There’s been a lot of discussion in the last week about Apple’s decision to not support Flash on the upcoming iPad.
If you could not care less about the iPad, Apple’s decision won’t matter to you.
But if you think that the iPad could be one of the most significant music technologies of 2010, Apple’s decision to dump Flash is probably going to affect you.
Lack of Flash on the iPad means that some interesting Flash-based music apps – like Tone Matrix, 5 Experience Pulse & Soundation, aren’t going to work on the device. If the new thing doesn’t support Flash this could set back the idea of browser based music software.
Video embeds will be broken at many sites, and some media players, too. Flash banner ads will be broken.
And the Flash-based Websites of a lot of musicians will be missing in action.
While many decry Apple’s decision, one of the most interesting commentaries I’ve seen comes from web standards guru Jeffrey Zeldman. Zeldman was one of the founders of the Web Standards Project, a group of Web designers dedicated to encouraging the use of Web standards.
Zeldman says that the lack of Flash on the iPad is good for the Web.
Zeldman has this to say about Apple’s decision to leave Flash off the iPad:
Lack of Flash in the iPad (and before that, in the iPhone) is a win for accessible, standards-based design. Not because Flash is bad, but because the increasing popularity of devices that don?t support Flash is going to force recalcitrant web developers to build the semantic HTML layer first.
As the percentage of web users on non-Flash-capable platforms grows, developers who currently create Flash experiences with no fallbacks will have to rethink their strategy and start with the basics before adding a Flash layer. They will need to ensure that content and experience are delivered with or without Flash.
Developers always should have done this, but some don?t. For those who don?t, the growing percentage of users on non-Flash-capable platforms is a wake-up call to get the basics right first.
HTML5, with its built-in support for video and audio, plays perfectly into this new model of computing and browsing; small wonder that Google and Apple?s browsers support these HTML5 features.
Apple’s decision to not support Flash is a tough one – but it’s still the right decision. The decision, like Apple’s early adoption of USB and dumping of disk drives, is a move forward that only Apple is in a position to make.
And Apple’s most influential products have been defined by the features they’ve left out as much as the features that they’ve included.