I'm back from my blogging hiatus and was thinking more about the iPad and its lack of support for flash.
There have been a lot of good thoughts from both sides of this discussion and I want to highlight a few and add some thoughts.
Point #1. The iPad needs Flash to be successful.
The primary response to this point is that the iPhone has enjoyed success and it does not support Flash. This is a very valid point yet what I would counter with is the fact that the iPhone as a form factor does not lend itself to consuming long form video content as a primary use case.
Given that we are seeing great numbers of people using their PC to consume long form video content, mostly flash based, then it would stand to reason that a computing device that has targeted long form video consumption as a primary use case would support a standard to which the vast majority of content owners consider a standard for web based streaming video distribution.
So my point here is that it is Ok that the iPhone is not supporting flash, mainly because people do not expect it to and to be honest even if it did support flash I have doubts that the vast majority of iPhone consumers would spend any real time consuming streaming flash video.
It is however, given the primary use cases for the iPad, a harder pill to swallow since it does not support flash. I fully understand many of the reasons why it doesn't however I could have seen a ton of use cases where I or my wife or even my kids would have used the iPad to sit on the couch, in bed, etc and stream flash video to the iPad to watch shows.
Point #2 The iPad does not need to support flash because HTML 5 is around the corner
Now this is true that HTML 5 does hold a lot of potential with its ability to handle streaming video inherently in the browser. However it is risky to assume that this paradigm will shift from the content owners to all of a sudden either dump flash or create a HTML 5 alternative to those who don't have flash in order for them to consume their content.
The issue with flash is that it really is a CPU hog. In nearly every mainstream notebook or desktop I have the CPU fan turns on minutes into any flash stream and even sooner with an HD flash stream. This is a serious issue since that level of CPU power needed to play flash with drastically drain ones battery should it be in use not plugged in.
HTML 5 stands to assist in some of these problems by providing a lighter weight in browser player, not a plug in like flash, in order to handle streaming video feeds. This will not necessarily solve an underperformed CPU's ability to handle said stream but it will assist in making the streaming of a video less CPU intensive.
I would also not give up on Adobe's ability to make the next version of flash more lightweight. Given all the work they are doing with the Open Screen Project they are definitely learning how to accomplish a lighter full version of their product.
So that is why it is risky for Apple to not support flash without absolute certainty that the content industry will begin developing non flash based streaming solutions for their media.
As unlikely as it is I am still hope full that Apple will support Flash in the future with the iPad. It may drain the battery and it may crash the browser consistently but let's hope a collaboration between Apple and Adobe could make sense to both parties.