Flash vs HTML5

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs stated in an open letter titled “Thoughts on Flash” 6 reasons why he doesn’t allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. In his letter he argues that “Flash was created during the PC using mice era and is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content”. He believes that HTML 5 is the tool of the future, specially for mobile devices.

This month computer world released an article titled “6 reasons why Flash isn’t going away” were Howard Wen gave Flash a strong position over HTML 5 and other alternative Web media technologies in the foreseeable future.

The Arguments

Steve Jobs:

  • HTML 5 is “Open”. Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary so Flash is a closed system.
  • Mobile devices don’t need Flash to access the “full web”. Flash is used only for videos. When videos are  encoded in H.264 format they are viewable on iPhones, iPods and iPads.
  • Apple devices don’t need to play Flash games. There are over 50,000 games and entertainment titles on the App Store and a lot of them are free.
  • Reliability, security and performance. Flash is the number one reason Macs crash and Flash has not performed well on mobile devices.
  • Battery life. On an iPhone, for example, H.264 videos play for up to 10 hours, while videos decoded in software play for less than 5 hours before the battery is fully drained.
  • Multi-touch Technology: Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers.
  • Can’t depend on a third party company. Apple cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.


  • The iPhone and iPad notwithstanding. Flash is beginning to show up on other mobile device platforms.
  • Flash is used for more than just video delivery on the Web. Flash is a great animation tool, and it’s used for a lot of interactivity.
  • Adobe provides strong tools and support for designers and developers. Macromedia and Adobe have always offered support to a community of creative developers
  • Flash’s content protection/DRM appeals to content producers. People who own movies and TV are going to want as much DRM as possible, and new video formats that don’t satisfy those requirements are going to be tough to spread.
  • Flash remains popular with online advertisers. Even if iOS devices never directly support Flash, it may be the development platform of choice for ads for a long time to come.
  • HTML 5 still has video codec patent issues to work out. Different Web browsers support different codecs for HTML 5 video playback. Unless a single standard is agreed on for HTML 5 video delivery, content creators will have to encode their videos multiple times in order for them to play in all HTML 5 browsers.


It’s too early to say who’s staying or who’s leaving.  For now both technologies and companies need to co-exist with each other; only time can tell.

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M5 Design Studio

We are a small, but creative and passionate team of designers and developers specializing in web design, graphic design, branding & digital marketing.

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