Don’t Forget Bucky – Flash on the iPhone?

Although I use them every day, I’m not a huge fan of Adobe products. They’re buggy, tend to crash a lot and cost so much it’s ridiculous. Of course, that doesn’t stop the world from using their products, including Flash, on everything they can. The web is particularly heavy with Flash animation, and as such, people have been asking since 2007 why it’s not available on the iPhone. Turns out that soon it might be.

Ed Oswald has a post over on PC World about Adobe’s development of Flash, and how it’s been going on for the past few years, without any help from Apple. Long story short, it’s a workaround. To quote Oswald:

Either way Adobe is not going to wait much longer. It’s Creative Suite 5 product, now going through private beta, is going to include functionality that will automatically convert Flash applications to ones that are compatible with the iPhone.

Is this a big deal? I’ve spent the past two years without Flash on the phone and I can count on one hand how many times that’s inconvenienced me. Sure, I can see that certain websites might have a problem with it, and some hardcore iPhone web surfers might get a little touchy about the conversation, but ultimately, it’s not that big of a deal to me. At least not on the surface.

But here’s where it gets tricky: If Adobe releases this workaround and it works correctly, then Flash developers could create their own apps and their own app store, and have it all accessible via a web interface, circumventing the Apple App Store entirely. Sound a little bit paranoid? I’ve got a buddy who’s a Flash developer, and that’s exactly how he’s going to do it. Saves the hassle of going through the approval process.

This should come to a head next year when Creative Suite 5 comes out, so it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Kevin Whipps

Kevin Whipps is a copy editor, writer, photographer and custom car builder based in the Phoenix, Ariz. area. For the past 10 years he's been building his portfolio, mostly in the automotive publishing industry. When he's not wrenching on cars, most of his time is spent discovering new gadgets and toys, and of course, using everything Apple. Whipps is also married, and has a baby boy, Kevin Whipps Jr., coming on February 7, 2010.


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  1. I think you didn’t get it right. These iPhone apps generated from Creative Suite will also need to pass the approval process to get on the App Store. You can set up a parallel store if you want, but no one will be able to install such apps to begin with! You cannot install anything from a web interface (other than web app shortcuts, that is)

  2. I think there might be some confusion by the article author.

    I am almost certain that the flash tools allow you to produce a iPhone application that will have to be submitted to the app store.

    The flash tools ‘pre-compile’ the flash and action script into a native iPhone application, bundle in the resources and out pops an application that can the be submitted for review. As far as I’m aware there are already some applications on the appstore that use this technology to some degree of success.

    This means that there is still no ‘flash on the iphone’ in the traditional flash plugin for the browser sense, but you can build applications using flash in the same way other developers use Xcode+UIKit to build apps for the iPhone.

    There is no way for you to pull down flash from the web and run it (that is against the SDK rules which even Adobe have to abide by)

  3. Adobe flash apps (compiled as an iPhone app) would still need to be distributed by Apples AppStore as there is no other way (besides jailbraking) to install native apps on the iPhone.

  4. Just think, for the price of Adobe Creative Suite 4, a would be developer could buy a MacBook and Apple’s iPhone SDK. I wonder, is Creative Suite 5 going to come with a hefty price cut?

  5. Very convenience of having adobe flash in the palm of my hand and with easily conversion. User friendly tool definitely give joy to the user.