- October 19th, 2011
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Many people want to know how their site will be viewed on an iPad. Usually the question refers to flash content.
It is true that iPads do not display any flash content at all. They can be modified to force an install of the plugin, but I believe such modifications to their software voids the hardware warranty. That right there should tell you a bit. Apple is the only company I know of that will void a warranty of hardware, based on the software the user chooses to run.
There is much debate over why they have taken this stand against third party applications, and it is worth noting that Apple refuse other technologies too. It is my belief that Apple do this to control the transaction of money on their devices. Their policy is that they require 30% of the gross of all digital products sold on their devices. Applications such as flash actionscript can move data around without anyone else seeing what’s going on.
Apple has been in dispute with Sony Music because Sony’s iphone application sent people out to their website to finish purchases, thereby cutting Apple out of the gravy train. Similar disputes have happened with Amazon and Apple and probably many others. These companies are being forced to fork out 30% of their gross to the manufacturers of the devices that present their catalog.
It is also worth noting at this point in portable Internet history, that Google’s android and the devices that use it have no such claim. These manufacturers sell hardware products and allow their customers to use whatever software they choose on those devices. Imagine that! Tablet manufacturers like Asus, Samsung, Motorola and Toshiba are making brilliant devices and your flash content shows perfectly on them. Android phones also show your flash site as it was designed.
To give some idea of how handicapped iPad users are by this boycott of these technologies by Apple, just think that 80% of all video on the Internet is delivered with flash plugins. Think about the massive companies that have their primary sites built in Flash. If you’d like to start browsing them, just check out the premier award site FWA where almost every site is built in flash. These companies have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in Flash technology and are still doing so. Unfortunately, many of them are building additional faces to their beautiful sites. These are a dumbed-down version of their site that can be seen on iPads and iPhones. I say “dumbed-down” because the reality is that nothing exists to replace the capabilities of Flash.
If you say this to the rep at the Apple store, he or she will promptly tell you that html 5 has replaced flash. That’s a nice sentiment that may be true in 10 years, but it isn’t event close to true yet. Internet Explorer doesn’t support html5 at all yet and it is the most widely used browser. So if you build your website in it, you will lose more than half the market! There are other problems with html5 at this stage too. It is still in development and so sites that use it will require constant updating just to work properly, especially over the interim. Flash is the only way to do a great many things. That’s why so many educational programs like mathletics, and spellodrome use it exclusively. Gee, I hope your child didn’t want to get educated on your iPad.
What to do?
So that’s the low down on how things stand at present. I think that Apple’s bullying and control campaign will one day be over, but it will require that the common folk stop lining their pockets and funding their marketing. Apple is so keen on the billions it makes through selling other people’s products on their devices, that they are willing to sell their devices at cost or lower, just to get you into the trap.
Meanwhile, the progress of Internet delivery and development is being greatly slowed by this stale-mate. Internet sites are getting more ordinary, less flowing, less smooth and untuitive and interactive simply because they have to work on an iPad.
For my clients, your site will show on an iPad but not as it was designed. All the text will be readable and some of the images may be displayed. To see it this way, just temporarily disable the flash plugin. All the information of your site, the text and the images and the video is located outside flash. It can be accessed without the flash plugin. How we present it is another matter.
There is much that can be done to make this version of your site a little prettier and more functional for the small portion of the market that will visit on their iPad. I say small portion, but it is getting bigger at present. One of my clients that receives about 6000 visits per month in a travel based industry (more people will use their portable devices to reserach travel destinations because they may be already on the road), received
- just under 10% from iPhones and
- just under 4% of them from iPads.
- Meanwhile 71% of them were still from windows based machines and
- 13% from Macintosh-based machines
If you want to learn more about what we can do to your non-flash site, please call me for a chat about it.