What’s the big deal with Flash (still)? (You don’t need a Flash app for your iOS device.)

iOS Flash PadI find myself asking this question a lot: Why are people so interested in getting Flash (Adobe Flash) on your iOS Device (iPad, iPodTouch, iPhone)? The reason I am asking myself because I see a new tweet about it daily. “I found the perfect Flash app. YAY!” or “Oh, it is great to have Flash on my iPad!” or “Another Flash app! Awesome” and the statements goes on. I look quizzically at these posts, as I do many posts, because nobody ever says what they are DOING with their Flash app. They all just seem to think they NEED one! I’m just going to come out and say it: You don’t need a Flash app on your iOS Device.

The Apple Way and Flash
Steve Jobs (Apple Inc.) has never shied away from the fact that his mobile devices do NOT run Flash, and he doesn’t have any plans to make them do so. I’m not sure if many people have actually read Steve Jobs “Thoughts on Flash” but they should. At first it may seem like a proprietary thing, meaning people think just because Apple didn’t create it, they don’t want it. This isn’t true. If you spend any time at all understanding the “Apple Way” you will begin to see there is a strive for excellence. Apple has lost their way a few times (failed) and has learned from the experience, and basically is saying, we don’t want to give you a device that fails. That being said, for a Mobile Device to work in the future, and now, there is going to have to be a better way than Flash. For me there are two Instructional (educational) issues I’m going to deal with.

Issue 1 (of 2): Out Dated Technologies
The first (which I will not deal with in-depth) is the aspect of better technologies now exist. Did you know that the beginnings of Flash are 1993 (yes, almost 20 years)? And the current usage of Flash dates back to 2005 (when YouTube was just getting started). [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Flash]There is a much better, and more modern and efficient way for video to be delivered. With your Flash App you will NOT be getting your ten hours of use on an iPad. Also Flash video quality is less than the current standards of an iOS device. These are not qualities I want in an app that really isn’t necessary as the rest of the tech world continues to catch up to Apple. The rest of the world has always eventually gone the way of Apple (apple was the first say no disk drives, apple was the first to say mouse, apple was the first to USB, ect.). Flash will have to reinvent itself if it wants to be relevant, not just keep adding plugins and updates. Flash is not needed on an iOS Device there are plenty more places to get my video content.

Issue 2 (of 2): Touch and Flash don’t mix
Second, touch and Flash. Oh, I could spend hours here. My iOS devices are touch devices. They work with my fingers not a mouse. I was given a copy of a Flash App three months ago. I am skeptical of any app, websites, or product and must live with it before I say anything about it. Eventually the apps I “suggest” will make it into the hands of some 130,000+ students I work with. When I look at an app it is from the eyes of a Teacher who will be teaching students. From a Teacher who has 20 or more students trying to complete and create assignments and there can not be room for any unforeseen difficulties. So I patiently try to go through every aspect of any website or program before I can suggest it. A touch screen and Flash is the worst combination I have ever experienced. Oh, and not just me, but the 2nd grader, 4th grader, and 6th grader I get the joy of living with. I was constantly ask from the day they got their iPad’s, “Dad, can we play Club Penguin on the iPad? Dad, can we play Pop-Tropica?” Well, they were thrilled when I loaded the Flash App on the iPad. And they sat down with dad and we had a great 3 minutes. 3 minutes of awesome, and wow, and cool FLASH is on the iPad! That was enough. As soon as they tried to move or work or create or type or touch or DO anything the fun, joy, excitement, wonder, and magic of the iPad dissipated into using something like a PC (non Apple device). In short, touching with a Flash App on an iOS does not work. Then I have to think about the 130,000+ students that would feel the same way. I think about the teacher who is going to try to use this app and then have to talk about all the “issues” with the app. We don’t have time for that in the midst off the information and learning age. I’m sorry I’m not going to do that to them teachers and students both. Flash is not needed to further frustrate the learning capabilities with a device that comes with a wealth of free options. Flash is not necessary for an iOS device.

Any Flash App is an UNNECESSARY app for the educational purpose listed above. I know there will be MANY who disagree by saying they MUST have their MOVIES and VIDEOS that show on the iPad (and please indicate your discord in the comments bellow). I don’t think it is worth the frustration, time, or money to purchase an app to try to make Flash work on an iOS device. In the end I believe Flash is not needed on an iOS Device. Now skip the Flash and get to learning!

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About technology_tim

Moved to New Site: http://www.timganosmith.com. Instructional Technology Specialist, Podcaster, Teacher, Jamie's Husband, Father of Three, iOS Expert, Apple Expert
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One Response to What’s the big deal with Flash (still)? (You don’t need a Flash app for your iOS device.)

  1. foxdenuk says:

    As long as a major website such as BBC News still uses Flash for their videos it will be a source of EXTREME frustration for me that my iPad can’t render flash. It’s not always about best quality but about what people want. We don’t always want what’s good for us.

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