Why I trust Apple’s decision on flash

Originally I believed that Apple’s decision to not include flash in the iPad was a corporate and anti-competition move. My opinion has changed. After conducting several different tests on different browsers (Safari, Internet Explorer*, Opera and Google Chrome) and on different computers (2.2 Ghz Macbook, 1.6 Ghz HP Mini and a 3.0 Ghz Dell), I managed to conclude some results on how flash performs.

I’ll start by saying that I believe that consumer choice is important. If the consumer chooses to use a program it should be at his/her own risk and he/she should be free to take that risk. Unfortunately, after growing up watching YouTube comment wars, I’m also very aware of one thing. When Apple makes a claim that its products don’t crash, a litany of Windows ‘fanboys’ comment that Macs crash just as much as PC’s do. This just isn’t true. Flash is largely responsible for any crashes you may encounter on a Mac and Steve Jobs knows this well.

By allowing an unpredictable program run on the iPad, Apple would run the risk of tainting their ‘crash-free’ reputation amongst their customers who have a lesser understanding of what individual programs are crashing (A gigantic slice of their target demographic).

The Method:

On each computer, I would open three tabs of flash sites in any one browser at a time while allowing other applications to run in the background. This method would be used on all of the listed browsers and each test would be refreshed five times.

*There is a possibility that background applications could have an effect on the results, but (in fairness) my results seemed fairly conclusive.

The Results:

Surprisingly, the MacBook handled the tests with the most competence –particularly on Safari. I encountered only one crash (on YouTube) and, surprise surprise, the culprit was flash.

The HP handled flash abysmally. The smaller processor simply couldn’t handle with the crap the program was throwing at it. I encountered SEVEN crashes (one on Safari and the rest on Google Chrome and Internet Explorer).

The Dell did better but with its giant processor, I expected more. I encountered two crashes and eventually had to start the task manager.

The Point of this?

The results showed that all of the computers experienced flash crashes – no other programs crashed. If a 3.0 Ghz monster or a 1.6 Ghz netbook can’t handle Adobe’s program then how is the iPad supposed to? The program is incredibly ‘buggy’ and unstable, in this writer’s opinion. Apple are doing well to avoid the damage it could cause to their reputation. I’ve already changed my YouTube account to HTML5, have you?

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