browser uses flash video, when you use it with iPhone it probably uses something else, eg. embeds MP4-videos directly on the page or something, maybe iPhone has FLV (flash video format) player, but it doesnt have Flash-player. Flash is more than just a video player on a browser.

Re:youtube, anyone? (5, Informative)

AceJohnny (253840) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661150)

Flash video (flv) is a container around codecs, like AVI, OGG, and even MPEG is. The codec typically used in Flash is by On2 [on2.com] , I believe. I guess Jobs is complaining about Adobe's mobile implementation of the decoder.

However, Adobe recently added support for H.264 in Flash. H.264 is more widespread and there are hardware-accelerated implementations for it in the mobile field. Youtube has started supporting that codec as well (add &fmt=6 at the end of video URL to try, if that video has been converted)

Hell, I worked on a mobile chip which includes MPEG4 and H264 encode/decode acceleration, which has been included in a recently announced Nokia smartphone [nseries.com] , and I can confirm that On2 aren't accelerated (and Microsoft's VC1, used in DVB-H, is only partly accelerated), and thus have to run on the ARM core, at the expense of higher power consumption.

Translation: (2, Insightful)

nacule (1249808) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660996)

As we don't have the time or resources to spare, we are going to convince all iPhone users that this is something that wont contribute in any way to their $500 "new-age multimedia-rich internet browsing" experience.

Partly technical, partly political (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22661028)

Interesting and sensible piece of Gruber, who thinks no-flash is more a political than a technical decision:
http://daringfireball.net/2008/02/flash_iphone_calculus [daringfireball.net]

Suits Me (5, Insightful)

AndrewStephens (815287) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661032)

Lets face it, Flash is used for four things:

Video: Flash video is becoming the dominant video delivery mechanism for the web, its only competition is Quicktime. Perhaps flash video does take large amounts of processing power to decode (the Wii certainly doesn't do a very good job), but I suspect that Apple doesn't care too much if people find a reason not to serve video content in flash rather than quicktime.

Ads and sneaky cookie storage: Flash ads are annoying, and rather worryingly Flash programs can store rather large amounts of data in a sort of large cookie on your computer. This is often used to identify a user even if they have disabled cookies. Good riddance.

Games: it is a shame that flash games will never work on the iPhone, but this is somewhat understandable. The iPhone does not have keyboard and the pointing device works in a very different way to a mouse. Most games would not work well without recoding them for the iPhone and battery life would be bad since the screen would be continually updating.

Apps: well actually there are only a handful of sites I know of the actually use flash for something that couldn't be done in HTML. Mobile Safari is actually one of the more capable browsers out there, even compared to desktop browsers.

Additionally, while I don't doubt there are technical reasons for the decision, Adobe and Apple have always had a love/hate relationship - there may be political reasons why Apple wants to shut Flash out.

Re:Suits Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22661152)

...its only competition is Quicktime.
I honestly can't remember the last time I've seen a .mov file on the web. It's usually Flash, followed by .avi, .wmv, .mpg, then finally .mov.

Are you looking at a different web?

Re:Suits Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22661284)

He's probably using a Mac, which will likely use Quicktime Player for most of those formats

Good for almost everyone. (4, Insightful)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661224)

The lack of Flash could be a pretty good thing as Mobile Safari grows in usage, and web developers begin taking it into account. We could begin seeing real movie websites again, instead of annoying Flash sites; and Flash ads overall will decline so that advertisers lose out on potential clicks from iPhone and iPod users.

Re:Suits Me (1)

batman14 (1231454) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661316)

One shot promotion and special offer websites : On the commercial side, you forgot all the web designers usage that have to choose flash to "sexify" their websites with animations and so on. Several brands like Coca cola use flash to make their promotion website. Luxuary industry : Most part of the most expensive websites of hotels and restaurants use flash as their primary plateform of promotion. Cartoonists and design : Flash built its reputation on this, and still used in animation center to produce professional cartoons. (we worked with some studios last year on that). Nothing to do with the web though. I will add that you forgot to talk about professional and non public practices of flash. Charting : One of the most important usage of flash nowadays in finance and stock market business : charting. Look at your google analytics account and you will see one good sample of it. Of course you can do it in HTML, but here flash provides good tools to do it. Video conferencing : you can stream/broadcast web cam and mic signals with flash. Really efficient and that's the future of flash via cocomo API. 3d : Another point of flash is 3d. VRML/x3d sucks big time compared to flash. It is used for instance by train workers here in France that use tablet pc with a browser embedding flash 3d models of the electrical boxes to discover on the field how to fix it. Real-time tracking : And last and not least, pseudo real time process. Because Flash supports server push and rtmp protocol, it makes it a really nice option, if not the only one, to have collaborative and shared workspace. Financial apps rely on flash to track market changes. In these examples, flash is the only alternative that provide these functions on a web architecture. And I can tell you that my flex/flash background is really really valuable in my curriculum vitae on the job market.

Not neccessarily (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22661334)

I could never see flash videos become dominant unless they have:

1. a way for the video uploader to adjust the compression and quality of feed (and hence the download speed needed to watch it without buffering). This may already be in place, just never seen it.

2. a way to save videos. Granted, with higher download speeds most people may feel they don't need to and can just redownload everything, but there are always a meaningful number of cases where saving is useful. And saving flash videos is extremely cumbersome and sucks beyond measure, as does converting them to any other reasonable file format without turning into psychedelic jagfest.

Re:Suits Me (1)

GFPerez (683823) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661416)

Shared Objects (the Flash "cookies" are easily limited via Flash's settings panel (adn the default is 100KB), so your information is not very accurate. Although iPhone doesn't have a keyboard and ponting device, that's no reason to limit the possible creativity that game developers may come with to figure other fun games with other methods of control, ie. http://www.gamesetwatch.com/2008/02/interview_the_next_big_puzzle.php [gamesetwatch.com] But I agree with the rest of your post.

Not the codecs, but the implementation (2, Interesting)

fintux (798480) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661430)

The flash video codecs aren't really that cpu intensive. You once were able to download for example the youtube videos in flv format from cache.googlevideo.com/get_video?video_id=<youtube_video_id> (I tried this now, and it didn't seem to work anymore). That video could then be played with MPlayer, to mention one *. Unfortunately, MPlayer was not able to play all videos (I guess that's because flv is actually a container format, and can have several codecs). But those videos that did play, plaid with a much better performance.

I don't really think that it is the codec that is the problem. I guess that the biggest problem is that Adobe refuses to use any of the acceleration techniques for the playback. While that probably makes the code much more portable between different architectures and operating systems, it really is a performance bottleneck.

*) That's what the uktube of ukmplayer (http://maemo.org/downloads/product/OS2008/ukmp/ [maemo.org] ) does on N8x0. It seems to do some further tricks with the url, and therefore works even though the cache.googlevideo.com doesn't work anymore.

Re:Suits Me (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661434)

Actually you missed one other group: splash screens.

For good or bad, a LOT of restaurants I've noticed have them, and often have no way to get past them if you don't have flash. For most sites, if that happens I'll just go somewhere else but it drives me nuts when I'm trying to get a menu or address for a restaurant.

Also, lack of Pandora sucks. I hope Pandora at some point realizes they've got a potential big iPhone market and does either a native client or a web-only client.

That's it! Pandora! (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661484)

...now, remind me again why Apple would want you to be able to freely stream music to your iPhone, rather than buy it from iTunes?

Re:That's it! Pandora! (1)

madjia (1233520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661608)

Uhm you know you can put all sorts of music and video's on it, right? As long as it's in the right format. No need to ever buy anything from iTunes to put it on your iPod or iPhone, you can put all your downloaded and ripped music and video's on there. I keep wondering who spread that fairy-tale, my boyfriend honestly believed that too before I got him his own iPod. He seriously thought you had to get everything from the iTunes store.

I could care less about flash movies... (2, Insightful)

TFer_Atvar (857303) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661082)

But far too many websites use flash for their entry portals, and don't have a non-flash alternative. It really, really sucks when I can't get to a website I need to use on my phone. This announcement seems to be to be an invitation to crack my as yet unbroken phone, and make me some kind of "pirate."

Re:I could care less about flash movies... (1)

AndrewStephens (815287) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661356)

But far too many websites use flash for their entry portals, and don't have a non-flash alternative

True, but I bet those entry portals would work poorly even on a Flash supporting iPhone. Flash doesn't have a way to scale to smaller screens like (well written) HTML. Can anyone tell us how flash works on other mobile devices? Does the reduced real-estate cause problems, or does it work well in practice?

Flash Video is a huge CPU hog (4, Interesting)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661096)

Flash is a huge, huge CPU hog for playing videos. It is also not the only way to play flash videos.
I have done comparative performance tests.
In one corner: Youtube's flash-based player
In the other corner: Windows Media Player + Gabest's FLV Splitter [sourceforge.net] + FFDSHOW [sourceforge.net] .
When playing the same flash video, Flash took 40% CPU usage, and Windows Media Player took 5% CPU usage.
This just shows that Flash Player is extremely inefficient. Its performance gets much worse when showing a video in full screen.

Re:Flash Video is a huge CPU hog (1)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661590)

I guess that the particular Flash video decoder is inefficient. The rest of Flash might be OK.
But in fact, being all vector graphics I assume that Flash uses lots of floating point internally, and that goes badly on mobile devices.

Flash video is LCD video (4, Insightful)

gordguide (307383) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661114)

I'm not trying to defend Steve or even Apple. Bill and Microsoft have to share some of the blame, and I'm pulling out the stops and sending Real, Inc straight to hell. The short answer is the video wars are tiring, and consumers are simply tired of playing. No, I mean it.

Real is pure evil proto-spyware. Quicktime and Windows Media have fought it out for ... lets see here ... more than a decade? Can that be right? You bet it can.

So, the default Lowest-Common-Denominator format is Flash.

This-Is-Not-News.

It works, period. Quality? Not really there, actually. No, don't flame me. It's is truly a LCD format, a decade after video-on-the-desktop became a reality for both software and hardware. You could watch a decent quality 240x320 video in 1995. That, ultimately, is a very sad thing to say out loud, because this is 2008.

Flash is really not that great. Quality is frankly pathetic. I think that's what Steve was getting at.

But ...

You can view it on pretty much every computer today. Flash 1; QuickTime/WMV/Real 0.
It's widely supported on the web itself; every browser plays it when the page embeds it. Flash 1; Quicktime/WMV/Real 0.
It's not so great quality wise, but content providers WANT acceptable-but-not-one-pixel-more quality. Flash 1; Quicktime/WMV/Real 0.

What Steve, who you have to admit has this thing about quality, dislikes about Flash is the cheezy quality of the videos. I don't blame him nor can I say he is wrong. They are most certainly slow to load, CPU intensive, choppy/blocky/blurry things. But they work.

Steve wants video that looks good and works. I can't say he's wrong. Flash is weak in that area more than others.

So, let's put it into perspective here. Everyone talks about Blue-Ray vs DVD-HD but the real format war is still ongoing, and arguably less worth fighting over.

Can't we agree on a web video standard, where the codecs are built into every OS, consume reasonable resources, has some measure of copy protection ** and are viewable on everyone's OS, including the fringe OS's like Linux (which would not be a fringe if someone was selling it ... market share is more than just market share)?

I have my favorites. Don't get me wrong here. But, the video wars are too long with no winner in sight. I agree that Flash is not the ideal format, it's not even as good as at least 2 out of the three alternatives. But, Adobe has a vested interest in getting rich off of every OS out there, by controlling the creation of content, not the rest of the stuff. Apple, MIcrosoft and Real all had that goal in mind back in the early 90's; they've forgotten what they're fighting for now.

** Cheezy Quality = the modern day copy protection. Don't dismiss the value of it to content providers; they don't.

Re:Flash video is LCD video (1, Informative)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661424)

Steve is lying and so are you.
I use an LG Viewty KU990 touchscreen phone based on Flash.
I use customized handset themes for it to make it act like fully 3D.
Nowhere did i find it slower than iPhone.

Flash is easier to do beautiful interactive elements. True.
Flash is awful for playing videos. True.

Flash as UI for phones. Great, because it is thin, light and simply works.

Re:Flash video is LCD video (2, Informative)

Zelos (1050172) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661498)

I assume that's Flash Lite [adobe.com] , which (as I understand it) is not the same as the general Flash you get on the internet. It's specifically designed and optimised for mobile applications.

Re:Flash video is LCD video (4, Interesting)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661468)

I was actually thinking mp4 [wikipedia.org] would become the next baseline standard on the web, especially since it uses H.264 as the video codec by default. But until WMP actually includes support for it it will continue to just float around. Maybe Microsoft has been slow about it because it directly competes with wmv and doesn't lock people in?

Apple is ! cool (-1, Troll)

kir (583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661144)

Fuck the iPhone and all the narcistic idiots who own one.

Only Jobs... (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661192)

Could twist "The iPhone is too slow for Flash" into "Flash is too slow for the iPhone".

What does that even mean? Flash wont play at 60 fps or something and that's the speed of video Jobs wants? I know what he means but in trying to dress it as a problem with Flash it stops making sense. It'd have been more correct to say something like "Flash is too resource intensive for the iPhone" but I guess if you put it in a form that makes sense it still makes the iPhone's hardware sound bad.

Whilst I do realise Flash is quite a resource hog, it's also become a rather important part of the web and if the iPhone can't handle it then it can't handle a large portion of the web.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not keen on Flash and wouldn't use it for general web development, but for streaming video, due to YouTube and the likes it's fast become a fairly standard way of displaying video, whilst I'd like to see Flash removed from the web long term, I think it's foolish to not support it short term as that currently only harms consumers. Develop a better alternative (Not Quicktime thanks, it's far, far worse) and support it alongside Flash and phase Flash out in favour of that alternative over time.

Re:Only Jobs... (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661350)

OK, realize that an iPhone that would be powerful enough to run Flash... would look more like this, and would [b]STILL[/b] be too slow - even if it were running it in IE on Windows, which is the fastest Flash Player:

http://www.samsung.com/us/consumer/detail/detail.do?group=computersperipherals&type=ultramobilepc&subtype=ultramobilepc&model_cd=NP-Q1U/000/SEA [samsung.com]

Re:Only Jobs... (2, Insightful)

Renderer of Evil (604742) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661386)

The problem with flash isn't only the speed, but the way it would fit into the iPhone-style of browsing. With HTML pages you can pinch and zoom, do all kinds of weird things. My brain hurts when I try to imagine navigating a site that's built entirely with flash. Flash killed WMV and Real for web video (for which I am thankful), but it's equally bad in other areas like holding up accessible site development.

Re:Only Jobs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22661516)

Actually, this 'twist' is exactly what any company with a PR manager who wanted to keep his job would do.

Bring on the Silverlight! (1)

Saint Gerbil (1155665) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661198)

Maybe MS has given them a bung to get their flash on it first ?

Flash videos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22661270)

I wouldn't watch these on my iPhone, I mean anyone could be looking over your shoulder. Best to keep that kind of filth private - I'm surprised at Jobs being so open on this one but then again, I can see he might be that kind of guy.

May be a reason to get one ... (1)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661480)

I abhor the (ab)use of Flash on the Web. Many sites don't allow access, at all, unless a specific version of Flash is installed, even if all the information I want could be easily handled with static text pages. Additionally, the Flash player implementations allow Trojans trivially (not that QuickTime is without its own issues).

Is it the fault of those writing the specifications for sites or the site developers that low-to-moderate-bandwidth, Flash-free pages that provide all the information a visitor needs are not developed? Maybe mobile Web access will bring about a change to the current mindlessly Flash burdened paradigm.

Nose/spite/face (1)

jeillah (147690) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661530)

Bad or not, by not supporting Flash Apple will be denying iPhone users access to many popular video sites, including YouTube.
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