For years, Mac users had to watch their Windows counterpart with envy about getting Flash with hardware accelerated features. The good news is that the wait has finally come to an end today, for Adobe has just announced a new version of Flash for OS X which comes with hardware-accelerated H.264 decoding.
Read on to find out more.
When Steve Jobs launched his verbal assault against Flash, Adobe countered that Flash’s resource consumption and lack of speed on OS X had nothing to do with them. Rather, they claimed that the only reason why Flash for Mac was shipped without any support for hardware acceleration was that Apple simply refused to open up the low-level API which would allow the plugin direct access to the hardware.
That claim apparently hit home, and Apple subsequently released an API which allows software to gain direct access to the Mac’s hardware. Needless to say, Adobe jumped right on it, and in no time a working beta of Flash, codenamed Gala, was pushed out for OS X, complete with hardware-accelerated decoding.
However, Gala’s beta status meant that it was mostly limited to adventurous users who were willing to take the risk of testing out pre-release software. As such, most mac users continued to chug away on Flash 10, sans hardware-accelerated decoding. That is, until now: the latest security update to Flash 10.1 for OS X officially plugs in hardware-acceleration features into the plugin, so all users are virtually guaranteed to receive the new version.
Thibault Imbert. Product Manager for Adobe, admitted that pushing new features in security releases was a very rare practice for the company.
“We rarely enable new features in security releases but we really wanted to enable such a cool feature,” he wrote in a blog post.
He also added that Adobe is currently working on further improving the video experience even as the update is being pushed out to end-users. Of course, the pressure is now on them to deliver what they have promised, but if they successfully pull it off, Steve Jobs will have one major flaw less to attack Flash with.