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4/1/2010
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Apple Blesses iPad-Ready Web Sites

The company is promoting publishers who offer HTML5 video as an alternative to Adobe Flash.

In preparation for the release of its iPad on Saturday, Apple has released a list of iPad-ready Web sites and is inviting online visitors to submit their Web sites, if the sites conform to Apple's criteria.

To be iPad-ready, a Web site must be built with W3C standard Web technologies, as Apple explains in technical notes on its Web site. It cannot, in other words, rely exclusively on Adobe Flash, a technology that has earned the ire of Apple CEO Steve Jobs for alleged performance problems.

In contrast to Google, which recently said that it would bake Flash technology into its Chrome browser -- most ads rely on Flash and Google operates the leading online advertising network -- Apple has effectively banished Flash from its platform in favor of technologies not controlled by a competing company.

In place of Flash, Apple wants publishers to use HTML5 video, CSS3 and JavaScript. Publishers are answering the call, drawn by the prospect of a large captive audience trained to buy through iTunes -- iPad users will not be able to block ads or save streaming video content to disk the way Internet users can.

CBS and ABC are reportedly preparing television episodes to be viewed on the iPad -- CBS shows through HTML5 in the browser and ABC shows through a native iPad app. Hulu, a video site own by NBC Universal, News Corporation, and Walt Disney Company, is said to be preparing an iPad application.

And Netflix, the video rental service, appears to be preparing an iPad app that will allow subscribers to stream a limited selection of movies on Apple's eagerly anticipated device.

A company spokesperson declined to confirm this report and said, "Let's wait and see what Saturday brings."

YouTube, the most popular online video site, is not among those cited by Apple as iPad-ready, despite the fact that it does offer an HTML5 video player that works in Apple's Safari browser.

It's possible that YouTube wasn't mentioned because it's owned by Google, a company that has aggravated Apple by moving into the mobile phone business. But it could also be that YouTube's HTML5 player remains an experiment and that the bulk of its videos continue to be served in a Flash player.

Apple's stance on Flash has proven to be a boon for third-party technology companies like Ansca Mobile and Appcelerator, which offer development tools that provide Flash alternatives for apps on Apple's devices, and for mobile advertising companies like Greystripe, which recently introduced a software development kit to convert Flash files into an iPad-friendly format called iFlash.

In less than two weeks, Adobe is holding its Creative Suite 5 launch event, during which the company is likely to elaborate on how its Flash Packager can be used to generate iPhone apps.

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