The Death of Flash

flash-logo

Adobe Flash, released in 1996 brought with it animations, games and of course ads to a mostly static web. The technology was greeted with almost universal praise and adoption by developers and web surfers alike.   Nowadays the software tool has a less favoured reputation; it’s unable to run on most mobile devices, consumes high amounts of devices’ processing power and battery life – and then of course there are the many security issues around Flash.

The adoption of Flash has decreased throughout the years but its most noticeable set-back was arguably the unveiling of Apple’s iPhone, bringing with it a new world of mobile internet which left Adobe behind technically, despite their willingness to be included.

Steve Jobs published his Thoughts on Flash on April, 2010 detailing why Apple don’t and won’t allow Flash onto their hugely successful iPhone, iPad and iPod. His main reason being that the mobile era is all about low powered devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where ‘Flash falls short’.

In August 2015 Amazon announced it would no longer be accepting Flash ads on its website.  This week Google announced, from the 30th June 2016 it will stop accepting Flash ads on its AdWords and DoubleClick networks and from 2nd January 2017 it won’t display any Flash ads on Display Network or DoubleClick.    Google has stated “We’ve rolled out tools to encourage advertisers to use HTML5, so you can reach the widest possible audience across screens.”     This move is likely to be the killing blow for Adobe’s Flash platform, with Google being the most prominent web ad provider around.

Adobe itself has come around to support open web standards, now providing its own Flash-alternative, HTML5 tools, for developers to create HTML5 content for both desktop and mobile.

With the almost inevitable demise of Flash in sight and modern, mobile-friendly web standards likes HTML5 ready to take over, appreciation of Adobe’s early efforts in making the web a more animated place should be acknowledged, though few will mourn all the security headaches that came with it.

When is a Pro not a Pro?

iPad Pro

This week Apple unveiled their much rumoured iPad Pro, a larger iPad, equipped with a 12.9” screen with optional accessories for attachable keyboard and stylus dubbed the ‘Apple Pencil’.

• The look of the new iPad Pro with its larger size, especially when attached to its keyboard cover looks much like Microsoft’s Surface Pro line. The big difference here is in its operating system. The iPad pro like all previous models runs on the company’s mobile iOS platform, instead of the desktop platform OSX. This means you will still be unable to use full desktop software like Photoshop or Xcode.
• Apple boasts desktop-class performance, but when limited to mobile Apps you may not see the benefit of this as an end user.
• The extra performance also enables two applications to be run at the same eg. Mail and Word.

The argument for it becomes more difficult though when you consider the iPad Pro actually costs more than a Microsoft Surface.

Justifying the purchase for this new iPad will be a difficult tasks, it is likely aimed at the Apple faithful who already have all the Apple kit, but why purchase the Pro when a MacBook (which can run full desktop software) can be obtained for almost the same price?

There will be specific, niche markets that will reap the benefits of a larger iPad with a pressure sensitive stylus, such as graphic artists, but they will be limited to the mobile App versions of Adobe’s software instead of their full desktop Creative Cloud suite.

It feels like Apple has missed a huge opportunity here, not only in enabling iPads to run full desktop software, but also bringing OSX into businesses which have already iPads.

Apple’s iOS 9 update hints at a bigger iPads for the office

Split_View

This Monday Apple held their annual Worldwide Developer Conference announcing upcoming features and services across their devices.

Arguably the most interesting development was for the iPad, finally allowing true split-screen multitasking to the tablet.

Like many Apple updates the amount of functionality you will get will be depending on which model you own, with only the iPad Air 2 being deemed sufficient to run the full experience called Split View.

The new feature comes as part of iOS 9 and will allow iPad users to launch two Apps at the same time divided by a vertical split in a very similar vein to Windows tablets. iOS 9 also allows apps such as video to be displayed in a floating windows above your current app.

These new multitasking features will help further validate the use of iPads in businesses, being able to both check emails and edit a document at the same time.

Splitting your view does allow you to get more done but it does also make your workspaces smaller.

The announcement of Split View also gives credence to the much rumoured 12” iPad, this will allow the iPad to go toe-to-toe with Windows tablets and potentially squash their momentum with their own market share.

It is likely we will see a 12” iPad Pro launched within the next 12 months and similarities to this and the Surface Pro line will definitely be drawn. With both potentially having similar design and form factor the true battle will be between iOS 9 and Windows 10.

Whilst Microsoft has proven Surface can replace your laptop can Apple do the same for the iPad?

This week’s technology news – 2nd May 2014

Out of the Box
With the arrival of Microsoft Office on iPad, Microsoft has joined Apple and Google to become the latest giant to not include access to their competitors cloud storage on their mobile office apps. Instead users are forced to use their own cloud environments to store documents. If mobile users are restricted to OneDrive and SharePoint, Google Drive and iCloud respectively, why bother with cloud storage companies like Dropbox, Box or SugarSync on the desktop? Whilst it may be their way of pushing their ecosystems, versus purposefully edging out the competition, the commercial results could be the same.

Smartphone evolution – we saw it coming!
Human Media Lab in Canada’s Queen’s University has created a fully functional multi-screen foldable smartphone prototype, Paperfold. It has three snap-together display screens which have a clever use of linkable maps and can be used to create 3-D prints.

This shows greater potential than other previous versions seen such as Kyrocera. Notably in 2010, Microsoft developed and then killed its book-like tablet, Courier, whilst Sony released a costly digital paper tablet earlier this year. With an increasingly mobile workforce, the potential for Paperfold is greater as a transformable, flexible device. With the evolution of digital displays and e-ink technology, this is definitely something to watch out for in future.

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This week’s technology news – 11th April 2014

Heartbleed attack
This week the news of the Heartbleed bug has been causing a panic amongst internet users and website owners. The bug, discovered by Google Security and Codenomicon just this week has been in place since 2011. Sites running OpenSSL are affected, with hackers being able to eavesdrop on secure connections without leaving a footprint. The bigger services that was affected were; facebook, Instagram, google, Dropbox and yahoo! These have now been patched, however we recommend a password reset for users of these accounts. Site’s not using OpenSSL were not affected including Microsoft and Apple. The culprit of the accidental bug has since been identified as one of the contributors to the open-source project, however the bug was not discovered during review and before being cleared for final release. The immediate issue would seem the mass reliance on open source code for our web safety, but the real issue, whether you use open source or an in house development team comes down to code being reviewed thoroughly before being added to the live code pool.

Unfortunate timing Dropbox unveils corporate plans during Heartbleed
One of the biggest Cloud file sharing services is Dropbox however it’s not a name often recommend for corporate use. Dropbox is attempting to change this perception by giving everyone ‘two dropboxes’ one for personal use the other for business, which is managed by your company. Organisations incorporating this will be able to wipe or move all data in this container without access to the user’s personal documents. The irony of this announcement is although Dropbox is going out of their way to show how businesses can trust them with their data it comes in the same week Dropbox admitted it was vulnerable to the Heartbleed attack, potentially putting users passwords and documents at risk.

Microsoft Office for iPad is a hit with over 12 million downloads so far
It was a long time coming – but many think it was worth the wait. Microsoft has announced its official Office Apps for iPad have been downloaded over 12 million times. The apps are well positioned for both home and business use, keeping the fonts and formatting your used too, but portable, on the device most people own. Although 12 million free downloads is impressive, the more interesting number would be to how many Office 365 subscriptions Microsoft has sold to new iPad users during this time. Microsoft has yet to release this information but the subscription is required to go beyond read-only and to actually edit documents. Many questioned if keeping Office initially exclusive to Microsoft tablets was a strategic move and it may have well been. If so it seem Microsoft has had a change of heart or simply seeing a bigger opportunity in getting subscribers into Office 365.

Your first stop for this week’s MSP news in technology

MDM? Not without MSP’s help  

Even though the BYOD trend is gaining significant momentum, some organisations are still refraining from implementation.  Adopting MDM requires investment in technology, training, staffing and policy creation, meaning organisations can’t justify the funding.  However we believe there is a solution to this problem; introducing MDM through a managed service provider.  MSP’s can offer all the MDM benefits including 24×7 managed support, but save customers time as well as costs.  This will allow even small businesses to work more mobile.

Looking into the future in the Tablet market

The big three: Microsoft, Google and Apple are now all runners in the tablet market share race.  In recent months Apple has seen its sales decrease due to the increased popularity of cheaper Google devices. At this pace we may see Android over take Apple in Q2 2013. As Microsoft’s devices have only been on the market for less than a quarter, we are expecting a slow and steady uptake.  As more devices and apps come over to Microsoft’s new platform next year, we predict the market will shift.

‘Appy’ Christmas

Microsoft has announced that their Windows Phone app developers will be hard at work this festive season.  Since the launch of Windows Phone 8, mobile app requests have increased by 40%, seeing a recent surge in the last couple of weeks.  However, some companies refuse to jump on the bandwagon. Google have declared they have no plans to develop apps for either Windows Phone 8 or Windows 8. We believe that Google might be missing a trick.  As Windows 8 adoption grows momentum in 2013, we are predicting Microsoft’s app store will take off in a big way, enabling both a consumer and a corporate environment.

Microsoft release Cloud Deployment programme

Microsoft has released a new Cloud Deployment programme designed at educating partners as to how they can get the most out of Office 365.  Organisations have currently been viewing the Cloud as a threat to their security rather than an instrument for success.  With Microsoft’s latest partner programme, MSP’s will be able to offer management tools and expertise to help consumers understand the Cloud.  We believe that this will give MSP’s the opportunity to add value to the Cloud, helping customers with its set up and running.