Apple declares war on Adobe, as Lion disables Flash, Photoshop features (updated)

Steve Jobs’ crusade to rid Apple products of all traces of Flash continues with word that Lion, the new Mac OS X, has many issues with Adobe programs, including disabled Flash Player hardware acceleration.

In the past, Jobs has publicly derided Flash and suggested that the platform is in decline. iOS has not supported Flash since its inception, so it’s not surprising that Lion — which pushes the Mac OS closer to iOS — offers less support for Adobe.

It’s also possible that Adobe simply hasn’t caught its products up to speed with the changes in the Lion OS yet. Anytime a new OS is released, software developers have access to beta versions of the OS to get their software in order, and Adobe is no different. Still, the sheer amount of issues related to Adobe’s products, the history of the two companies, and the fact that many users will be affected makes this significant.

Just a few years ago, Apple and Adobe had a close relationship. So close, in fact, that it would be unheard of for a new version of the Mac OS to break a feature in Photoshop, one of the most popular Adobe products.

On Adobe’s support page chronicling known issues with Lion, it notes this specific problem:

Flash Player may cause higher CPU activity when playing a YouTube video. Possibly related to disabled hardware acceleration.

Apple did not respond immediately to our questions about this issue.

On top of hardware acceleration issues, Adobe listed other Lion-specific problems with Acrobat, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash Builder, Flash Catalyst, Illustrator, Lightroom, Photoshop, and Premiere Pro.

In some cases, older programs do not work at all. Adobe lists non-current versions of Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst as programs that “will not work on Mac OS X 10.7.” Abobe said it “does not intend to update” these products. That could definitely cause developers trouble if they upgrade to Lion while still using older versions of these programs.

Some affected programs like Photoshop and Illustrator are significant to the design community, which has an affinity toward Apple hardware and software. In Photoshop CS3, CS4 and CS5, Adobe says the “droplets” feature does not work. And in Illustrator CS5, the option to save or export is disabled from the Save As or Export dialog window when trying to save to the desktop.

Adobe did not respond to queries we had concerning the incredible amount of issues specific to Lion. However, in early June, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said the company would work around any “arbitrary obstacles” that were put in its way concerning Apple. I bet the company is looking into doing just that when it comes to Lion.

Do you think Apple’s treatment of Adobe is fair? Have you had any Adobe-specific problems when using the new Lion OS?

Update: The article now has more information about incompatibilities between Adobe products and the Lion OS and the software development process.

Update 2: Adobe sent us a message saying Flash hardware acceleration was, in fact, not disabled in Lion. The company declined to talk about all of the other problems mentioned in this story. Here is the company’s official statement:

The final release of Mac OS X Lion (10.7) provides the same support for Flash hardware video acceleration as Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6). The previous “Known Issue” suggesting that video hardware acceleration was disabled in Lion was incorrect and based on tests with a pre-release version of Mac OS X Lion that related to only one particular Mac GPU configuration. We continue to work closely with Apple to provide Flash Player users with a high quality experience on Mac computers.


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