Jun 25, 2010

Is (an) Apple Healthy? (English)

Apple vs. Flash
Image by wvs via Flickr

The success of Apple products, like the iPhone and iPad, can be explained by our preference for closeness, we do not want to know how things really work, as long as it is working! Apple also adds another dimension; a slick design and a unique user experience. Apple makes everyone of us a gadget freak and therefore we accept a significantly higher price and a limited freedom of use. Apple did jump on the growing unpopularity of Microsoft (the big evil) in a convenient way and knew how to avoid to much attention of Google (be no evil). But this will change!
The long-awaited breakthrough of mobile takes epidemiological forms and the combination with the emerging sensor technology will bring “The Internet of Things” close to mainstream. But where we expect more openness and connectivity (“everything must surely be able to communicate with everything!”), Apple makes a counter statement by banning support for the Adobe Flash technology. The question is “Why?”

– 70% of all online games is based on Flash;

– 98% for all Internet-Enabled Desktop Flash;

– 85% of the top 100 popular websites use Flash;

– 75% of all videos on the Internet using Flash (Youtube, Hulu, Disney);

– There are 3 million Flash developers;

– 90% of all creative use Adobe products;

– and there are 1.2 billion Flash-capable phones;

Apple’s slogan “Think Different” should be “Act Different”. Looking at the footprint of Flash, there has to be another explanation (than a business one). Steve Jobs is driven by aesthetics. Apple claims a monopoly on usability through a relentless  control of the user experience. In an open letter, Steve Jobs declared that Adobe Flash is the number 1 root cause for Macs to crash and battery life is significantly shorter by the use of Flash on mobile devices. Obviously Adobe rejects this view. In the meanwhile Apple promotes HTML5 (yet-to-be-ratified-standard for HTML), CSS, Javascript and H.264 (a standard for video compression). The other explanation is “revenge”! Steve Jobs is irritated for years because of the fact that Adobe finally has adapted its creative suite to the Mac OSX. But there is (much) more at stake!

The ‘jack comes out of the box’

The future of the web is the “app” (instead of the browser) and mobile (instead of the laptop / PC) and Apple sees opportunities to strengthen and expand its position on the mobile market (iPhone and mobile apps). Apple foresees a central and controlling position for its  iTunes distribution channel (Apple decides which applications may be distributed and Apple decides whether an application meets its aesthetic requirements). But there is another, more fundamental reason; most display advertising on the web is supported by the Flash platform (interactive display banners, video banners, etc.). Mobille advertising is still in its infancy. Google did acquire the company Admob, specialized in mobile advertising (Apple also had intentions to acquire Admob but lost). Apple bought Admob’s competitor Quattro and has implemented this technology in the heart of the iPhone 4.0, better known as the iADS. Advertising will be an integral part of iPhone apps and Steve Jobs promises a unique user experience and more value for advertisers. Within this vision a partnership with Adobe does not apply!

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