In the run up to the Christmas holiday, I got the distinct impression that my spouse wanted to get me an Apple iPad as a gift. It’s no secret that I’d love to have one and now that I’m actively developing iPhone applications, it might even become a business necessity. But the lack of Adobe Flash support on the iPad continues to dampen my enthusiasm for the device.
I don’t really have any immediate need for an iPad, but I began to think that my wife might actually make better use of one than I. The way she works with her MacBook around the house makes her more of a candidate for an iPad than an ebook reader like a Nook or Kindle. She’d been asking me which ereader she should get. I lean towards the Nook since I already have one and like the hackability that its Android OS basis provides. But my wife likes being able to do a lot of things at once. She’s a big multitasker and I’m sure I see her lugging about her laptop and the ereader before too long.
So I began to make plans for an iPad for her. An iPad would allow her to do many of the things she does with her MacBook, casually at least. Some light word processing, web browsing, and of course reading ebooks using the Kindle or Nook reader apps. But my plans came to a screeching halt once I remembered that Facebook and Facebook games are a big part of her computing use around the house too. So I started to dig.
It turns out that the iPad Facebook Experience is not too great. Follow the link for more details, but in a nutshell she won’t be able to play Wordscraper on an iPad. That’s a total deal breaker here. And if even a fraction of the 600 million account holders on Facebook play the Flash based games on the site regularly, that’s a lot of lost iPad sales. At this point I think Apple is leaving a giant hole open for Android based tablets that do support Flash to waltz right in and take a big chunk of a market Apple deserves a lot of credit for creating.
I think that 2011 is going to be the year that Apple finally allows Flash support in iOS. Android is catching up and in the tablet market in no small part due to the popularity of Facebook games, I can see the Flash issue being a big market stick to beat Apple with. We’re already starting to see this in ads for the Samsung Galaxy Tab and some of the Android smartphones that support Flash. Whatever the technical merits of Apple’s arguments against Flash, I can’t believe they are willing to leave money on the table.