Apple rapped for misleading iPhone claims

James Middleton

August 27, 2008

2 Min Read
Apple rapped for misleading iPhone claims

Californian gadget maker Apple has caught flak from the UK’s advertising watchdog, over its claim that ‘all’ of the internet is accessible from the iPhone.

In its TV ads, Apple claims, “all the parts of the internet are on the iPhone,” but consumers have complained the claim is misleading because the device does not support Flash or Java, which is required to access many web sites.

Apple argued that its Safari web browser is built on open standards and is not required to support ‘proprietary’ formats such as Adobe’s Flash and Sun’s Java. Nevertheless, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK upheld the complaint, saying that the ad gave a misleading impression of the internet capabilities of the iPhone because it did not explain its limitations.

The absence of Flash on the iPhone has been criticised as one of the device’s main failings. The vast majority of video available on the internet is encoded in Flash, and although Apple struck a deal with YouTube to get the popular video sharing site onto the iPhone, users have still been locked out of a boatload of content.

YouTube itself uses Flash, and in order to get onto the iPhone, it had to re-encode all its videos in an iPhone friendly format.

Fuel was thrown on the fire earlier this year at the Apple shareholders meeting, when Jobs reportedly said that Flash was “too slow to be useful” on the iPhone and Flash Lite was “not capable of being used with the web”. Flash Lite is the version of the video player that ships with many mobile phones such as the Nokia N series.

In the wake of these comments, conspiracy theorists have come up with myriad suggestions as to why Jobs wants to keep Flash off the iPhone. Some say the infamous performance issues of badly coded Flash will show the iPhone up as a not particularly powerful device, while others say that Jobs is just posturing for a stronger bargaining position when the time comes to put Flash on the device. After all, Flash isn’t just about video, it can also be a powerful application delivery platform, especially when used with Adobe Flex.

In other iPhone news, the Swedish device testing team at Bluetest has run its antenna and connectivity analysis on a couple more iPhone’s. The team drew criticism earlier this week after running tests on just one device and finding no fault with the unit itself. Since then Bluetest has tested two more devices which suffer from connectivity issues and has found no fault, at least with the antenna and the way it connects to a 3G network.

About the Author(s)

James Middleton

James Middleton is managing editor of | Follow him @telecomsjames

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