Early reviewers of Apple’s recently overhauled Macbook Air portable computer line have noticed that Apple no longer ships Adobe’s Flash runtime with the operating system preloaded on those machines.

While Apple has been quite vocal about their contempt for Adobe Flash, going so far as to completely exclude it from all mobile iOS devices, until now they have preinstalled the plugin on each new Mac, ensuring that webpages and all the content on them will “just work” in most cases.

Apple’s reason for excluding Flash on the new Macbook Air may have something to do with battery life; Flash is known to cause significant performance problems, and in prior Macbook Air models, Flash was frequently accused of being the root cause of overheating and sudden shutdown issues.

It is also possible that Apple is no longer willing to be responsible for updating the Flash plugin as part of their relatively infrequent security updates; users on other platforms are completely responsible for updating Flash, so this may be Apple stepping back and allowing Adobe and their users to take over.

It is not yet known if this is a new policy for all new Macs or just a special case for the Macbook Air, however given Apple’s previous comments on Adobe Flash it is a strong possibility that users will have to install Flash themselves in the future.