Adobe Weighs In on the iPad's Lack of Flash (the Software)

Last Updated Jan 29, 2010 12:40 PM EST

The controversy over the Apple iPad's inability to handle Adobe's Flash technology, which is the engine that drives a lot of Web content, from video to advertising, is starting to bust out into the open -- and the bigger the controversy gets, the more it will potentially dampen sales of the iPad. Media companies, beware.

In a blog post, Adobe said,

It looks like Apple is continuing to impose restrictions on their devices that limit both content publishers and consumers. Unlike many other ebook readers using the ePub file format (Ed. note: Adobe also makes ePub), consumers will not be able to access ePub content with Apple's DRM technology on devices made by other manufacturers. And without Flash support, iPad users will not be able to access the full range of web content, including over 70% of games and 75% of video on the web.
Obviously, that's a lot of tech talk, that many of us, including me, don't totally understand. But it's worth wondering if consumers will flock to a device that, despite its high resolution screen, can't handle content from Hulu, Disney, or gaming site Miniclip, let alone screen much digital advertising, which is an issue I posted about yesterday. I admit, I've been researching the iPad not only for blog posts but with an eye toward purchase; the family unit has been mulling whether to buy Amazon's Kindle, while simultaneously wondering if we should get a netbook. The iPad seemed to fit both needs until I stumbled across this, well, flaw. Now, my attitude has shifted to wait-and-see.

There is a flip side to this: many sites are moving to HTML5, the latest version of hypertext markup language, which will obviate the need for Flash at all. But that's not done yet. In the meantime, watch for this to continue as an issue that will make many of us pause before we purchase and should make print media companies wonder if the Apple iPad can really fit the role of savior after all.

Previous coverage of the Apple iPad at BNET Media: