The iPhone and HTML5 – What’s Happening There?
There has been a fair amount of press concerning the new HTML5 standard and how it may impact video playback and rich web content as an alternative to Flash. HTML5 is supposed to be more efficient than Flash in terms of processing load. The testing is inconclusive but one area where HTML5 seems to be more embraced is with the iPhone.
One reason could be that using the least amount of processing power for a given application is very important. While the iPhone packs a lot of smarts into a small package, it certainly can’t compete with the processing power and graphics processing found in a full sized PC or Mac.
A clear indication of the iPhone’s move towards more HTML5 is demonstrated in the new YouTube app for iPhone. The new application allows iPhone users to browse and search for videos, access details of their account, and stream video playback without the Flash plugin.
Other video providers including CBS networks are reported to be developing players based on HTML5 for their streaming content.
So for these and other developers of iPhone apps, they have begun writing them for HTML5. Some of the acknowledged advantages of Flash such as better fonts, a game engine, and other high end graphics are not nearly so critical for the small screen in the iPhone.
And the efficiencies and flexibility they can achieve with HTML5 more than make up for some of these advantages found in Flash. And support for HTML5 versus Flash in the iPhone is strongly by Steve Jobs who felt that the slow and buggy flash plugin to the iPhone was due to “lazy” developers at Adobe.
It has also been reported that the use of Flash in iPhone applications would significantly impact battery life from 10 hours down to about 1.5 hours. If this is true, it is obviously a significant detriment to using Flash in a mobile device like the iPhone. Jobs is a very strong proponent for HTML5 and indicates it is absolutely the way to go for iPhone apps.
In defense, Adobe has stated that their upcoming Flash player version 10.1 will show great improvement on mobile applications and that they are also working on its performance with Mac OS X.
So while the debate ranges on whether Flash is superior to HTML5 or vice versa, development of iPhone apps for HTML5 are well established and continuing to grow strong.