By Jennifer Farley

Adobe Drops iPhone-based Flash Development

By Jennifer Farley

Yesterday, Adobe’s principal product manager Mike Chambers wrote in a blog post that Adobe is no longer investing in iPhone-based Flash development. Adobe will still provide the ability to target the iPhone and iPad in Flash but there are no plans for future investments in that feature. In the post he said,

… as developers for the iPhone have learned, if you want to develop for the iPhone you have to be prepared for Apple to reject or restrict your development at anytime, and for seemingly any reason. In just the past week Apple also changed its licensing terms to essentially prohibit ad networks other than its own on the iPhone.

Mr. Chambers said he does not believe that all of their work on the iPhone packager was a waste of time stating that:

  1. There is no technical reason that Flash can’t run on the iPhone
  2. Developers can create well performing and compelling content for the device with Flash

Adobe will now focus on Flash development for Android instead. They are working closely with Google to bring Flash Player 10.1 and Adobe AIR to the Motorola Droid and Nexus One phones and the Android based tablets due to be released this year.

As you probably know, Apple and Adobe have been having verbal fisticuffs for a while now. Steve Jobs is reported to have said at the time of the iPad tablet unveiling, that Flash is too buggy and HTML 5 is the future and made several digs at Adobe. Adobe have not taken it lying down and have of course defended Flash and complained that Apple are uncooperative. The heat was turned up further earlier this month when Adobe evangelist Lee Brimelow jumped right off the fence and “Speaking purely for myself, I would look to make it clear what is going through my mind at the moment. Go screw yourself Apple.”  Adobe distanced themselves from that particular comment but I’m sure the sentiment was shared behind closed doors.

Will it come to pistols at dawn between Apple and Adobe?

  • icanseeit

    Adobe should have thought about this before they even started developing this feature in Flash CS5. Rather than trying to force Apple into a corner, they have now realised how much time and effort they wasted. Did they discuss their plan with Apple along the way? If so, what response did they get?
    Apple are totally within their rights to decide this, whether developers or Adobe or Lee Brimelow like it or not.
    In terms of websites at least, Flash is really dying, so they should focus more on interactive media standalone development for larger and/or touchscreen devices.

  • Evans

    Apple, whatch out – With the advancement of other smart phone models Adroid and Windows phone 7, I think Apple is heading in the wrong direction.

    And for apple to blame Adobe because of their own apps crashing is just not right. Currently flash is being used in almost all other platforms and surely if it does well there, why can’t apple advance theirs to ensure interoperability.

    I think apple is being too mean.

  • Okay, so to clarify: Adobe dropped development on their iPhone Flash -Player- Development (which would let .swf run on iPhone), but they didn’t drop the support for CS5 to export Flash as iPhone apps.


  • Simon davies

    Does this mean that it will not now be shipped with Flash CS5

  • the.tomato

    Sure, Apple are well within their rights, but no Flash on the iPhone/iPad browsers? There are squillions of sites out there that rely on Flash to some extent and that are pretty much unuseable on iPhone Safari. HTML5 is not going to solve anything in the short term. No Flash diminishes the iProducts for Apple and they will lose out.

  • NetNerd85

    Adobe and Google, loving it. Loving Flex as well.

  • It seems like Apple is unfairly targeting Adobe and who knows what sense it makes. Who thinks flash is buggy?!? I’ve never had any issues with flash.

    It seems like they have in their plans to try and “take Adobe down” but why?

  • gaurav_ch

    I was once a flash fan and loved it a lot. The main reason why flash is frowned upon by Apple is that it consumes a lot of CPU power for simple animation. I opened the flash professional page and it has a simple animation on the page. I saw that my CPU consumption on that page jumped up to 25%. Now I have a Quad Core CPU but on less powerful machines it becomes very resource hungry and chops the animation or freezes the computer. Maybe that is why Apple stopped supporting Flash.

    Also, if flash is such a great technology then why did Adobe moved away from Flex powered to an HTML based website? Only the videos are in Flash rest is HTML, CSS and JS (no spry framework but Jquery mind you!).

    There must be severely wrong with Flash this means.

    Just my opinion though.

  • NetNerd85

    Can’t take down Adobe just because of Flash, they have their paws in more than the Web Industry. They own Photoshop remember, who here owns a copy ;) they have animation software the film industry uses, some cartoons are made with Flash.

    I use to be a Flash hater but it has improved 5000% from the early 2000’s and if only people grew up and realized that, like I did, then it would have a bit more support. That said I have no intention of developing a website completely in Flash. You need to use the technology that makes the most sense for the project.

    Apple products don’t appeal to me because I like complexity and features, you know, I use my brain and Apple don’t make products that require brain activity.

  • Anonymous

    Flash has its uses but is way over-used. How many people on this site have the Flash-block or similar plugins installed? People say Flash is only not stable/secure on Macs; I don’t think that’s true.

    Of course, Apple is not doing this for the users; they are a business and they are in it to make money; so whatever advantage or control they need to achieve that goal, they go for it. It may seem unfair or short-sighted to tech people, but most non-techies probably can care less.

    Will this hurt Apple in the long run? Who knows (If you do, be a stock picker)

  • NetNerd85

    “Flash has its uses but is way over-used.” No, flash is just used incorrectly and I don’t install ad blockers for the simple reason of, the website needs to make money and part of me going there includes looking at their annoying stupid ads. I just end up avoiding the websites I should anyway. perfect example of a great Flex application, check it out seriously…

  • RobbieGoD

    Personally, Bad move on Apples part. They are turning into control freaks and don’t realize how even greater there product would be if it could just have Flash.

    I’m a web developer and Flash has been and is still a huge part of the internet. Practically every computer in the world has Flash installed.

    Practically every website in one way or another has some Flash whethers its a header, a videoplayer, or a even a banner.

    It’s announcements like this one where i am very happy I don’t invest money into Apple products. When i experience the internet I want to see it all, not a narrowed or scaled version of the internet. I have an Android Phone and I was disappointed when i saw it didn’t have Flash on it when i got it, but I was very happy when i saw the demo video of Adobe demonstrating Flash Player 10 on the Android phone.

    Soon, I’ll be able to enjoy websites like hulu on my phone – not too mention all of those flash based mini-games.

    I think that is the real reason why Apple doesn’t want Flash on there platform. All of those little iPhone games are very similar to the mini-games created in Flash – they are some that stand out as being very different but for the most part Apple made there own app engine that is basically more or less identical to what can be created in Flash. Of course they don’t want Flash on there platform.

    Is it a big deal? Absolutely!

    What does this mean for consumers? You get a watered down version of the internet – sadly.

  • I’m beginning to wonder if the iPhone market share will decline to only die-hard Apple users. The Android is just such a wonderful product. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

  • “HTML 5 is the future” – I agree with Apple with this one.

    We have to move forward! be with or without flash.
    I think Adobe is heading the wrong way by making flex. We can create web applications faster using Ajax and HTML. Flex is just too heavy to use. I understand why Apple is not accepting flash in iPhone and iPad.

  • rg

    Apple’s continually proprietary thinking in its business models will kill the iphone/ipad just as it nearly killed the Macintosh. When there are no competitors in a given items market potential or “weak ones” and you have a better toy proprietary nature can be a very nice and very profitable road to follow.

    The wireless smart phone and wireless smart toys market is not that.

    Apple should have learned this over and over but they dont.

    Just as the Mac was dying due to Apples proprietary nature what really saved it? Mac OS/X, thats FreeBSD unix, open source essentially.

    There is simply no way Apple will dominate the intelligent wireless device market when competing against entities such as Google and a open development platform. Developers will go not only where the money is but where open development exists for many reasons.

    Alienating an entity like Adobe is just plain stupid irregardless if Adobe’s plans Apple doesnt like or appreciate. Apple stands to loose a tremendous amount more market potential than Adobe does.

    In regards to the future its a be careful what you ask for you just might get it.

    The future is one of regulatory measure and the Internet being highly controlled and a place where only the corporate mega bucks will be the players. The PC becomes a smart terminal as do wireless devices.

    This is the direction that was set into motion nearly 10 years back now and also why data centers all across the world owned by world governments have been and still are being established. US data centers (owned by the US Government) exist now in many places in the world. The property they reside upon is considered US property, just like US Embassy’s.

    Some goals are already in place such as stopping malware threats before they hit US mainland fibre, items related to the Patriot Act where any activity that a citizen does on the net can be logged, indexed, located and more. Ultimately however goals are regulatory measure.

    The internet while all well and wonderful has and is also a pandora’s box threatening cultures and more.

    While that has nothing to do with Apple and Adobe directly both are considered serious players in the future. Apple just took a sizeable step back in that as Adobe and Google can readily eat away Apples marketshare with the iPhone… Industry pundits said long before this when Android released that Apple will loose market leadership. Reason is simple, Open development/open source .vs. not.

    Dont forget about Microsoft either, the development platform that Microsoft has created in “Visual Studio” and other applications has hardware coming to it. That is to say, as server and computer hardware continues to advance the bloated Microsoft items become extremely viable and more productive than anything else out there, hence, the reason and others (Target Merchandise, Walmart to name a few) are all working to transition to ASP.NET. No? Why do you think Amazon hired Microsoft Visual Studios team lead last year? Thats why. Further, Microsoft is the favored “player” by the US Government, European Government, Australian Government, Canadian Government as well as several lesser. Why?

    Since you asked… Because Microsoft owns the home computer user environment marketshare. They are the entity that can build the software to bring real regulatory measure into place. Alot of this is exactly what these “Wars” are about. WHO is going to be the corporate business entities atop the Internet universe as regulatory measure comes to reality.

    Google, Adobe, Apples, Microsoft all players. Thus its been Google/Microsoft atop that fray making the deals behind close doors with the largest internet players in money (Amazon, Walmart, Target, Yahoo, eBay etc) to vye for top dog status.

    Apple may have just dealt itself out of that.

  • What people (end users) really love about iPhone and iPad is the easy to use multi-touch screen technology and applications that work with it. Ask none programmers what features they love about their iPhone or iPad. Personally, I’m waiting to see what happens this next year. I know I want a mobile phone that works like iPhone. One without the all keys, has multi-touch screen technology. Personally, I’m sick of the keys and buttons going bad on me. I want a phone that can withstand a little more stress from being carried around and used. One that can live through having Pepsi or beer spill even. What I hate most about phones with full keyboard pads are the actually buttons themselves. How they wear out, become sticky or fail to function properly over time. The iPhone would free me from this madness. I’m also contemplating what my next PC purchase is going to be. I’m looking into touch screen monitors since Windows 7 supports them. It’s going to be nice to get away from straining my hand out on mouse.

    I’m just trying to point out the simple yet obvious selling features of iPad and iPhone and that’s the touch screen technology. You can do things with you fingers with ease, actually reaching out and interacting with what you’re seeing on the screen. Personally, I don’t think most end users of iPhone or iPad could give a damn about Flash. They just want a good solid easy to use device.

    In many regards, I have great respect for Apple for working at maintaining quality control over the applications that run on their devices. Personally many end users of computer software are sick of things crashing and burning or locking things up. People want reliable software applications that work and are easy to use. Most people could care less regarding the software technology itself. If somebody wants to watch a video, they could care less about the technology itself, they just want to watch a video. We all know you don’t need Flash to do it.

    Would be something to see Adobe work out a killer easy to use studio solution for making HTML 5 animations and doing everything that flash does inside of the HTML 5 specs. Dare I say it, I might actually open up my wallet to purchase an Adobe developer tool that does this.

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