According to their latest quarterly conference call, Adobe already has a version of Flash working for the iPhone and running on emulation software:
We have a version that’s working on the emulation. This is still on the computer and you know, we have to continue to move it from a test environment onto the device and continue to make it work. So we are pleased with the internal progress that we’ve made to date.
If that's true, that really makes Apple's already-rather-implausible claim that the mobile version of Flash isn't powerful enough for the iPhone look rather jerky. Even if slightly gimped from regular PC use, surely some Flash to check out YouTube vids and the like is better than no Flash, unless they are simply trying to corporate-pirouette themselves out of a secret agreement with carriers (who likely don't want the burden of trying to handle streaming vids over their 3G networks) not to support Flash in the near future.
But what if — instead of a Safari plug-in — Adobe gets around Apple's reticence by releasing their own Flash client through the App Store? That could be awkward, but I think most people would be happy to jump through a few hoops to watch streaming Flash video or play web games on the go. Of course, how Adobe would make that elegant without cut-and-paste or download flash vids straight to the iPhone is a huge question mark.
Update: Beshizza comments in our secret editorial channel: "I think the flash thing really is a performance one. iPhone-class devices just aren't up to rendering all the shitty flash on the web. That konami thing required optimization to run acceptably on my MBP. Flash is basically one program telling another program to tell another program to tell the hardware what to do. It's so skanky it's unbelievable -- but it means complete amateurs can produce cool stuff."
And Joel points out that Apple is trying to kill Adobe, so there's another reason.
Adobe Flash Coming To Apple's iPhone -- Maybe, Someday (AAPL, ADBE) [AlleyInsider.com via Crunchgear]