Steve Jobs explains why there's no FarmVille on the iPad

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steve jobs explains why there's not FarmVille on iPadWhile the Apple iPad, along with the iPhone and iPod Touch, are great gaming devices, there are a ton of popular social and casual games, from FarmVille to Cafe World, that you can't play on any of those handhelds. Or, if you can, they're a version of the game that's not quite like the one on Facebook.

The reason is Adobe's Flash technology, which is used by Facebook and many other Web sites to run interactive games, play movies and music, or just create cool-looking interfaces. Because the Apple mobile operating system won't play Flash content, even if you used the iPad's built-in Web browser to visit FaceBook.com, you still wouldn't be able to play FarmVille (or most other FaceBook games).

Apple claims that Flash support would degrade the user experience, kill battery life, and leave devices vulnerable to security flaws.

After much sniping in the press and from fans on both sides, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has issued an extremely rare open letter, explain in his take on the controversy. He makes several good points, noting that Flash is not really a true "open" a platform, and playing Flash video can be a battery killer.

On the subject of gaming, however, he punts a bit, saying, "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."

We suppose that's technically true, but being restricted to just the games Apple approves for sale in its App Store is just as limiting as any of the potential issues with running Flash on your Apple device.

In the end, we don't see any immediate change to the status quo. If you want to play FarmVille on your iPad, you'll just have to wait for a dedicated App Store version to be released (just as PopCap did with Plants vs. Zombies and Bejeweled).

Here's the argument against Flash on the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, directly from Steve Jobs himself.

Thoughts on Flash
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.


Continue reading the Steve Jobs open letter at Apple.com.
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