Adobe Gives Up on Flash for iPhone, iPad
* By Brian X. Chen
* April 21, 2010
Adobe will no longer pursue its plans to bring Flash to Apple’s iPhone and the iPad.
Adobe on Tuesday evening said it is ceasing investment in a software tool that enables Flash developers to port software into native iPhone and iPad apps, according to Mike Chambers, Adobe’s principal product manager for Flash developer relations.
“The primary goal of Flash has always been to enable cross-browser, platform and device development,” Chambers wrote in a blog post. “This is the exact opposite of what Apple wants. They want to tie developers down to their platform, and restrict their options to make it difficult for developers to target other platforms.”
Adobe is reacting to a new rule in the iPhone developer agreement, which stipulates that iPhone and iPad apps must be coded with Apple-approved programming languages, such as C++ or Objective C. If enforced, the rule would effectively ban any apps coded with Adobe’s Packager for iPhone, a tool enabling Flash-coded software to be easily converted into native iPhone apps, released last week with Adobe CS5.
Faced with Apple’s new rule, Adobe pulled the plug on Packager for iPhone. That ends, for now, any hope that Flash apps (or apps that incorporate Flash) will ever be able to run on the iPad or iPhone.
Apple’s new app policy has been met with furious debate. Critics say Apple is depriving consumers of choice, because Flash apps that could have been on the iPhone will never see the light of day. Supporters of Apple’s decision, including Steve Jobs, say the move was necessary to retain quality of apps in the App Store and nimbleness of updating the platform.
Apple has been steadfast with its lack of support for Flash on the iPhone OS. Some customers have complained that without Flash, iPhone and iPad users are missing out on a big chunk of the internet. Jobs said during a staff meeting that Flash was not supported because it is “buggy” and frequently causes crashes on the Mac OS, according to a secondhand account first reported by Wired.com.
Apple said Adobe was incorrect to accuse Apple of locking in developers by not supporting Flash.
However, as simple as it may sound for web developers to switch to different standards, Wired.com’s Webmonkey editor Mike Calore said the transition to HTML5 for video playback would be complex. He explained that there’s no agreed upon video format for HTML5, and support varies greatly from browser to browser.
“Not to be overly critical of Apple — anyone pushing for open web standards deserves kudos — but the company seems more deeply concerned with digging Flash’s grave than it does with promoting semantic markup,” Calore wrote.
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