Steve Jobs: Flash Video Would Make the iPad Battery Life 1.5 Hours

According to Steve Jobs, running Flash video on the iPad would cut its battery life from 10 hours to a measly 1.5. At least, that was his pitch to Wall Street Journal execs recently. But could it possibly be true?

Well, yes and no. Jobs is picking and choosing here between hypothetical versions of Flash. If the iPad version of Flash were to have hardware acceleration, which Flash 10.1 offered up for desktops (though not OS X), that wouldn't be remotely the case. If Flash on the iPad were to support hardware video decoding where available, it wouldn't require nearly as much CPU. You'd lose battery life, sure, the same way you lose battery life watching any type of video on any system, but nothing near as dramatic as 85%.

Of course, that hardware acceleration isn't currently possible on Macs, because Adobe doesn't have access to the appropriate APIs. So Jobs can easily on a imaginary version of Flash that doesn't have hardware acceleration and come up with an imaginary battery life impact.

Jobs's bigger fib might be his description of ditching Flash as "trivial." It's not. While HTML5 is good, it's not great—yet. And even when it becomes great, it'll take major sites years to make the switch—however long it takes for the majority of internet users to stop using outmoded browsers. And that won't be for a very long time. Certainly longer than the first few generations of the iPad.

So. Would Flash make the iPad's battery life only 1.5 hours? Maybe, maybe not. But the bigger question is: will we ever get the chance to find out for ourselves? [Gawker]