Thoughts on Flash and the iPhone
By: Matt Sneed
--- 05/19/2010

I'm not going to use this post not as a venue to argue the intricacies of this debate as there are heated parties on both sides.  Both sides also have legitimate points.  Both sides feel passionate about their given stance.  Instead I'm going to use this post as a mere statement of fact.  If Apple won't allow Flash on their devices, a good percentage of us won't be using services that require Flash.  Period.

In the past month I've travelled to both ends of the East Coast.  My wife and I spent some time in NYC for a conference a few weeks back.  We both carry and regularly use (depend on) our iPhones.  Neither of us went through the trouble of bringing our laptops and the fact of the matter is we used various services and webpages on our iPhones more times throughout the day in NYC than I can even begin to count.  Subway maps, taxi company websites, event tickets, store locations, etc etc etc.  It was a completely painless trip mainly due to the fact that we constantly had our iPhones with us.  However, if your website used or required Flash I can guarantee you that you didn't get a call nor business from us in our four days in the city.  It's as simple as that.

I spent a day in Florida even more recently, same situation.  My iPhone went everywhere I went and in most cases spent 90% of the time in my hands googling this or googling that.  I used various apps to see what was around me, used safari to find the details I didn't want to go through the trouble of searching for a specific app to accomplish, and had a painless trip experience because of it.  Again, have a site that used Flash?  You didn't hear from me.

Software developers can argue all they want about open and closed systems and the ethics behind various moves certain companies make in the industry.  It's something we're passionate about and it's a hugely interesting topic of conversation.  However, if you're a business owner you don't have to worry about the ethical debate, you have to worry about making sure as many people as possible are able to find and use your service.  Period.  In today's world, for better or worse, that may mean leaving Flash behind.

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