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Old 08-27-2008, 04:36 PM
Jason Dunn
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Default Apple iPhone Ads in UK Declared Misleading

"Apple has come under scrutiny on its iPhone 3G for false advertising, and now the Advertising Standards Authority, a UK ad group, has come forth to declare a specific television ad for the touch-based smartphone to be misleading to consumers."

Above is the ad in question, and while I'm not normally a fan of the Eurocratic system of slapping fines on every company they can find, it's pretty easy to see their point here: Apple makes some very bold claims about having the best browsing experience on a mobile device, but that browsing experience comes to a screeching halt as soon as you hit any Web site that uses Flash - and many of them do. These commercials fail to mention that. They also fail to highlight that nothing happens that quickly on a 3G network, but that might be splitting hairs. Java is also mentioned, but I can count the number of times I see the Sun JVM fire up on my PC on one hand - and it's almost always when I'm uploading photos on Smugmug. Is Java on a phone really needed for Web browsing? I don't think it is.

So why did Apple leave Flash out of the iPhone, even in the second generation product? This article has some insights, but I suspect the truth is somewhere along the lines of Adobe wanted "x" amount in royalties off every iPhone sold, and Apple balked at that. That's just my guess mind you, but the iPhone has a lot of power under the hood so I find it likely that the blocking point here is business negotiations, not a technological limitation.

Adobe has fumbled the ball for years on mobile devices. Their model on the desktop has been giving away the player for free to encourage developer adoption of Flash, which in turns sells all their commercial Flash development tools - and we've seen how that's worked out extremely well. For reasons of short-sighted profit, they turned that around on the mobile device side of things: they seem to want licensing fees to put Flash on any mobile phone. And that's the reason why to this day we haven't seen any great Flash implementations on a Windows Mobile device. Maybe there's an opportunity here for Microsoft to steal some Flash thunder with Silverlight? If they released Silverlight clients for the iPhone and Windows Mobile, they'd give Flash developers a viable alternative for mobile device playback?

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Old 08-27-2008, 05:06 PM
Join Date: May 2008
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The ASA banned an ad for the first generation iPhone that will never air again from ever airing again. Mercifully, they will henceforth protect the two complainants from being misled that "all parts" only means "all standard parts".
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Old 08-27-2008, 05:27 PM
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Certainly not Apple's fault -- flash is not by any means a w3c standard.

The fault rests somewhat with the site developers -- if they want to reach mobile users they should at least provide a version that works with mobile browsers.

And this can be accomplished by following the standards -- you don't need flash any more than you should need java to accomplish a decent mobile-ready site.

The whiz-bangery of flash is nice, but it should _always_ be optional -- not required to make the site functional.
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Old 08-27-2008, 06:09 PM
Felix Torres
Join Date: Nov 2006
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This is hardly the first time the Brits (and aussies) have slapped down Apple's deceptive ad practices. Too bad they didn't fine them this time, like they did with the "Mac as supercomputer" ads. Just wish the FCC were this good in the US; Apple loves to push the envelope well beyond the line, and they get away with murder.

We really need stronger deceptive advertising laws in the US.
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Old 08-27-2008, 06:18 PM
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OOOH BUT WAIT!!! apple is not done making todays news...

can we get this on the main page to discus? my hot knife is ready and waiting!
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Old 08-27-2008, 06:23 PM
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I guess then they should declare iPhone ads in India as plain fraud... Read this:
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Old 08-27-2008, 06:26 PM
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I agree with soho_1, this ad is already outdated. Apple loses nothing by agreeing to no longer air it.

In so much that there are no pre-defined "parts" of the internet, and the fact that the narrator refers to these parts in a colloquial manner, I am surprised that Apple did not challenge this more. Perhaps the fact that the ad would be replaced with iPhone 3G ads made their decision easier.

As far as flash lite goes, I have yet to see a WM device demonstrate it so that it works both well and with stability to the browser in question. I have seen it twice and it led to crashes of the browser the person was using. I was never feeling like it was necessary to my iPhone use. I have even seen the two sites that I view regularly that used flash be redesigned to have a non-flash design, thus making viewing with mobile Safari that much better. This is the sort of trend that would bite Adobe in the backside if they do not quickly reconsider the stand they have taken regarding licensing their product. If it could work like on the desktop, though, I would really like to have it on my mobile device.

Jason referenced the 3G speeds as well. I have found much variability using the iPhone 3G. Sometimes 3G is slower than EDGE ever was, but then there are times like last weekend in Saskatoon when we were downloading Youtube videos at wi-fi speeds. It was amazing. On a side note, I experienced a technorgasmic event using the GPS on the iPhone 3G. Keeping in mind that the only thing with GPS I have ever had was my Garmin Forerunner, seeing the pulsating blue orb on Google Maps moving along the roads we were traveling on was too cool. Helpful as well, and along with the Box Office app for the iPhone it actually made my non-geeky wife say, "Wow, this thing really is cool!"

It doesn't get any better for a geek, my friends.
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Old 08-27-2008, 08:45 PM
Rocco Augusto
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Originally Posted by burtcom View Post
Certainly not Apple's fault -- flash is not by any means a w3c standard.
As much as I agree with you, and dislike Flash and entire websites built out of them, Apple claims to give users a desktop-like browsing experience and falls incredibly short of doing. If this was a true desktop-like experience as they claim, they would allow you view Flash based sites or at least allow Adobe to create a Flash based plugin.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:29 PM
Brad Adrian
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I'm not an attorney (and I don't play one on TV), but I've done a fair amount of market research internationally, especially advertising and commercial testing. The laws in places like Western Europe and India are MUCH more strict about the kinds of claims you can make in an advert, to say nothing of the cultural taboos against making too-bold or unsubstantiated claims. The US may be the most litigious country on the planet, but I've been surprised by how strong the "truth in advertising" pressures are elsewhere.
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Old 08-27-2008, 11:56 PM
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Oh what fun, it is to bash, an iPhone e-very-day! (sung to 'Jingle Bells')

But kidding aside, the iPhone really is easily made fun of from a Pocket PC user perspective. The thing has a slick, slidey interface. WOOT! That's all. Every. Other. Thing. It. Does. Can be done in spades by a PPC with one hand tied behind it's little metaphorical back. And so much more it's laughable! The iPhone is the iPod and the Bic lighter and the Levi jean and the VW Beatle and the bottle of Coke and blah blah blah. It's pretty. So are a thousand other phones.

The one thing I'll grant the iPhone in terms of actual, measurable superiority, is the screen's beauty. They chose an amazingly clear, bright screen, that just works so well in almost any sort of light it's scary. If only we could convince the PPC OEMs to wake up and smell the brilliant screen, iPhone sales would likely slack off quite radically. The screen's prettiness stands out from a country mile.

But no Flash? No YouTube to go with the slick 'unlimited' 3G contract? No Java website access (loads of secure sites rely on Java rather heavily... so it's back to 2001 with PPC's Pocket IE it would seem for the iPhone, at least for banking etc.)? That's just nuts. Last I heard, Adobe were thinking of something like $7 - $10 per device, but then again that wasn't direct from the horse's mouth, so maybe more. Seems even if it were $20 it'd be worth the hit in terms of making users happy, accessing all that nifty bloated multi-media stuff we're all being force fed on practically every second site we visit these days. I've stopped bothering even worrying about alternate site versions for PPC use. Just too irritating. If a site bails, I mail myself the link for later and eventually get around to checking it on a PC, if it still seems relevant, which more often than not it doesn't. Delete. Bye bye.
Gerard Ivan Samija
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