We should have known, but it took a full-time Flash developer to help us focus on exactly why the iPhone/iPad can’t use Flash, via Rougly Drafted…
- Video players where the controls appear on mouseover and hide otherwise. (This seems to be the norm, in fact. Whereas a click on the same video does something different: usually Pause. Try Hulu for instance.)
- Games where you steer with the mouse without clicking (extremely common).
- Menus that popup up subpage links when you mouse over a main button, vs. going directly to a main category page when you click.
- Buttons that have important explanations/summaries on mouseover, which you need to understand before deciding what to click.
- Functions that use mouseover to preview and click to commit; such as choosing hair colors for an avatar: you mouse over the colors until your character looks the way you like, and then you click to commit.
- Maps and diagrams that don’t use click at all, but pop up info as you mouse around.
- Numerous other custom mouseover functions that “just work” with a mouse and need no explanation.
None of these things can work right with a finger (or traditional stylus) because on a touchscreen, pointing at something without clicking isn’t a mouseover: it’s just holding your finger vaguely in the air. The device doesn’t even know it’s happening.
We’ll just have to wait for HTML5.