Oh dear. Jobs stuck the knife in and gave it a good twist when demonstrating the NY times website on the iPad yesterday.
Notice the broken plugin links? The iPad doesn’t support flash, and undoubtedly won’t support flash in the future. Unless forced to, which is at ‘best’ a few years away. I wouldn’t bet on it happening, if iPad is a huge success (and it might be) it could even force Flash from the mainstream web.
For those of us suffering the ignominy of working in advertising, this matters. When we say banner, we hope to mean ‘rich media banner’, and by that we mean a flash file. The broken links in the NY times weren’t newspaper content, they were ads.
If you visit a site on the iPad, all the flash banners (meaning all the expensive ads) won’t play. Nice for the user! Not so nice for the media planner.
I watched the whole keynote (stayed up too late) and fell off my chair only once: at the time I least expected to: when Apple announced the price. At that price Apple is going to sell a scary amount of these things. Apple sold 8.7 million iPhones, 21 million iPods, and 3.3 million macs in the last quarter. I’ll stick my d##k in the mashed potatoes and guess they’ll sell over 10 million iPads this year. That’s a sizeable target audience for marketing to, given they’ll all be at least reasonably affluent early adopters or impressionable teenagers with lots of pocket money.
“But no!” you say. “Flash has too much traction, they’ll have to bow to popular pressure”.
But… pressure from who? There are 3 other big companies in mobile device OS’s:
Google: no love for Flash. Their willingness to produce a non-Flash version of Youtube tells all.
Microsoft have their own competitor to Flash: Silverlight. They’d be quite happy to see Flash take a beating. I’d expect to see Silverlight as a development environment for their next generation of mobile devices.
Nokia: nope. With Symbian and Maemo on the go, Flash is a distraction Nokia could do without.
With friends like these, who needs enemies?
Ah well, time to modify our banner production formats. Next target: campaign sites.