喬伯斯的那封信

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Apple has a long relationship with Adobe. In fact, we met Adobe’s founders when they were in their proverbial garage. Apple was their first big customer, adopting their Postscript language for our new Laserwriter printer. Apple invested in Adobe and owned around 20% of the company for many years. The two companies worked closely together to pioneer desktop publishing and there were many good times. Since that golden era, the companies have grown apart. Apple went through its near death experience, and Adobe was drawn to the corporate market with their Acrobat products. Today the two companies still work together to serve their joint creative customers – Mac users buy around half of Adobe’s Creative Suite products – but beyond that there are few joint interests.

I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Adobe’s Flash products so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues. Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true. Let me explain.

First, there’s “Open”.

Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc. While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.

Apple has many proprietary products too. Though the operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open. Rather than use Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript – all open standards. Apple’s mobile devices all ship with high performance, low power implementations of these open standards. HTML5, the new web standard that has been adopted by Apple, Google and many others, lets web developers create advanced graphics, typography, animations and transitions without relying on third party browser plug-ins (like Flash). HTML5 is completely open and controlled by a standards committee, of which Apple is a member.

Apple even creates open standards for the web. For example, Apple began with a small open source project and created WebKit, a complete open-source HTML5 rendering engine that is the heart of the Safari web browser used in all our products. WebKit has been widely adopted. Google uses it for Android’s browser, Palm uses it, Nokia uses it, and RIM (Blackberry) has announced they will use it too. Almost every smartphone web browser other than Microsoft’s uses WebKit. By making its WebKit technology open, Apple has set the standard for mobile web browsers.

Second, there’s the “full web”.

Adobe has repeatedly said that Apple mobile devices cannot access “the full web” because 75% of video on the web is in Flash. What they don’t say is that almost all this video is also available in a more modern format, H.264, and viewable on iPhones, iPods and iPads. YouTube, with an estimated 40% of the web’s video, shines in an app bundled on all Apple mobile devices, with the iPad offering perhaps the best YouTube discovery and viewing experience ever. Add to this video from Vimeo, Netflix, Facebook, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ESPN, NPR, Time, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, People, National Geographic, and many, many others. iPhone, iPod and iPad users aren’t missing much video.

Another Adobe claim is that Apple devices cannot play Flash games. This is true. Fortunately, there are over 50,000 games and entertainment titles on the App Store, and many of them are free. There are more games and entertainment titles available for iPhone, iPod and iPad than for any other platform in the world.

Third, there’s reliability, security and performance.

Symantec recently highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009. We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash. We have been working with Adobe to fix these problems, but they have persisted for several years now. We don’t want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash.

In addition, Flash has not performed well on mobile devices. We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it. Adobe publicly said that Flash would ship on a smartphone in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. We think it will eventually ship, but we’re glad we didn’t hold our breath. Who knows how it will perform?

Fourth, there’s battery life.

To achieve long battery life when playing video, mobile devices must decode the video in hardware; decoding it in software uses too much power. Many of the chips used in modern mobile devices contain a decoder called H.264 – an industry standard that is used in every Blu-ray DVD player and has been adopted by Apple, Google (YouTube), Vimeo, Netflix and many other companies.

Although Flash has recently added support for H.264, the video on almost all Flash websites currently requires an older generation decoder that is not implemented in mobile chips and must be run in software. The difference is striking: on an iPhone, for example, H.264 videos play for up to 10 hours, while videos decoded in software play for less than 5 hours before the battery is fully drained.

When websites re-encode their videos using H.264, they can offer them without using Flash at all. They play perfectly in browsers like Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome without any plugins whatsoever, and look great on iPhones, iPods and iPads.

Fifth, there’s Touch.

Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers. For example, many Flash websites rely on “rollovers”, which pop up menus or other elements when the mouse arrow hovers over a specific spot. Apple’s revolutionary multi-touch interface doesn’t use a mouse, and there is no concept of a rollover. Most Flash websites will need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices. If developers need to rewrite their Flash websites, why not use modern technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript?

Even if iPhones, iPods and iPads ran Flash, it would not solve the problem that most Flash websites need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices.

Sixth, the most important reason.

Besides the fact that Flash is closed and proprietary, has major technical drawbacks, and doesn’t support touch based devices, there is an even more important reason we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. We have discussed the downsides of using Flash to play video and interactive content from websites, but Adobe also wants developers to adopt Flash to create apps that run on our mobile devices.

We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.

This becomes even worse if the third party is supplying a cross platform development tool. The third party may not adopt enhancements from one platform unless they are available on all of their supported platforms. Hence developers only have access to the lowest common denominator set of features. Again, we cannot accept an outcome where developers are blocked from using our innovations and enhancements because they are not available on our competitor’s platforms.

Flash is a cross platform development tool. It is not Adobe’s goal to help developers write the best iPhone, iPod and iPad apps. It is their goal to help developers write cross platform apps. And Adobe has been painfully slow to adopt enhancements to Apple’s platforms. For example, although Mac OS X has been shipping for almost 10 years now, Adobe just adopted it fully (Cocoa) two weeks ago when they shipped CS5. Adobe was the last major third party developer to fully adopt Mac OS X.

Our motivation is simple – we want to provide the most advanced and innovative platform to our developers, and we want them to stand directly on the shoulders of this platform and create the best apps the world has ever seen. We want to continually enhance the platform so developers can create even more amazing, powerful, fun and useful applications. Everyone wins – we sell more devices because we have the best apps, developers reach a wider and wider audience and customer base, and users are continually delighted by the best and broadest selection of apps on any platform.

Conclusions.

Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.

The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 200,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games.

New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.

Steve Jobs
April, 2010

中譯

論閃

我公司與泥土屋社之交久矣。蓋泥土屋社於車庫草創之初,于即往視之,為君子交。我公司林檎社,為彼之首位貴客焉;于嘗購入後書語文,為本社之激光打印機用,亦嘗挹注泥土屋,長年持彼逾二成之股份。兩社提攜並進,並為桌面出版之先驅。美好時光,歷歷在目,然光陰荏苒,白駒過隙,昔年兄弟之誼不再,如今分道揚鑣。我公司嘗陷九死一生之境,彼當時則以空中飛人開疆闢土,今二社雖同以服務麥克電腦用戶為己任,蓋麥克電腦用戶,皆購買逾半泥土屋社套裝軟件也,然彼利之所在,非于之大義也。

僅記論閃寥寥數言,俾使買家論者得一窺我公司唉奉、唉帕、唉佩三者不允閃之緣由。泥土屋社妄言,吾人不允閃,乃欲保護欸普斯多阿,純因利益考量;然,非本公司不為也,實因技術問題而不能也。泥土屋社亦稱吾人為封閉系統,閃則開放,實則不然。以下分點敘之。

開放第一

閃者,泥土屋之囊中物也。他人僅能往從泥土屋取之,亦僅泥土屋,有決定閃之未來功能暨價格之權。縱然閃用之者眾,但一日閃為泥土屋所持之物,仍非開放焉。識者可知,閃,封閉系統耳。

我公司亦有眾多封閉系統,唉奉、唉帕、唉佩之作業系統,皆為封閉也。然,我公司以為,網頁技術當從開放之標準,此故,我公司不採閃,而採超文本伍、西耶斯耶斯暨爪哇文等開放標準。我公司之行動裝置,皆提供為上述公開標準所設計之高效率、低耗能之實作。林檎社、榖歌社暨眾多商社,均已往從超文本伍標準,供網頁開發賢達無需如閃者之額外瀏覽器插件,即可展現繽紛奪目之寫真、酣暢淋漓之書道暨行雲流水之動畫。超文本伍非一人之標準,為全然開放,由公開之委員會訂之,我公司亦為其中一員。

我公司實乃開放標準之締造者。林檎社嘗著手一開放程式碼計畫,曰:未勃起,為一開放全部原始碼之超文本伍排版引擎,傻發力暨眾多瀏覽器核心者也。榖歌社之安卓伊用之,胖母用之,挪雞鴨用之,黑莓亦跟進。蓋除微軟外,其餘坊間智慧手機之瀏覽器,核心皆為未勃起也。因未勃起之開放,我公司締造行動網頁瀏覽器之開放標準也。

完整網頁第二

泥土屋社妄稱,因天下網頁影片,七成五為閃之格式,此故,我公司之行動裝置無從瀏覽天下網頁之所有完整內容。謬論耳!彼所欺瞞之事實,乃網頁影片中,泰半有其新格式之檔案,唉奉、唉帕暨唉佩可播放之。新格式何謂耶?唉取點貳陸肆者。蓋天下十分網路影片,四分你水管存之,取任一我公司之行動裝置,即可見一綁定安裝之應用程序,可播放你水管影片,唉佩更為播放你水管影片之佼佼者。我公司之行動裝置,亦可播放維密歐、捏特非立刻斯、非死不可、欸畢西、西畢欸斯、欸母欸斯嗯畢西、福斯新聞、伊欸斯皮恩、恩皮阿兒、時代、紐約時報、華爾街日報、運動畫刊、時人雜誌、國家地理雜誌之影片也。本公司行動裝置之用戶,網路影片,無一不可得。

泥土屋社亦妄稱,我公司之行動裝置,無法用於閃之遊戲。善,確實不能,然我公司之欸普斯多阿,已有逾五萬套遊戲,從中不虞免費者。放眼四海,無一其他平台之遊戲之數,多於我公司之平台。

信賴、安全暨效能第三

日前賽門鐵克警之,閃為擁有西曆二千有九年最嚴重之系統安全記錄者之一;吾人亦知,閃為造成麥可電腦系統崩潰之問題之元兇。我公司嘗往洽泥土屋社,希冀可排除問題,然彼多年來依然故我迄今。貿然允許閃登上我公司平台,肇致我公司之唉奉、唉帕暨唉佩邊防大開,非于所願矣。

閃於行動裝置之效能亦不彰。我公司頻頻懇洽泥土屋社,祈請彼展示閃於行動裝置上之效能,表現良好者,多年來不得一見。泥土屋社嘗宣稱,可於西曆二千有九年初推出行動裝置版本之閃,又改稱於二千有九年下旬,再稱可於二千一十年上旬推出,現又改稱為二千一十年下旬。于謂,行動裝置版本之閃,終將可得,然我公司未為此屏息以待,萬幸焉-彼之效能,孰人可知?

電池壽命第四

若欲以行動裝置播放影片,電池持久不損,必以硬件解碼也。若以軟件為之,則迅速消耗電池。現世之先進行動裝置,接裝載一可解碼唉取點貳陸肆影片之晶片,此為現世之工業標準也-眾多藍光牴維牴播放器用之,我公司用之,榖歌之你水管用之,維密歐、捏特非立刻斯等,亦用之。

閃日前已添加唉取點貳陸肆之支援,然坊間眾多閃網頁,仍採陳舊之編碼技術,無從由硬件解碼,僅可由軟件為之。此一差異,影響行動裝置甚鉅-蓋唉奉之電力,可播放唉取點貳陸肆影片逾十小時,然以軟件解碼,則電池於五小時內耗竭。

若現今之網頁,可將影片轉換為唉取點貳陸肆格式,瀏覽器無需閃即能播放焉。我公司之傻發力,榖歌之可羅母,均有播放之能力,且由唉奉、唉帕暨唉佩播放,效果更令人稱奇。

觸控第五

閃者,為接有滑鼠之個人電腦設計,非為以人指觸控之介面設計也。坊間眾多採閃之網頁設計,均需用戶移動滑鼠之特定位置,才可顯示選單。兄弟所獨創之多點觸控介面,既無滑鼠,亦無移動滑鼠指標之觀念,此故,現今網頁多需改寫,方可追趕觸控介面之趨勢。改寫網頁,既為必然,何不改採超文本五、西耶斯耶斯暨爪哇文等尖端科技耶?

若推出可用於唉奉、唉帕暨唉佩之閃,亦不改眾多網頁必須改寫,方可符合觸控介面所需之根本事實。

系統發展第六

如前所述,閃之問題重重-既為封閉系統,亦有技術缺陷,且不符合觸控介面所需,然之所以不允閃者,有一更重大之緣由。除前述網頁所採之閃之問題外,現欲論者,為泥土屋社亦企圖以閃,製作開發我公司行動平台之應用程序之第三方開發工具之問題。

識者可鑑,若平台與開發者間,存一第三方軟件中介,其結果必為肇致大批二流軟件,並妨礙平台之進步發展。夫開發軟件時,僅採第三方之開發工具,便僅可獲得第三方開發工具之功能,而非平台之所有功能。亦即,第三方開發工具可擅自取奪軟件開發者可用之功能,對此一中介,不可不嚴厲視之。

若此一中介為跨平台開發工具,危害更甚。蓋此類第三方工具在某一平台至實作,僅採某該平台中,與其他平台互通之處,若不互通,棄之;於焉,軟件開發者可用之功能寥寥無幾。若一外力,干擾開發者與我公司之互動,排除開發者於我公司之獨門先進科技之外,不可忍也。

閃者,即為為此類跨平台開發工具。泥土屋社之居心,非協助開發最優異之唉奉、唉帕暨唉佩軟件,乃功能侷限之跨平台軟件也。且泥土屋社之開發速度,緩如牛步,為本公司錐心之痛,本公司推出麥可歐欸斯十作業系統已十年之久,泥土屋社直至二週前推出之西欸斯伍,方以可可開發環境製作軟件焉。麥可歐欸斯十軟件,不計其數,之中,泥土屋社,最遲者也。跨平台之侷限,佐以遲緩之開發速度,若容許此一中介,我公司之先進技術,何時可至開發者手中耶?

于心之所嚮往者,乃使開發者獲致最先進尖端之平台,創造前所未見之應用程序。我公司之平台百尺竿頭、日新又新,開發者之應用程序乃愈益可觀。我公司因有最佳之應用程序,裝置銷售欣欣向榮,因使用者眾,隨之擴展開發者之軟件市場,用戶亦可從無數選擇中,挑選應用程序,從而締造三贏局面也。

尾聲

閃者,個人電腦時代產物,其根本為個人電腦及滑鼠之窠臼也。閃為泥土屋社之成功產品,其因之欲意移植至個人電腦外之平台,不言自明;然,行動裝置之時代,乃一低電量、觸控介面暨開放網頁標準之時代,世界潮流,浩浩蕩蕩,順之者昌,逆之者亡,閃之與時代脫節,久矣。

大眾傳媒為我公司之行動裝置提供之圖文內容,紛至沓來,足可見以閃觀看影片或網頁之需,無足輕重。又,欸普斯多阿共有二十萬套應用程序,亦可見上萬開發者無需閃,即可創造豐富之應用程序與遊戲。

行動裝置時代之開放標準,諸如超文本伍,終將在行動裝置與個人電腦上勝出。泥土屋社與其以古非今,以時代脫節之眼光妄議本公司,實應放眼未來,著手超文本伍之相關工具。

史帝夫.夾不死頓首

西曆二千一十年四月

出處:Thoughts on Flash

Khai Suan

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