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My problems with Steve Job’s thoughts from his glass house

Clearly Apple and Steve Jobs is feeling some pressure from the uproar from people like myself, other designers and consumers who are tired of his bullshit over Flash on the iPad and iPhones. For only the second time in as long as I can remember, the first was when they screwed us on the iPhone price and had to give people a rebate, Steve Jobs just posted an article on Apple’s website to address this sore issue and this time it is titled “Thoughts On Flash”.

I encourage you to first read what it is he has to say. Then here are some of my quick thoughts and reactions on what he had to say today:

It’s not open.

“While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.”

Sorry Mr. Jobs but I couldn’t hear you over my $100 iPhone development kit I have to own to be then be able to submit an iPhone app for the fourth time with the iPhone police for their approval before it be released in your closed marketplace. Seriously – A closed system argument? I can publish whatever the hell I want to in Flash and Adobe isn’t making me submit it for their testing and approval before I can put it live. This is spin and bullshit that is so hyped on their own Kool Aid that I can’t believe they would even make this argument.

The “full web.”

“Adobe has repeatedly said that Apple mobile devices cannot access “the full web” because 75% of video on the web is in Flash… Another Adobe claim is that Apple devices cannot play Flash games.”

When the hell did the “full web” become only video and games?  But let’s humor that position and start with that argument that you don’t miss anything without Flash video. I will only say that I have had three friends who all bitch about their iPads because they like to watch videos on NFL and MLB.  Both sites use Flash so let’s not run around saying how you’re not missing anything so quickly.

I have said this before and I will say it again. Apple is taking part of a larger discussion about being able to get the same web surfing experience on your iPad that you have on your laptop and focusing in on the two things you have numbers to try and spin to your side. This isn’t a real discussion about what people are really saying. This is Apple picking these two small things out of a crowd.  I personally could give a shit about video and games. I care that I would use the device to do research for this blog and – oh ya – the sites I would be surfing most of the time USE FLASH!

Reliability, security and performance.

“We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it. Adobe publicly said that Flash would ship on a smart phone in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. We think it will eventually ship, but we’re glad we didn’t hold our breath. Who knows how it will perform?”

This is one point that I can’t argue with. I said it myself in “Dear Adobe, want Flash on the iPhone & iPad? Here’s the plan…” that if Adobe can answer the bell on these problems, show that it works then they will but the ball back in Apple’s court.  Their continued silence only allows this bashing to continue.

Battery life.

“The video on almost all Flash websites currently requires an older generation decoder that is not implemented in mobile chips and must be run in software.”

If you have ever run the Maps application, Email or anything that take a 3G connection on your iPhone for any length of time you know that any rich interaction isn’t going to make your iPhone into a Prius any time soon. But since we have never seen Flash running on an iPhone how can we keep judging it to be such a battery monster? In the point right before this one Steve said he has never seen Flash running on a mobile phone and “who knows how it will perform” but then in the next point he is going to judge how it will perform? Lets pick a side and stick to it  – I’m getting dizzy.

Also, I know this is wondering off the subject but I also can’t help but point out that if battery life is such a precious thing to Apple then why do they not make a single mobile device, phone or laptop, that will let me actually change the battery without buying a new phone or paying so much to have it done I might as well have bought a new one? I’m just saying…

Touch.

“If developers need to rewrite their Flash websites, why not use modern technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript?”

This was another one of those points where I just scratched my head because with this logic every time I want to update some part of my site to an improved design or play with an emerging technology  I need to completely re-code my entire site because there is a newer technology out there? Maybe as the CEO he has that kind of time and money but in my world – I don’t have clients with those budgets or time lines.  Also  following that logic Mr. Jobs would be perfectly happy if Blackberry comes out with a better operating system than his that we all abandon our iPhone apps and re-write them for that platform – right?

On some level I also take this as a slap in the face that he feels that we are all so devoid of creativity that we can’t adapt our existing designs to take into account for a new try of interaction. We seemed to do it just fine when he introduced the iPhone and asked us to create interactive apps that are currently making him rich.

The most important reason.

“If developers grow dependent on third-party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third-party chooses to adopt the new features.”

At least he ended where he began with going back to the glass house. Following this logic then we all shouldn’t become dependent on his development tools, his iPhone OS 4 updates and platform enhancements you choose to roll out in your own time – cough – copy and paste – cough – multitasking – cough.

So after all of this I only want to say what I have said before – THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING BUT MONEY! The fact that Apple is spending so much time, effort and money trying to hide and bullshit around that fact is what is making really start to hate this brand and where it’s going. Instead of writing these letters and acting like a spoiled 12-year-old making snide cracks under your breath at your press conferences – do us all a favor and just confess you want to keep your precious revenue from your apps and development fees. At least then I could respect you on some level for being honest with me and treating me like someone who has a brain.  The road they are headed down is just pissing me off more and more because they think I am too stupid to see the truth and have become so mindless I will follow them anywhere. Once again – I am not one of those sheep.

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Creative Director, Designer, Brand Builder, Speaker, Podcaster, Crazy One. As a designer, I have 20+ years experience creating the strategy, concepts, and designs for award-winning integrated global advertising campaigns, building multiple global Fortune 500 brands and creating innovative digital experiences. As a leader, I have 15+ years transforming agency and client-side teams using a mix of creativity, business strategy, process and political skill to create innovative, world-class work and cultures that change industries and companies. My clients have included American Airlines, W Hotels, Disney, Citi, ExxonMobil, Acura, Old Navy, Nationwide Insurance, Verizon, Subaru and many others. My work has received over 150 international awards, my app designs have been named as one of the World’s 100 Greatest Apps, Apple has featured my work in 9 keynotes, 4 TV commercials and more.

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