Georgia really wants Flash support on the iPad, with the option to toggle it on and off as she so chooses, and I've said in the past I'd like a Flash Player app (Flash is technically more than just video, but 90% of the time people talk about wanting Flash they just want their videos.) But [stuff] like this really makes me question if I even want that. When OS X Lion debuted earlier this week, Adobe quickly blasted off a blog post saying Apple had killed hardware acceleration and Apple was to blame for poor Flash performance in Lion.

And fair enough. It's not like Apple provided a beta process, with a preview release in early June and a GM candidate several weeks ago. It's not like major developers like Adobe didn't have time or opportunity to get the beta, get it running on as many Macs as possible, and figure out any issues before the public release. Except they did. Three developer previews, and perhaps more given Apple's tradition of working closely with big software

The final release of Mac OS X Lion (10.7) provides the same support for Flash hardware video acceleration as Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6). The previous “Known Issue” described in a tech note suggesting that video hardware acceleration was disabled in Lion was incorrect and based on tests with a pre-release version of Mac OS X Lion that related to only one particular Mac GPU configuration. We continue to work closely with Apple to provide Flash Player users with a high quality experience on Mac computers.

"A" pre-release version, "only one particular Mac GPU configuration"?! And based on that they blast Apple in a blog post that gets wide pick up? Nice.

The retraction is classy but Adobe's failed to innovate or improve Flash for much of the last decade. It's the IE6 of plugins. In 2007 people complained about the lack of Flash on the iPhone and blamed Apple -- when there was no version of Flash that could run on the iPhone. Now, 4 years later, there's still no decent Flash for mobile, only various levels of beta that work only for Flash video, and even then are hit and miss at best (PlayBook and TouchPad both have serious firepower behind them and even they don't approach a consistently great user experience for Flash.)

So either the Flash technology is great and deserves to continue, and is just taking longer than anyone would like to get there, or it was a proprietary filler, like ActiveX, that was clumsy but useful, and has reached its limits. Either way, my advice to Adobe remains the same -- shut up. Stop bitching, stop blogging, and ship a great version of Flash for mobile. And for Mac. You've had a decade for the latter and almost half that for the former.

[Adobe blog]