Flash has failed.

Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash) was introduced to the world in 1996.  This is the multimedia platform that brought browser based gaming and video to their current massive popularity.  It’s hard to imagine that YouTube would have exploded without the ubiquity of Flash.  Curiously, YouTube was also one of the first betrayers.

In 2007 YouTube started converting videos to Apple’s preferred H.264 format and distanced itself away from the Flash encoder.  Ironically, this was made possible by Adobe’s acceptance of h.264 codec in flash.  YouTube started using the new format so that Apple could more efficiently use the videos on its AppleTV and soon to be released iPhone devices. 

The only thing that could have forced Apple to accept flash was video.  Now with YouTube available in an alternative format, Apple could boldly strike the first blow against Flash.  The iPhone could be released without Flash.  Apple’s attack on Adobe was clear.

Today, with the release of the iPad, Apple strikes another mortal blow to the Flash platform.  The iPad is the logical conclusion to the success of the iPhone.  People enjoy the applications and video features of the iPhone so much that Apple has designed a device just for those purposes.  It’s a giant iPhone without the phone, and size is important.

The large format of the iPad allows of easy viewing of video content.  Netflix, ESPN, and ABC will have apps to view their content on the iPad.  Many news web sites such as CNN are adopting non-Flash methods for video delivery such as HTML5. Flash’s dominance in the video market is dying.

Apple has repeated stated that they dislike Flash because it is inefficient and insecure.  Most computer experts would agree with these points.  Since its beginnings, Flash has had this reputation.  Apple’s real concern with Flash, however, is just as obvious.  Flash is a multimedia platform that could distribute powerful applications for mobile devices without using Apple’s application service.  If allowed, users could use Flash applications through the browser instead of purchasing similar applications through the Apple app store.  Web based applications, such as those built by Flash, are the only real competition to the applications available through the app store. 

Apple uses unique, brilliant hardware to capture entire markets.  The iPod captured the music market.  The iPhone/iPad devices will capture the mobile application market.

The next logical step is to take control of Internet based delivery of all video.  Why pay your cable company when you can get all of your audio and video content from Apple?  A redesigned AppleTV could be Apple’s next weapon?

Will Apple attack the cable companies like they have attacked Flash?

Stay tuned. 

More feature disappointments for the new version of Apple TV.

No Video Playlists.

One of the amazing features on the audio side of Apple TV is the ability to play audio playlists. Select a playlist full of songs and you can listen all day. Why not the same for video?

A local wine company displays a video of visits to the wine country using the Apple TV. Shouldn’t they be able to have a playlists of videos from multiple trips running? I would love to have a continuous run of music videos, for example.

Obviously, this is something that can be updated in future revisions.

No Sharing.

Oh, if you have more than one Apple TV, you are not going to be able to share rented content between them. If you rent something on your Apple TV, that content is locked to that device. You can not bounce it back to iTunes or transfer it to any other device.

If you rent it on iTunes, you can bounce it where you need it. Just remember that iTunes rentals will be lower quality than direct-to-device rentals.

The initial version of Time Capsule will not allow streaming directly to Apple TV. It is uncertain if this will be something that will be allowed in future versions or not.

Despite direct to device renting available, Apple TV continues to be dependent on iTunes for synchronization. If (and it’s a big if) the Time Capsule can be used as network storage, it should be theoretically possible to use it to store the iTunes library externally.

External drive (air disk) -> computer with iTunes -> Apple TV

However, most people agree that currently iTunes does not handle network shares smoothly or consistently.

The dream of dumping all the media on an external device and using it without an additional box is still a far dream away.