I normally leave this to others, but I just read about the Ideas of March & have promised myself to finally try to blog often (or at least more often.) And it turns out that finishing a blog post for a change is more fun than my other homework.
Picked up this review on twitter—I’m giving @lessien the credit, which is probably 90% right. There are 7 points, mostly subjective and I’ll leave the bulk of them alone with that label, but there was one point which seems to get mangled in most tellings of the tale…
“Are you content to let Apple dictate that you can’t watch Adobe Flash content on your device? Well you’d better find something else then, because that’s just what it has done. Isn’t it better to have the option? How could removing choice be a good thing?”
The problem with Flash ultimately is that it drains battery life through processor and graphics chip cycles, not to mention that it depletes data limits through downloads and system memory through larger web page files. This note on Daring Fireball reference an Ars Technica review that saw a loss of two hours of battery life with Flash installed—somewhere in the neighbourhood of 33% of the unit’s overall performance.
The fallacy that is being perpetuated by K. Noyes is that the average consumer can choose to use Flash or not as if it were only used for watching video or playing games. Most Flash usage, though, and the attendant battery drain as outlined above, happens without the consumer making a choice. These take the form of Flash-based ad units & Flash versions of websites—both are significantly larger in size requiring more bandwidth, more memory, more processing power & battery life. But there is never a “Do you want to load the Flash ads for this page?” or “Do you want the fancy version of this site?” dialogue. These just load automatically on the basis of the plugin’s existence on your system.
How many consumers do you think want to make the choice to give up 2 hours (or 33%) of their battery life to see fancy ads? I haven’t seen any research against this, but my guess is very few would be cold on the iPad in this regard.