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Posted on September 21st, 2010 by Tom Arah

Apple vs Adobe: some surprising statistics

blog ios web share

I recently came across a very interesting bit of analysis on the Macworld site. According to a survey by Net Markets based on usage share across 160 million unique visitors spread over 40,000 websites:

“Apple’s iOS mobile operating system is now the third most popular platform on the internet, with a share nearly six times larger than Android’s… more than enough to shove Linux off its perch as the third-place operating system on the web.”

Now that really does sound impressive, especially in the context of some quotes from Vince Vizzaccaro, a Net Applications vice president, regarding overall mobile share and the iOS percentage: “Mobile’s growth curve is strong and mobile is becoming quite a phenomenon on the internet… That’s massive when you think about it… we’re seeing iOS totally dominate the market on the web.”

So just what are these amazing figures?

You may well be as surprised as I was to discover that the “massive” overall mobile share is 2.6%, and the iOS figure is well under half of that, at an extraordinary… 1.1%!

Now I’m not saying these figures are irrelevant (clearly in demographic terms, it’s a very important 1.1%), nor that they aren’t rising. But “massive”? Surely when you call a share “massive” it ought to at least form the majority. For example, looking at the similar web share figures collected by Stat Owl, I was surprised at the percentage of browsers with Silverlight installed on their system. Although the platform is generally seen as never fully taking off, Stat Owl puts Silverlight penetration at 51%.

Of course the technology with the biggest web share of all is Flash. A while back I wrote a blog questioning Adobe’s claims for Flash penetration. Sure enough the Stat Owl figure is lower than Adobe’s – but it still comes in at 97%.

Now let’s not quibble about 2.6% here or 1.1% there. It’s clear that with a greater share than Windows (91% according to Net Markets) and Mac OS (5%) combined, Flash has by far the most legitimate claim on the title “massive”. Or, as Adobe puts it, Flash is “the world’s most pervasive software platform”.

1.1% v 97%: Steve Jobs v the web

This all casts a very different light on the current battle between Apple and Adobe in which Flash is generally seen as yesterday’s technology, desperately clinging on but about to be steamrollered from the web by the oncoming Apple juggernaut.

This has important practical implications. Based on this popular perception, and Steve Jobs’ dismissal of Flash as yesterday’s technology,  designers the world over are busily redesigning their sites and changing their workflows to avoid using a perfectly legitimate web technology that proves itself extremely useful in a whole host of different scenarios (which is how Flash built up its near-universal penetration in the first place) and which is set to prove even more important going forward in the era of cloud-based computing.

Now it turns out that we are being asked to go to all this effort and to deliberately limit ourselves and our output to reach just an additional 1.1% of web browsers. Moreover there’s little doubt that, if they were given any say in the matter, the overwhelming majority of that 1.1% would choose to see Flash and Silverlight content (presumably including  those who choose to block Flash content by default in their desktop browsers but still install the player).

To top it all, Jobs’ apparent underlying justification that Flash inherently cannot be made to work in the mobile environment – even on the iPad – is spurious. There are challenges to overcome, but every other mobile manufacturer apart from Apple – including Google, Microsoft, Nokia and RIM – is currently working with Adobe to bring the mobile-optimised 10.1 Flash player to their devices. With initiatives such as Nvidia’s Tegra, Flash should eventually become the natural cross-OS and cross-browser web platform for devices, just as it is for the desktop.

Rather than the web at large falling into line with Steve Jobs’ vision for the future (built around iTunes and the App Store), it’s time for Steve Jobs to fall into line with the web, including its player add-ons and its core principles of openness, extensibility and universality.

At least when Bill Gates held the web to ransom he had the decency to first establish a dominant position. In Steve Jobs’ case, with only 1.1% market share, the would-be emperor isn’t even wearing any clothes.

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73 Responses to “ Apple vs Adobe: some surprising statistics ”

  1. Martin Hill Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    I’m sorry but you are drawing the wrong comparisons. 

    Guess what, HTML, CSS, JavaScript and other open web technologies have 100% market share and rightly hold the title of “the world’s most pervasive software platform” not Flash.

    With the rapid adoption of the latest version of HTML, version 5, already doing a large amount of what Flash has traditionally been used for on websites, HTML 5 is the competitor to Flash you should be comparing. One software dev environment to another rather than your spurious comparison with an operating system instead. 

    The fact of the matter is that HTML 5 “should eventually become the natural cross-OS and cross-browser web platform for devices, just as it is for the desktop”. 

    Jobs has just been doing us all a favour in encouraging everyone to use open standards rather than a proprietary technology owned by only one company for something as vital as the worldwide web’s software dev and deployment environment. Sure HTML and JavaScript may not yet do everything that Flash does, but at least we are now headed towards a far more healthy web that doesn’t require proprietary plugins for even simple tasks like playing video. 


  2. Kevin Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Steve Jobs, promoting open standards? You’re having a laugh Martin! There’s nothing open about the Apple system that ties you into the nightmare that is iTunes and prevents you from choosing which internet technology you want to install.

    And as for HTML5 challenging Flash, well maybe for some of the low end annoying stuff Flash is used for already but I doubt I’d get very far attempting to create the Facebook game I’m developing (in Flex) at the moment using HTML5.

    Flash has always been a soft target because it’s such a BIG target – sure there’s some misuse but Flash enables me, as a programmer, to achieve richness that no other platform (except Silverlight) can rival.

  3. Martin Hill Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Oh and have you actually seen how “well” Flash performs on even the latest hotted-up Android phones?  


    Performance and battery life both suffer on mobile platforms. 

    Also, in your comparison, you keep comparing iOS to desktop platforms and neglect to mention the vast share of the mobile web that iOS continues to rule. Of course mobile devices have a far smaller web browsing market share compared to desktops. Most of the time users are – shock horror – mobile and can’t be browsing the entire time compared to sitting at a desktop all day long. 

    When you do compare iOS to all other mobile platforms you discover it holds between 50-60% marketshare of a very lucrative market segment. . 

    Makes sense now why web designers the world over are re-writing their websites for Open Web standards and touch interfaces now doesn’t it?

    Viva a healthy, open web un-beholden to any one company. 


  4. Muck Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Be careful of Stat Owl. Well over 90% of the websites it uses are for the US market so those figures are really purely US market share

  5. Martin Hill Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    So export your Facebook Flash games as an iOS app, put it on the App Stote and actually make some money from it. :-)

    You can do far more in a native app than is possible in a web-based Flash app. 

    That is one favor Steve has done for developers, given them a way to actually monetize their hard work. 


  6. Adrian B Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Re use of HTML 5 – “encouraging everyone to use open standards rather than a proprietary technology”

    Yes – remind me when it was that the HTML 5 standard was ratified?

  7. Martin Hill Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    @Adrian B
    Like many standards (even hardware standards like 802.11n), HTML5 is already implemented in most browsers and in production accross the world long before final “ratification” occurs.


  8. AW Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    All you Apple addicts need to wake up and smell the coffee! The reason why Saint Jobs is addressing flash is not because of some benevelent goal to free the world of proprietary software. It is about hard cash! Steve wants the gaming and commercial dollars that currently flow into the flash platform.

  9. Nathaniel Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    95% of all statistics are made up ;)

  10. Adrian B Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    @Martin Hill
    “HTML5 is already implemented in most browsers” The plunge to implement bits of a standard that has not been agreed carries a risk that the final standard differs. That’s why my Belkin router, for instance, doesn’t cope with the proper 802.11n – because it implemented what was not, in the end, the agreed standard. I read dozens of forum users who criticise MS for not complying with a standard – justifiably – yet dozens also seem to laud bodies for HTML5 use – which by definition is also non-compliant. And I’ll bet there are plenty in both camps.
    I think until the standard is ratified, anyone claiming compliance with open-standards for HTML5 needs to be a touch circumspect – right now it’s a de facto standard only.

  11. Martin Hill Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 12:16 am

    So that’s why there are 70,000 free apps in the iOS App Store?

  12. Jason Anders Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 12:26 am

    I am an iOS user and I for one would love to have flash, so to say “if your an iOS user you are 100% opposed” is just putting words in others mouths.

  13. sergei Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 1:02 am

    I would prefer if the IPAD could run Flash as it would mean the carbon accounting application we wrote in flex would work without costly redevelopment.

    I think as an iPAD/iPHONE user I should be allowed to decide if I want poor battery life, system crashing, poor performance yadda yadda yadda or other reasons given for not allowing Flash.

    This is very much a case of the tail wagging the dog. Apple trying to change the market to suit them – However other side of the coin is Nintendo and Sony still require you to jump through hoops on their platforms.

    I’m sure HTML5 is as great as it is made out to be – but the simple fact is unless you know the system intimitely and are geared up resource wise – then you don’t bother. Simple fact is regradless of whether it is an open system Flash still commands a very high penetration onto many devices and it is one of the few rich development environments across multiple platforms.

  14. X Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 1:16 am

    @M H
    Are you saying apple doesn’t benefit or making any money having from those 70,000 free apps in their app store?

  15. Jesse Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 1:16 am

    wow Tom Arah, comparing plugins to platforms, heeding the call fandroid.

    Can’t wait to hear you defend froyo on tablets.

    dear idiots: apple and google are both public companies. competitions is good.

  16. Blue Beard Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 1:29 am

    The Flash Bashers are ludicrous and a reflection of just how impresionable Apple fan boys continue to be (they spent the 90s convinced Ctrl Click was easier than an extra mouse button). Good or bad, Flash is far from dead and HTML5 is light years from being a viable replacement. But don’t take my word for it read the youtube article which describes exactly why Steve jobs has got it so very wrong. This isnt an anti apple post, I love Apple! but in my opinion their divices would be better with flash which is why I should at least have the “option” to install it.

  17. Andrew Baldrich Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 1:36 am

    This will sound fanboi-ish, but I believe that branding Linux as the “fourth” system of the web is equivocal.
    Really, take away all linux computers connected to the Internet, and then check how much of it is left.
    This very site runs on Linux+Apache.

  18. Phill Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 4:14 am

    I have yet to find an issue with flash on my nexus one. I dont go searching for them – but equally – everything I find naturally works fine. Maybe the issues people are having are network issues (possibly USA specific as I am not in the USA). Android isnt perfect but flash is NOT an issue for any of my friends or work colleagues (and working in IT – the majority now have android phones (compared to Iphones – a lot have work blackberries or OLD Nokias but for who have their own phones and replace them before the old one falls apart its now ALL android – BTW – we are NOT in the USA.

  19. Jason drake Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 4:26 am

    You expose your technical ignorance. Flash is dead already; just taking a few years to pullnthose last breaths. Do you rant a web comprised of open/free standards; or one waiting for one company to patch the latest security hole, or implement the latest features?

  20. MattD Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 4:48 am

    Wow, post even one article mentioning apple and the fanboys and anti-apple people come out to play. Didn’t see that coming.

    However the notion of comparing a web technology to an actual software platform is pretty ridiculous. Why not compare the market share to that of HTML, CSS, javascript etc? Oh that’s right, because every browser post 2000 has those.

    Flash definitely has it’s place in gaming and other more advanced stuff on the web, I don’t think anyone should be disputing that. However anything basic that’s currently being done in flash makes way more sense to be done in HTML5 and/or JavaScript and PHP. Just look at some of the stuff Google are coming out with using these open techs. The fact that even when I’m doing next to nothing on my browser and flash player is consistently sitting in the top 3 most process hungry processes concerns me. When it comes to efficiency in completing minor tasks, flash has nothing on HTML5. I shouldn’t have to install a third party plug in just to perform basic tasks like navigating a drop down menu or watching a video.

    And sure, HTML5 might not be fully ratified yet. But when was the last time the W3C ratified something in a timely matter? It’s already fully implemented on most new browsers, much in the same way wireless N was on most new laptops long before the IEEE finished the standard.

    Flash will always have its place. But the web is long overdue to claim back some of that real openness that is so great about it.

    I do have to say though.. It’s extremely ironic that of all people to be advocating openness on the web… Steve Jobs? Really? I’m sure there’s no vested interest in the demise of flash there… No.. Not at all.

  21. James Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 5:26 am

    No, what he actually said was that HTML5 would supplant Flash and was better for mobile devices, and it is indeed being developed and implemented rapidly across the web. I’ve ever heard or read anything from anyone at Apple comparing iOS directly to Flash.

    The entire premise of this article is faulty, and I took the bait. Damn. Did you guys also do that article where Ballmer compares an X-Box accessory to the iPad?

  22. VulpesRex Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 6:51 am

    @Martin = Logic Fail

    The developers of all those free apps still have to pay Apple for access to the iOS Dev Program.

  23. Wild Bill Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Interesting article – some comparing of apples and oranges but also some good facts about current stats on Flash and mobile.

    Two Points:
    - Anyone who touts with certainty that a new technology will be king or that an existing successful technology is dead … has not really been around all that long or they are thick headed.

    -Anyone who thinks a publicly owned company is doing something for the “goodness of all” or “openess” or other smoochie things is a sap. Its for money – market share – ego.

    Remember the average user just wants a good price and something he/she can use easily. They are not purists about whats under the hood.

  24. Denis Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 8:02 am

    To have HTML5 + Javascript be a perfect replacement for flash, it would need

    1) all ancient browsers upgraded (well, there are already versions of IE that can’t be installed on XP)
    2) all browsers creators sticking to the standard (long way to go for Microsoft… still lots of work for the others)
    3) have a standard movie format… which is still a problem due to the strict H.264 licencing scheme

    Then, we would be able to talk about 100% penetration of the HTML5+JS+CSS technology… Until then, the best guess for a cross platform, cross browser web application is still Flash…

    I don’t like Flash… But we don’t have anything better to replace it…

  25. Mik Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 8:27 am

    As an iPhone owner since day one, I have always felt that Apple should have at least tried to implement some sort of Flash capability to the mobile web experience. There are obviously bandwidth and data transfer issues, but for Apple to patently snub a current and widespread web technology, smells like a money or licensing issue. Isn’t that part of all of this? Flash costs, html-5 doesn’t.

  26. RattyUK Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Hmmm. @mik
    Apple cannot implement it… Before they “removed” Flash they asked adobe to show it running. They are still waiting. Adobe are not into helping apple in any way. They were betting on Apple failing. The lost the bet.

    Apple cannot implement a 3rd party’s proprietary code.

  27. @RattyUK Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 9:00 am

    You do know the Flash standard is open and documented? Anyone can implement a Flash Content Player (and a fair few people have)

  28. Ben Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 9:17 am

    HTML5 is a long way off being a standard. You only have to look at Apple’s HTML5 showcase that only worked in Safari.

    JavaScript doesn’t have 100% penetration, there a lot of people who have it switched off.

    Flash is a powerful tool that over the past decade has lifted the web from being a dull place to somewhere that’s been fun to be! :)

  29. AdamC Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Flash on mobile – yes, wouldn’t it be great to be able to view porn anywhere and any time.

  30. Andy Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Tom, you’ve done it again. You had to pick that stick up and poke the Apple Flash debate.

    I agree with your point about it being difficult to justify 1.1% as a massive share. But this is something Apple products do very well. Take an existing product, re-spin it in an Apple way and generate a disproportional amount of publicity around it. I’m not knocking that though. Sounds like a good plan to me. The iphone is fairly remarkable in that it made smart phones viable and desirable to the non business user, something Microsoft and Nokia are still failing to do.

    I think this whole flash/apple/html 5 debate though is tangled up in a great deal of misconceptions: HTML5 is not a straight replacement for Flash and flash is not a replacement for a native app. Of course they have their overlaps and pros and cons but they have different roles to play. HTML5 is trying to standardise things like embedding video and providing richer content but it’s taking its lead from the way people have used plugins. Just because elements of extensions gets baked in, it doesn’t mean the source becomes irrelevant.

    Flash isn’t just used for displaying video and ads. It’s a full development environment with client and server side aspects. Websockets in HTML5 might replicate some of this but the current support for this aspect is very limited. All the implementations of video embed I’ve seen have just been progressive downloads and not “real” streams (though this does make saving a copy far easier).

    Flash can be a performance dog but so can javascript or a native app. Every browser release seems to shout about improved JS performance, with a wider mobile adoption of Flash those performance boosts would come to the platform I’m sure.

  31. David Wright Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 9:36 am

    And Android was affected by the latest zero-day flaw in Flash…

    Flash does have its uses, but I generally surf with it disabled as it is a security nightmare at the moment.

    Adobe really need to work on make the platform secure, stable and lean. They have added so many features, on top of other features, that it is a complete mess as a secure platform.

  32. LukeV Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 10:01 am

    @Martin do you own a flash-capable mobile device? Or do you get all your opinions from the interwebs? Having actually developed a flash gaming portal to run on the Nexus One I have to say that the performance rocks. Don’t bash it till you’ve tried it.

    I appreciate that Steve Job’s stance on Flash has sparked interest in HTML5, but I don’t agree with denying ipad and iphone users the choice of what to use. But, then again, it’s all part-and-parcel with the Apple Kool-aid.

  33. jsko Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 10:09 am

    @Kevin September 21st, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    You really should crawl out of the stone u lie under, iTunes uses standards as AAC, h.264 they are open. Both under the MPEG4 standard. That is openess. You guys fail to see difference in open formats and specific hardware. iTunes i 1 to 1 with iOS gadgets. Don’t get one if u don’t like one. Still there is no competing software to iTunes that is better at it than iTunes.

    And apple and openess, check out but I guess you have no clue what the contents there is about.

  34. jsko Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 10:21 am

    @Adrian B September 21st, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Should bought an Apple router then not the belking, Apples router was software upgradable to final version. Even my computer MacPro (2006 model) didn’t ship with 802.11n but was available trough software update.

    Who’s belkin when it comes to 802.11 gadgets. Apple has been a 802.11 pusher as the first iMac/iBooks where 802.11b equipable, both as aftermarket and on order. Antennas buildt in, just needed the proper card.

    Well there is other good brands on 802.11 gadgets, some are better than Apple 802.11 gadgets, but my experience is I’m safe and compatible with Apple hardware and software. Not so on hardware that run Windows, or aim only at Windows compatibility, they all have their own silly implimentations and almost never follow any standard.

  35. jsko Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 10:25 am

    for those who says Apple should have tried to get, flash running.

    Well they tried, they cooperated with Adobe to bring flash on the first iPhone. Adobe did not cooperate, and was left in the shadow of iPhone.

    Maybe Apple never told adobe that they had the phone, but they for sure went to Adobe and asked for optimisations to be performed to the old clunky micromedia software. Adobe did not respond to it. And had no future on iphone, I’m glad. As I hate flash in any implementation. One of the features making me wanting an iphone over an android is that Flash wont run on iPhone. I can therefore help to build a market that is flashfree, and hopefully in the end kill the beast.

  36. Lomskij Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Just to clarify:

    This article is not comparing apples and oranges, it is comparing apples and adobes :-)

  37. scott Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 10:36 am

    I would love to see a web free of proprietary plugins, but at this time it is not currently practical. I develop educational resources for schools in the UK. Almost every school I have visited (300+) uses a version of IE, and the vast majority of schools are on IE6. This is followed by IE7 and finally IE8. Out of around 300 schools, there have been only two that didn’t have flash installed. Developing interactive web content for use in schools using HTML5 is therefore out of the question as it would not run as expected (or at all) for the majority of my clients.

    Schools (primary schools in particular) often do not have dedicated IT staff and they are very reluctant to make software changes on their systems. Often, they cannot change the software even if they wanted to as the system is run externally by the Local Authority.

    Finally, development time is important. It might take a few days to put together a rich interactive environment in HTML5, whereas it can be done in a few hours in Flash. I would love to see an HTML5 authoring environment that is even close to the Flash IDE for speed of development.

    In conclusion, for my purposes Flash is definitely not dead and I don’t see HTML5 as being a viable alternative for a number of years yet.

  38. dbnks Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 11:51 am

    I agree with sergei, and I also like HTML5.

    Flash support on your iPad wouldn’t bar you from still using HTML5. ( or disabling it if you totally don’t like it )

    Using lawyers and ‘bricking’ devices is a suspicious way to promote ‘openness’

    Closing your options in the name of Openness is self-contradictory.

  39. E. Serrano Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Well, nothing that surprises me so far. It is what was mostly depicted in these infographics some time ago:

    If you add to the mix that Apple is now enabling the Flash to iPhone compiler, then you will find out that Flash created apps really have enough quality (which was also demonstrated after using Flash apps in jailbreaked iPhones).

    HTML 5 is part of the future as Flash is as well. Both of them will evolve over time. So far, achieving with HTML 5 the same effects that you could create with Flash is not only more time consuming, but ironically, it would have less compatibility levels amongst real users so far.

    Apart from the “video codec wars,” the main problem of Apple with Flash is that Flash games don’t require purchases at the app store, and that’s why Flash is such an annoyance for Apple.

  40. roy alexander Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    The post times appear to be those of the location of the poster, which, due to time zones, cause the posts to appear out of real time sequence: European posts will appear later than N. American posts entered hours later.
    Can you show and sort for the viewer’s time instead of poster’s time?

  41. Lester Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Is there a way for apple to allow Flash video to play (as a iOS Safari plugin?) without the rest of the fapps baggage?

  42. Daris Fox Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    The security risks of HTML 5 are not being addressed as well, whilst Flash is insecure HTML 5 will open a veritable Pandora’s box of trouble. Will be be able to block animated HTML 5 adverts like we can with Flash? Can we control tracking databases that are appearing now using HTML 5 app Caches? Apple uses these already to track users…

    Can HTML 5 compete with Flash? Simply put: No.

    Of course Apple and their Macolytes will deny all this…

    HTML 5 doesn’t even exist, it’s a potential standard that’s still to be ratified. All of the technologies are subject to change and likely will change. Not even the main browsers can agree how some of the new elements are supposed to be rendered!

  43. Martin Hill Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    As I said in my first comment “Sure HTML and JavaScript may not yet do everything that Flash does, but at least we are now headed towards a far more healthy web that doesn’t require proprietary plugins for even simple tasks like playing video.”

    I take back my off-hand comment about Apple’s 70,000 free apps – yes it is true Apple does benefit from them.

    However, I stand by my criticisms of this article comparing the proprietary plugin Flash to an operating system. The proper comparison is Flash’s marketshare vs the marketshare of HTML, Javascript and CSS which is a completely different animal.

    Likewise, my original point that the reason web designers the world over are re-designing their websites using open web standards like HTML 4, 5, AJAX etc is not because iOS has 1.1% of the web browsing market compared to desktops, but because it has 60% of the web browsing market compared to other mobile platforms. This is a rapidly growing market segment that websites ignore at their peril.

    These are the reasons this article is flawed.


  44. Martin Hill Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    @Daris Fox
    Those “HTML5” vs Flash tests you quoted were really, really poorly coded by people who obviously have a vested interest in Flash. Here’s a version that gets 45 FPS on the iPhone 4:

    Here’s another tweaked version of the canvas demo, this one from Charles Ying, that updates the FPS counter less frequently (to match the Flash version), which performs even better:

    (thanks to Tony Swash for the info above).


  45. Arby Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Enough Martin Hill. You are an Apple shill.

    Apple could easily allow Flash on iOS devices. All they have to do is make the Flash objects not execute until the user taps it. Just like how IE 7 used to have “Click to Activate” on Flash objects because of the Eolas lawsuit (Google it if you don’t know about it!). Doing this would keep web pages performing fast, and lets the user decide whether or not to subject their device to faster battery drain and risk of browser crash.

  46. Muck Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Martin Hill. You say you want openess and then make a comment about how Steve Jobs has wonderfully allowed developers to write apps for a proprietary iOS. I’ve been an iPhone user for the past 2 years and I would like Flash on my phone. A simple switch to turn it off could easily be installed. That is being open. Allowing people freedom. They produce some great kit but I do not agree with their banning of Flash. They’re happy to shove Quicktime down our throats aren’t they. Why doesn’t their website use HTML5 video?

  47. Levi W Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Flash runs AWESOME on my 1.25 GHz overclocked Droid 1 from motorola. Flash doesn’t run at all on my friends iphone.

    Also, to all those saying html5 will replace flash, do you really have an understanding of what flash is capable of? You think just cause there’s native video player you won’t ever need flash again? .. poor fools

  48. JeffDenver Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Martin, there is no reason NOT to allow users to decide for themselves what they want to use. Flash can easily be turned off for those that dont what it. It is ironic that the “think different” company now wants everyone to think like they do.

  49. Nick Valvo Says:
    September 23rd, 2010 at 12:35 am

    Does Mobile Safari even support plugins?

  50. Martin Hill Says:
    September 23rd, 2010 at 1:24 am

    The is no contradiction in encouraging an open web and having a curated native app environment. It has meant that it is Android that has all the malware, piracy, hello world apps and spam apps filling their store not iOS. 

    With 17.7 million app downloads a day or 1 billion every 2 months, iOS customers seem pretty happy about it. And with income of a billion dollars (50 x greater than Android over a similar time frame) iOS developers are pretty happy as well. 

    Mind you I am very glad that Apple has loosened up the restrictions on app development now and allows Flash apps to be converted to iOS apps amongst other things. And as I say, what a great way for Flash developers to finally get paid potentially BIG dollars for their coding. 

    Just remember that for the first 12 months of the iPhone’s existence, open web apps were the only option for developers writing apps for the platform. Apple gave them the revolutionay webkit browser that was spectacularly powerful compared to ALL mobile browsers of the time and said this was the strategy for writing software in the iPhone. 

    For that whole time developers, the press and the general public did nothing but clamour for native apps. 

    For the first 3 years of the iPhone’s existence, Adobe was completely unable to deliver the full Flash engine for any mobile platform until recently when they finally released Flash 10 though it is limited to the latest fastest hardware only.  

    True, no flash on the web does mean some pain in the short term, but as I say, the long term benefit is that there is now enormous pressure for web devs to use HTML, Ajax and other web 2.0 technologies instead of copping out and using proprietary Flash for every little simple thing in their web sites. 

    Adobe and others now have some real incentive to improve their HTML5 authoring tools and there is now serious momentum behind continuing to develop HTML into the powerful web dev platform it should be. 

    You know, only Steve Jobs could have pulled this off. No other CEO could have withstood the enormous ongoing criticism of such a policy, but it is bearing fruit in a big way. Short term pain, long term gain. 

    I repeat again -The web should be open and not beholden to proprietary technology from any one company. 


  51. Tim Says:
    September 23rd, 2010 at 2:27 am

    As an Apple user, I’m glad Apple isn’t wasting any time on Flash, yet. I’m willing to grant that it’s theoretically possible to make a Flash player that works well on mobile. But if Google, Microsoft, Nokia, and RIM are devoting energy to making Flash work, great! When they can produce a Flash player that works on mobile, let Apple take advantage of it then.

    Development time isn’t free. If you were running Apple, which set of features of iOS would you have sacrificed, in exchange for betting that your engineers could make Flash work on a phone, something that Google, Microsoft, Nokia, and RIM all have been unable to do so far? Strategically, telling Adobe to get their act together seems like exactly the right move.

    In the meantime, Adobe still can’t seem to make a 64-bit *desktop* Flash. Or a Flash player for Mac that can go 5 minutes without crashing on me. At least we now have Chrome (so it doesn’t crash the whole browser) and Flashblock these days. Mac users have been treated like crap by Flash for over a decade. Let Adobe put their money where their mouth is, and then I’ll call Flash a universal platform.

  52. Muck Says:
    September 23rd, 2010 at 8:01 am

    well remove Quicktime then!

  53. Shawn Says:
    September 23rd, 2010 at 8:17 am

    @Kevin (2nd comment)

    At the risk of being elitist, I’m sorry, you’re not a programmer !! Flash and by extension Flex are not for [real] programmers. Real programmers pick common-denominators, care about security, care about openness, care about usability, performance, etc.

    Now, wanna-be programers without proper training and thought-process, will use things like Flash, Flex, and Visual Basic. I’m sure there are many other methods to writing games for FaceBook, but choosing the shortest/easiest path, doesn’t make you a good programmer.

  54. Hugie Says:
    September 23rd, 2010 at 9:37 am

    I have to ask – is it true that 772 of the apps on the Apple AppStore are “fart apps” (make your phone make the sound of a fart)?
    Could this explain what the 70,000 free apps are about?

  55. dbnks Says:
    September 23rd, 2010 at 9:52 am

    @Shawn: Provide one example of something that makes Flash less “Real” than your another programming language :)

  56. dbnks Says:
    September 23rd, 2010 at 9:54 am

    @Shawn: Provide one example of something that makes Flash less “Real” than your programming language

  57. JulesLt Says:
    September 23rd, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Dbnks – lack of parallelism/multi-threading?
    Buggy frameworks that easily leak memory (Flex pre 4.0)?
    Poor integration with test tools (without the programmer going to great lengths).

    Relatively immature programming and debugging tools compared to Java and C/Obj-C.

    Very poor performance of the Flash runtime on anything except Windows desktop until Flash 10.1. Adobe did a good job with 10.1 but that validates previous criticism (and it still performs poorly on mobile devices with non-optimised content).

    It’s a nice bit of technology – a lot of power for a very small runtime – but it was originally intended for short-running scripts (so things like garbage collection, etc, were just handled by the fact the user would exit the page) not applications.

    What I wonder is why people are so desperate for a web-delivered x-platform development technology when there’s little evidence that USERS rather than developers want it. Far from browsing to HTML 5 web apps or sites, it seems iPhone and Android users both prefer Apps. Perhaps we are imposing our wish to cut development costs onto the user?

  58. Stefan Richter Says:
    September 23rd, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Real programmers don’t leave anonymous comments. Noob.

  59. Chris Says:
    September 23rd, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    @Martin Hill

    Considering the comments you’re coming out with, you’re one of 2 things:

    1) An Apple employee
    2) Someone that will requote everything Apple/Jobs says without question.

    How do *you* know all this stuff about Apple wanting to get Flash working, Adobe doing nothing, etc. Were you there when it happened? Because the Adobe version of events differs a lot to what you’re saying.

    And if you say “because Apple said so” I’ll have my answer.

  60. Muck Says:
    September 23rd, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Interesting comment @Shawn. I get paid for writing Visual Basic and C# amongst other languages such as javascript, Delphi etc. Am I not a real programmer?

  61. jan Says:
    September 23rd, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Flash doesn’t support people with disabilities. Apple devices do, Mac OS X and iOS devices, all of them. Build-in, just use it, if you have content in standards, like HTML. If navigation or content is in Flash, good luck accessing and using it.

  62. Progr Says:
    September 23rd, 2010 at 9:46 pm


    “I get paid for writing Visual Basic … Am I not a real programmer?”

    No. Real programmers don’t use Visual Basic.

  63. Martin Hill Says:
    September 23rd, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    I didn’t say anything about “Apple wanting to get Flash working, Adobe doing nothing”. Are you referring to someone else’s comments? -Mart

  64. Adrian B Says:
    September 24th, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    “Real programmers … care about openness, care about usability”

    Slightly tongue in cheek (but not much) – while the best programmers do care about those things, most of the guys who proclaim themselves “real programmers” don’t care about openness or usability – if you’re too thick to use their software, that’s your problem. If you’re too thick to understand their pearls of wisdom in the source code, that’s your problem.

    And yes, I was a programmer for many years. The world was never in danger from the best programmers because they understood all the things above – but those who proclaimed their brilliance were invariably a danger to the enterprise.

    In any case, real programmers code in Assembler! (NB – irony switched on for that last sentence!)

  65. Peter Says:
    September 24th, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    “REAL programmers don’t eat quiche”. It’s as true now as it was all those years ago….

    Let’s get real though people: Apple is grinding one enormous axe in its dismissal of Flash.

    This is not really an argument about proprietary versus Web “standards”. Its an argument about money and NIH (Not Invented Here).
    Jobs has never cared about either openess nor standards. He of the black roll-neck is a businessman, not a geek. Apple, previously the daahhling of all those ‘creative’ types now sees itself as the portal through which we should all go in order to CONSUME, not create. Every time we consume something, Apple gets a cut.

    That objective is best served for Apple by its infrastructure of proprietary technologies and store-fronts embodied in the execrable iTunes and AppStore.

    Me, I’m waitng for Windows ‘phone 7……. :-) )

  66. Jeremy Daley Says:
    September 24th, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    I’m not opposed to the idea of HTML5 phasing Flash if it means bettering the internet in any way, shape or form. But there are just things that have a long ways to go (*ahem* approval of specs) with HTML5.

    The examples that exist out there of how it’s taking over Flash are pretty weak in comparison to sites like this:

  67. David Wright Says:
    September 25th, 2010 at 10:27 am


    Programmers use whatever language is put before them…

    I started with BASIC and Z80 machine code, them Pascal and Z80 Assembler, C, Forth, COBOL, Fortran, Turbo Pascal, Prolog, C++, C#, Java, PHP, Forté, 4D, Essbase, Visual Basic, Visual C++, Visual J++, ASP, ASP.Net, Visual Basic.Net, JavaScript, UML…

    Some are better than others, although most of the modern OOP languages are fairly similar in their constructs, so it is easy to switch between them with little of no training.

    I got a job as a PHP developer (most highly paid PHP developer in the agency), after writing a hello world app the day before I went for the interview and then did 2 days test work (for free). Knowing the basics of programming and knowing where to find the specifics or samples of code, when you need them is more important today.

    There is a lot of snobbery over some programming languages and platforms, but that doesn’t mean that they are not worth using.

    Flash does have its uses, although performance and security are the thorns in its side. Adobe have worked on performance, somewhat, but security is still a big issue – it seems to have had a Zero-Day vulnerability nearly every week this month; one of the reasons I am happy that my iPhone doesn’t have Flash and why I use FlashBlock with Firefox and ClickToFlash with Safari – I also use NoScript on Firefox.

    And, no, I am not an Apple fanboy – I currently hardly use my iMac, using my Windows 7 laptop most of the time and I also use Linux on a near daily basis, so I am fairly platform agnostic and criticise them all equally, when they deserve it…

  68. jan Says:
    September 25th, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Peter: Think about people with disabilities. Should they be able to surf the web and use web services?

    All Macs with Mac OS X and all iOS devices have accessibility build-in, like in no other desktop OS and no other mobile OS has.

    Is THAT also just about business?

    No one but Apple seems to care about web and tech being accessible for people with disabilities.

    Flash content and Flash systems do not work with accessibility features and that’s bad.

  69. John McDonald Says:
    September 29th, 2010 at 7:19 am

    I think that you are all missing the point. Your average business manager and average application user don’t give a s**t about what technology the application is written in. They just want an application that works, is robust and “does what it says on the tin.” Any consideration of the esoterics is irrelevant.

  70. John McDonald Says:
    September 29th, 2010 at 7:22 am

    …..oh, and by the way, from his comments I think Martin Hill must work for Apple.

  71. Martin Hill Says:
    September 30th, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    @John, unlike you, I actually post my home page and identify myself and no, I don’t work for Apple.

    So do you actually have any useful points to add to this discussion or are you just going to cast aspersions?


  72. itsme Says:
    December 3rd, 2011 at 10:15 am

    @Martin Hill, hey you martin you are a fool.

  73. itsme Says:
    December 3rd, 2011 at 10:18 am

    @Martin Hill,
    HTML5 is open, but which one?
    Windows Chrome HTML5? Windows safari HTML5? Windows IE 7 HTML5? Windows IE 8 HTML5? Windows IE9 HTML5? Mac Chrome HTML5? Mac Firefox HTML5? Windows FF HTML5? Someother stupid HTML5 browser? which one? You idiot, have you really developed any website by your own yet. Go learn some stuffs.


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