Alex Lindsay, Flash, H.264, iPhone, MacBreak, Merlin Mann, podcast

The Big Flash Flush


The iPhone is not even two days old and it has already has had an impact on millions of web sites. The decision to not support Flash was seen as a mistake until YouTube announced that it was converting some of its content to Quicktime H.264. It’s easy to forget that most sites only use Flash because it’s a widely available browser plug-in. Because of iTune, Quicktime is also very prevalent. Plus, the fact that H.264 provides better encoding for large (i.e. HD) videos, makes it a great platform for the future.

On the Sathurday June 30th edition of MacBreakWeekly (recorded the Previous day only 2 hours after the iPhone had been available), producer Alex Lindsay mentioned that many clients were enquiring about how to “get rid of Flash” and make their web sites “iPhone ready”. I think everyone wants access to iPhone users demographic: early adopters with available disposable income and hungry content to play on the iPhone (music, video, audio-books, applets, services, etc..). Just imagine what sophisticated spammers will be able to do now…

Don’t hold your breath for Adobe to fight the Flash battle. This technology was acquired from Macromedia and Adobe already has an undisputed place as purveyor of media creation tools (you know, the software that actually brings them money).

I think that video on the iPhone and the need for higher quality video clips on the web will make Flash video less and less important as a distribution platform. Of course, it won’t disappear, but its use could drop significantly. If websites and browsers can migrate from GIF to JPEGs an PNG (a far more disruptive change), they can also go from Flash to H.264.


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