You may have thought you knew exactly what Steve Jobs thought about Adobe Flash considering he wrote a 1,700-word blog post on it back in April. But today at the D8 Conference outside of Los Angeles, he made himself a little bit more clear. He said that Flash is the latest in a string of technologies heading towards the end of its life.
Jobs said that many technologies live in cycles — they have a Summer, and then go to the grave. Apple likes to choose technologies that are just in their Spring time, Jobs noted. Of course, he’s implying that Flash is not one of those technologies. And that instead, it too will soon be in the grave.
And Jobs said that this removal of Flash was simply the latest in a series of moves Apple has always taken to stay ahead of the curve. They got rid of the 3.5″ floppy, for example, despite making it popular in the first place. They also got rid of serial and parallel ports before the rest of the industry in favor of USB. And then with the MacBook Air, they got rid of optical drives. “When we do this, sometimes people call us crazy,” Jobs noted.
“Sometimes you have to pick the right horses. Flash looks like it had its day but it’s waning. And HTML5 looks like it’s coming up,” Jobs said.
Jobs then reiterated that no mobile phones are yet shipping with Flash. When Walt Mossberg said that soon they would be, Jobs quipped that they’ve been hearing that same thing for two or three years.
When Mossberg brought up the “holes” in the Internet without Flash, Jobs said those were quickly being filled — and that most of those were just ads anyway. Jobs said that Adobe had a chance to get Flash on their devices, but came up short. So they’ve moved on.
Jobs did say that if the market tells them they’re making bad choices, they’ll change. But so far, that isn’t happening. “People seem to be liking the iPad,” Jobs said to laughs and applause. “We’ve sold one every three seconds since we launched it,” he added.