Several of the folks lucky enough to get their hands on new MacBook Air review units noticed something a little strange: the Adobe Flash Player, usually bundled as a browser plugin with new Mac OS X installations, was AWOL. It wasn't clear at first if this was an early-build hiccup or a design decision; although Apple has been dinged in the past for shipping out-of-date versions of Flash Player, it hadn't stopped bundling the plugin. I confirmed today that shipping units and Apple retail store models were also Flash-less.
Now Engadget has an official statement from Apple that confirms the situation: yes, Flash Player is no longer being included, and users can & should download the most up-to-date version from Adobe if and when they need it. Alternatively, they could just grab a browser that bundles it in.
The official statement: "We're happy to continue to support Flash on the Mac, and the best way for users to always have the most up to date and secure version is to download it directly from Adobe."
Easy enough for them to say, not always so easy for the novice Mac owner to do. I expect that some of the MacBook Air-shaped packages under the Christmas tree may be followed on 12/26 by phone calls saying "YouTube is broken! Help!" Then again, another plugin not installed by default: Silverlight.