updated 04:25 pm EST, Thu January 28, 2010
Tablet locks iBooks to Apple hardware, Adobe says
Adobe has taken to criticizing the iPad through one of its blog entries, calling the device's standards support inadequate. The company notes that two standards it has been involved with -- PDF and ePub -- were prominently displayed in Wednesday's iPad publicity event. Apple uses a form of ePub in iBooks, a combination e-reader and online bookstore. The app may theoretically support e-books bought from other stores.
Following an embarrassing moment during the iPad announcement, however, when Flash objects did not display on the New York Times website, Adobe has decided to resume its criticism of Apple. Flash has never been supported on devices with the iPhone OS, mainly because of Apple concerns that it could rapidly drain battery life. In rejecting any version of the technology, Adobe suggests that Apple is preventing people from accessing "70 percent of games," as well as "75 percent of video." Sites such as Hulu, ESPN and JibJab are crippled on an iPad.
Regarding ePub, Adobe charges that books bought on an iPad will be inaccessible to other e-readers. While ePub is technically an open standard, Apple is said to have adopted provisions in the format for DRM. Even if competing e-books can be loaded into iBooks, the reverse may not be true. Adobe produces a Mac and Windows e-reader called Digital Editions.
The iBooks criticism is similar to now-defunct complaints about music from the iTunes Store. Although iPods and iPhones have always been able to play unprotected MP3 files, tracks bought through iTunes were for years unplayable on non-Apple hardware. All albums were made DRM-free as of April 2009.