July 06, 2011, 9:55 AM — As part of the 30 Days With the iPad experiment, I thought it only fair to examine just how crucial Adobe Flash is, and whether it makes any notable difference in the ability of the iPad to function as a replacement for my notebook.
"Yeah--but, it doesn't have Flash!" It is the mantra of anti-iPad sentiment; a rallying cry for those opposed to the iOS mobile platform; a poster child for what is wrong with Apple mobile devices. But, aside from being an easy sound bite to throw around on Twitter or in forum comments, does it really matter?
To answer the question, it seems reasonable to start by considering what I need to use my PC for. I use email and social networking a lot. I rely on a word processor for typing articles like this one. I need it to have a Web browser. I like to play music while I work. The iPad seems to function just fine without Flash for those tasks.
Obviously, the debatable aspect of that list is the Web browsing. Your mileage will vary greatly depending on how you use the Web, and the specific sites you visit. Adobe Flash has been a staple of Web development for some time--almost to the point of being a standard of sorts. I won't debate that Flash is pervasive on the Web. I will debate just how much that matters, though.
I realize that there are passionate views on this topic, and I am sure to start some sort of zealous firestorm with this statement, but I just don't miss Flash on iOS. I have never missed Flash on iOS. I have been using the iPad since the day it launched, and I can count on one hand the number of times the lack of Flash has impacted me, and that impact was minimal because I either discovered that the resource had an iOS app that solved the problem, or I just moved on and found an equivalent resource to do the same thing.
I put the question out on Twitter to 16,000-plus followers and got only a few responses. One person pointed out that without Flash you can't view the video content on the CNBC or CNN websites. That is true, and if there is breaking news, or you just want to use the iPad to keep up with the news, that could be a blackmark on the iPad as PC replacement.