A day doesn’t go by without someone speculating that Apple will eventually be forced to include the Flash player on iPhone and iPad in an attempt to fend off the ever increasing Android user base. Personally I don’t see this happening for two reasons.

Firstly, the majority of people aren’t buying Android devices for the Flash support. In fact, I strongly suspect many are buying handsets without even knowing, or caring, that their new device is actually running the Android OS. Android is everywhere now and it’s getting harder to purchase a phone that doesn’t use it. Sure there’s probably many Symbian users disgruntled with Nokia’s ageing OS that have gone over to Android, but again the vast majority probably aren’t using Flash as a deciding factor.

But the main reason I doubt Flash Player will make an appearance on iPhone is that it’s clear Apple doesn’t really need it. iPhone user’s have been getting by surfing the web without Flash for almost four years now, and many of the more popular websites have slowly started to move over to using JavaScript to provide some of the interactivity that was once done in Flash. As for web-based games, again Apple has shown that it doesn’t need Flash here either. The quality of games available through the App Store is nothing short of exceptional and we’re constantly seeing new and innovative ideas.

I’m certainly not taking a swipe at Android or Flash with this post. My primary phone at the moment is an Android and I make a living as a Flash developer. Personally I’d love to see Flash on iPhone and especially the iPad but I’m not going to hold my breath for it.

  1. I totally agree! I’m using using iPhones since almost 3 years and I almost never miss a Flash Player on websites. It would be very annoying to see all the ads again and we all would hope for a mobile version of “clickToFlash” which I always use on my desktop machine. And guess what. I’m developing on the flash platform as well! 🙂

  2. You lost me on your thesis here. Many phone/tablet advertisements for Android and other flash enabled devices from Samsung, Motorola, etc. have featured Flash support. Some of those ads have even *focused* on Flash support.

    These ads are not developed in a vacuum by people who don’t understand the market for their devices. These are made by big companies that do research into what consumers are looking for. Your premise that consumers don’t care about it or don’t know about it on the other hand is purely conjecture – and I don’t think it is correct at all.

    I don’t think Apple’s decision to not support Flash on their devices is about the consumer. It may be positioned that way but there are likely other more pressing strategic reasons for doing this that are the primary drivers. So, unless those underlying reasons change the policy isn’t likely to change. Consumer demand _could_ potentially force a change but since the policy isn’t consumer driven, it would take overwhelming pressure to do so which doesn’t seem realistic.

    (fwiw, these are purely my own opinions and not those of my employer)

  3. Also, bear in mind that at best only 36% of Android phones support Flash just now. Not many people seem to be missing it.

  4. Sorry, Android devices I mean. There’s more than phones these days 🙂