Bowing into widespread market pressure, Apple has finally released a version of Adobe’s popular Flash web application platform for its iPhone, iPod touch, and upcoming iPad, which will be available through the company’s iTunes Store when the iPad is launched.
The decision reverses Apple’s longheld opposition to allowing Flash to run on the hugely popular devices. Apple executives have previously rubbished the technology as being bug-ridden, poorly designed, and too popular for its own good, but critics say the company has maintained its ban on Flash in its mobile devices simply to preserve the profits it gets by selling applications through its own iTunes Store.
Deciding to offer Flash at last, CEO Steve Jobs said today, was a concession to the realisation that iPad users would quickly revolt if they shelled out for the new device only to find that it wasn’t able to display a large proportion of Web multimedia out there. Delivering Flash, he explained, was the best compromise in the long term to make sure the device is as fully-featured as possible.
“Rather than continuing to hold back Flash to preserve our revenues from commercial applications, we’ve reached a compromise that we think will satisfy critics and fans of Flash alike,” Jobs said during a preview of the new technology held in the leadup to the iPad’s launch.
“By providing broad compatibility with the Web standard, in an easy-to-download application that costs just $799.99, we have made Flash accessible to those who want it while finding a way to recover the potential losses from applications that people won’t buy once they realise Flash support means they don’t have to.”
Questioned over the price of the application, Jobs said the price point had been arrived at through careful analysis of customer buying patterns, a semantic analysis of the Web’s Flash-based content, and the addition of a bit of margin to hedge against future disruptive technologies.
“We recognise it’s not a 99-cent application that people will buy without even thinking about it,” Jobs explained. “But the way people have been rabidly carrying on about our lack of support for Flash, we’re confident there will be many out there who are willing to pay the price for the technology they love. For everybody else, we currently offer over 150,000 downloadable applications at significantly lower prices than that for Flash. Once again, Apple has delivered choice to consumers in an innovative new way.”
Contributed by David Braue (who wishes everyone a Happy April Fools’ Day).