Will the iPad be your show-maker or your show-stopper?


As the iPad formally launches today in the UK – as well as in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and Switzerland – expect your TV news to be full of images of queues at Apple stores in all of those countries.

If you use Twitter, you can expect an overwhelming number of tweets from people with “I got an iPad!” or similar throughout much of the day, too. The key word “ipad” isn’t yet a trending topic on Twitter but I bet it will be soon.

In short, you’ll have a hard time escaping news, commentary and opinion about iPad today. Another PR coup for Apple.

In spite of almost irresistible self-pressure, I’m not getting an iPad. Well, at least not yet. I had the pleasure of spending almost a week with one last week, thanks to the FT. The showstopper for me is simply that too many websites I would visit on the device run video that doesn’t work on the iPad – Apple won’t allow Adobe Flash on the iPad.

The BBC News website is one of those. It’s one of the few websites I actually do visit as opposed to only consuming news, etc, in my RSS reader. The prime reason is for the video content, both recorded and live.

None of it works on an iPad.


Still, that’s doesn’t seem to be an issue for many people. It is for me, though, until either Apple and Adobe sort themselves out or until services like the BBC offer video website content in a format that does work on Apple’s platforms and that doesn’t only require an app to make it all work.

Or until hell freezes over, whichever comes first.

All that said, I would imagine that the iPad will be a show maker for the vast majority of purchasers as plenty of video on the web is available in formats that do work on Apple mobile devices. Look at YouTube, for instance.

And see what’s likely to happen with the iPad in the workplace if the iPhone experience is any indicator, according to AT&T.

Four out of 10 sales of the iPhone are made to enterprise users. When the iPhone came out, what most people heard in the first year from ‘07 to ‘08 was oh my God, it’s not BlackBerry secure. This is not going to work on the enterprise space. […] enterprises today view the iPhone as a mobile computer. It happens to have a voice application on it. But what’s important is what you can do with it, and the way you can mobilize workforces, and specific parts of your workforce, not the entire workforce.

Yep, I reckon iPad will be a show-maker for millions of people, Adobe Flash or not.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Dan Thornton

    It's the reason that at Absolute Radio, we concentrated on having a fully compatible website for launch, rather than rushing to get an app out just to be there for the first day with something that might not get repeat usage…
    The larger screen over the iPhone means that web browsing for content is a viable, and in some ways preferable, method than apps for a lot of things.

  2. Robert Safuto

    I have had an iPad for a month and a half. It's easily the most widely used device in my house. In addition to myself my wife and my two very young daughters have used it. All of us have watched videos either via YouTube, Netflix, the ABC Player and even the Safari browser. Many websites, such as Wired and the Wall Street Journal publish video on their websites that support playback on the iPad. So I rarely notice the loss of the Flash functionality. I do watch BBC video using the BBC app which is very nice.

    The bottom line is that in spite of what Adobe would like us to believe you can have rich media experiences without Flash. In fact, the best part about no Flash is that it means fewer ads that slow down page loads. :)

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