MAX 09 When it comes to Apple versus Adobe Systems there’s still no Flash in the iPhone browser, but a new compiler does enable Flash applications for App Store
Adobe chief technology officer Kevin Lynch, speaking at Adobe's MAX in Los Angeles, California, explained what we already knew: that there is no technical barrier to running Flash on Apple's iPhone.
"We've got Flash technology running on the iPhone, but in order to get Flash to run in the browser on the iPhone we need Apple to support the APIs for enabling Flash to plug into Safari and those APIs don't exist today," he said. "We need Apple's co-operation."
In the meantime, Adobe has announced a new feature in the forthcoming Creative Suite 5 that will enable developers to compile Flash applications to iPhone native code, for distribution through Apple's App Store.
Applications for iPhone will go into beta later this year.
"It is great news for Flash developers like myself," said the director of ISV Muchosmedia Stefan Richter, who has worked with the private beta to convert a Flash game and already has it approved for the App Store. "I have access to a whole new platform and ecosystem. Moreover, you can now build iPhone apps on Windows, previously you needed a Mac."
Despite this welcome from Flash developers, Applications for iPhone does nothing to solve the problem facing web developers, that their Flash content is unavailable on Apple's device. The pressure is on Apple, now that most other suppliers of Smartphone operating systems have indicated support for Flash. Yet Adobe's move also proves that vendors are willing to explore every possible workaround in order to support Apple's device.
Lynch at the show also talked about plans to bring AIR to Smartphones. "Our intention is to bring AIR to Smartphones like we have with Flash player. Our ambition is to make it so that a developer can create an application once and have it run across a variety of different Smartphones," he said, echoing that old Java, write-once-run-everywhere cry of years past but in a different context.
Another announcement at MAX will give AIR developers their own App Store. The try and buy program is code-named Shibuya.
Developers will embed a Flash licensing component into their application, and specify a price and trial period. Users will then be able to initiate a purchase by clicking a button in the application, which will launch the web browser and navigate to Adobe's payment site. Activation is then automatic.
Adobe's ambitious plans for Flash must make Apple's intransigence all the more frustrating. ®