MacBook Air Battery Life Drops Two Hours with Adobe Flash in Use

MacBook Air

Is it possible that Apple knew what it was doing when it excluded Adobe Flash from being preinstalled in the latest MacBook Air models? A new report claims that the controversial Flash technology can kill battery life on the slim new laptops by as much as two hours.

AppleInsider is reporting that leaving Adobe Flash off of your new MacBook Air can extend the battery life by as much as two hours. According to Ars Technica, one of the new models can happily surf the web via Safari for a full six hours without Adobe Flash installed — but once the same sites are visited with Flash active, the battery life drops by a full third, to only four hours.

“Flash-based ads kept the CPU running far more than seemed necessary,” wrote Chris Foreman after conducting the tests for Ars Technica. AppleInsider notes that without Flash installed, websites generally display static ads where the Flash content should be, “erasing the need for constant processing power demanded by the Flash plug-in’s rendering engine.”

The results likely come as no surprise to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who has remained adamant about keeping Adobe Flash technology off of the company’s iOS devices, citing security issues as well as performance and most importantly, battery life.

Apple wasn’t the first to unbundle Adobe Flash from their computers — Microsoft made that move with the launch of Windows Vista in 2007, although AppleInsider notes this “was likely due to the company’s efforts to push its rival Silverlight plug-in.”

As a result, the audience for Flash-based content has dwindled, a particularly disturbing trend for publisher Adobe since Apple is selling far more iOS devices than they are Macs. Currently, the only way to play Flash content on an iOS device is through a third-party app such as Skyfire, which uses its own servers to convert Flash on the fly to HTML5 using Mobile Safari — but that method precludes interactive uses for Flash such as games.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter


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