NPR, WSJ plan Flash-free Web sites for Apple iPad
This week Peter Kafka with MediaMemo revealed that both NPR and the Journal will convert at least some portions of their Web site to load properly on the iPad. The custom-built sites will feature the same content and run concurrently with the traditional and iPhone/mobile-friendly versions of each Web site.
"Visitors to the newspaper's front page will see an iPad-specific, Flash-free page," Kafka said of the Journal's iPad Web site. "But those who click deeper into the site will eventually find pages that havenât been converted."
The news comes weeks after Virgin America revealed it dropped Flash content from its new Web site in order to allow users with iPhones to check in for flights.
But the Journal and NPR are both also creating App Store software specifically for the iPad, suggesting that content providers are taking a multi-pronged approach to Apple's forthcoming multimedia device. Kinsey Wilson, head of digital media for NPR, declined to give Kafka an advance look at the organization's forthcoming iPad application or Web site, but did provide a hint as to what the experience could be like.
"Wilson says that while iPhone apps are a 'very intentional experience' — you load the thing up and seek out specific content — he thinks the iPad will be a 'lean back device,'" Kafka wrote. "That's traditionally the distinction multimedia types use to differentiate between a computer and a TV. Intriguing."
The exclusion of Adobe Flash from the iPad and subsequent comments attributed to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, in which he allegedly called the Web standard a "CPU hog," have led to a considerable amount of debate over its merits and shortcomings.
Contributing to the conversation in January was Google, which added support for rival format HTML5 to the most popular video destination on the Internet, YouTube. The beta opt-in program is available only for browsers that support both HTML5 and H.264 video encoding. Apple, too, has placed its support behind HTML5.
For more on why Apple isn't likely to add support for Flash in the iPhone OS, read AppleInsider's three-part Flash Wars series.