Adobe CTO on Flash's Effect on Battery Life, Apple's Negative Campaigning

152427 flash player installer

In its review of the new 11-inch MacBook Air published last week, Ars Technica noted that the battery life of the machine takes a substantial hit when browsing sites with Adobe's Flash Player enabled, pointing to the prevalence of CPU-heavy Flash ads in use on the Internet.

Having Flash installed can cut battery runtime considerably - as much as 33 percent in our testing. With a handful of websites loaded in Safari, Flash-based ads kept the CPU running far more than seemed necessary, and the best time I recorded with Flash installed was just 4 hours. After deleting Flash, however, the MacBook Air ran for 6:02 - with the exact same set of websites reloaded in Safari, and with static ads replacing the CPU-sucking Flash versions.

The difference has gained much attention due to the MacBook Air's limited battery capacity, the ongoing dispute between Apple and Adobe over Flash, and Apple's decision to ship the new MacBook Air without Flash Player pre-installed, a change coming to all of the company's Mac products.

Fast Company spoke with Adobe Chief Technology Office Kevin Lynch about the MacBook Air news and the broader dispute over Flash, and Lynch argued that it makes perfect sense that displaying Flash content would utilize more battery power than not displaying it. Lynch also claimed that displaying the same content in Apple-supported HTML5 technology would use as much or more battery power than in Flash.

"It's a false argument to make, of the power usage," Lynch explains. "When you're displaying content, any technology will use more power to display, versus not displaying content. If you used HTML5, for example, to display advertisements, that would use as much or more processing power than what Flash uses."

Lynch said several studies have already confirmed Flash's higher battery life, and also argued that HTML5 had far less reliable playback.

Lynch went on to focus on the "negative campaigning" against Adobe's Flash technology, taking aim at Apple for "inciting" the movement, calling Apple's choice to cut off access to Flash content for its iOS users "hurtful" to Adobe and Flash developers and "counter to [Adobe's] values".

"I just think there's this negative campaigning going on, and, for whatever reason, Apple is really choosing to incite it, and condone it," Lynch says. "I think that's unfortunate. We don't think it's good for the web to have aspects closed off--a blockade of certain types of expression. There's a decade of content out there that you just can't view on Apple's device, and I think that's not only hurtful to Adobe, but hurtful to everyone that created that content."

For its part, Adobe is looking at how to accommodate the growing presence of HTML5 content on the Internet, recently offering a demo of a tool that would allow developers to easily port much of their Flash content to HTML5.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Related Forum: MacBook Air

Popular Stories

iOS 18 Mock iPhone 16 Feature Gray

Revealed: iOS 18 Works With These iPhone Models

Monday June 10, 2024 3:57 am PDT by
iOS 18 will be compatible with the same iPhone models as iOS 17, according to a post on X today from a private account with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS updates. iOS 18 will be compatible with the iPhone XR, and hence also the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models with the same A12 Bionic chip, but older iPhone models will miss out. Here is the full...
ios 18 tile summary

Apple Announces iOS 18 With New Customization Features, Redesigned Photos App, and More

Monday June 10, 2024 10:17 am PDT by
Apple today previewed iOS 18, the next major update to the operating system for the iPhone, with new customization features, a redesigned Photos app, and more. iOS 18 features new customization tools for the Home Screen. App icons now feature Dark Mode and users can tint them with a color to create a unique look. Apps can also now be placed anywhere on the Home Screen freely. The Control...
WWDC24 Live Coverage Article

WWDC 2024 Apple Event Live Keynote Coverage: iOS 18, Apple's AI Push, and More

Monday June 10, 2024 9:20 am PDT by
Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) starts today with the traditional keynote kicking things off at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. MacRumors is on hand for the event and we'll be sharing details and our thoughts throughout the day. We're expecting to see a number of software-related announcements with a focus on Apple's efforts to infuse AI throughout its operating systems and apps....
iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

Massive iPhone Upgrade Coming This Week But These Devices Will Miss Out

Sunday June 9, 2024 1:25 pm PDT by
Apple is planning a major AI overhaul in iOS 18, with a feature set it is referring to as "Apple Intelligence." However, these new features will not work on older iPhones, even if they do appear on the new operating system's device compatibility list. Apple's initial AI roadmap for iOS 18 is said to come in two parts: Basic AI features that will be processed on-device, and more advanced...
Next Gen CarPlay WWDC24 1

Apple Provides Updated Look at Next-Generation CarPlay at WWDC 2024

Monday June 10, 2024 7:11 pm PDT by
Apple today shared a few WWDC 2024 coding sessions related to its upcoming next-generation CarPlay system ahead of its launch later this year. The sessions include lots of updated next-generation CarPlay images, with one revealing new Vehicle, Media, and Climate apps in action for the first time. MacRumors previously discovered evidence of these apps in the iOS 17.4 beta. Next-generation...
m3 macbook air purple

Amazon Introduces Record Low Prices on Every M3 MacBook Air

Sunday June 9, 2024 7:57 am PDT by
On Friday we tracked new all-time low prices on the 13-inch M3 MacBook Air, and today Amazon has expanded this sale with record low prices on the 15-inch models as well. Thanks to these additional deals, every single model of the M3 MacBook Air is now available at an all-time low price. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may...