Flash still not coming to the iPhone while Adobe announces partnerships with almost everyone else

The throw down: the gnashing teeth, the thump of the chest, the quivering aqueous vitreous diffused with pulsating veins. It's a glorious site, even when imagined upon the metaphorical face of Adobe. They are sick of Apple's App Store dominance. And they very definitely seem to be throwing down. At this week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Adobe announced that it would release the first full-fledged Flash player for smartphones by year's end... and Google, Microsoft, Palm and Nokia are all hopping on board. At the same time, Adobe said they were still not close to getting Flash on the iPhone. At this point, that's pretty clearly not a technical challenge... Apple simply does not want to risk the financial success of the App Store, which largely serves up simple programs that could be ably rendered in Flash. Adobe's issuing a direct challenge to them: we have partners who say all their phones can run Flash, and we agree. That can only take some of the luster off the iPhone, especially as Apple's competition ponies up with real iPhone challenging devices with Flash pre-installed, like the Palm Pre. I hope Apple changes its tune. It can only improve the standard of App Store fare while giving iPhone users more reason than ever to own one. Adobe preps full Flash player for smartphones [Macworld]
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17 Responses to Flash still not coming to the iPhone while Adobe announces partnerships with almost everyone else

  1. Random_Tangent says:

    That Palm Pre is looking better and better every day.

  2. bmjames says:

    The performance of Flash on Safari on a Mac Pro is so terrible, I can’t imagine it’s ready to port to the iPhone.

    Flash on handhelds makes me think of Adobe Air making it to handhelds too, which scares me. Flash will only lower the quality of applications, especially on handhelds like the iPhone where so much effort has gone into making beautiful, consistent interface libraries.

  3. ratcity says:

    Year’s end? In February? That’s quite a shot across the bow of Apple. For all the talk about Apple’s hype machine at least they don’t try to hype vaporware and partners who’ve “signed up”. That’s just not Apple’s style and bravo for them if they want Adobe to put up or shut up. I’d be a follower too if it meant waiting for new code from Adobe.

    I’ll believe it when I see it. Flash, especially full-screen, could be a great platform for phones but obviously Apple wants people to use multitouch the accelerometer etc that they spent so much money stuffing into iphones.

  4. The Life Of Bryan says:

    Anything that slows the replacement of the actual WWW with Flash (and Flash knockoffs) is a good thing in my book. They may be doing it for all the wrong reasons (or they may not, I honestly don’t know), but I’m glad they’re doing it.

  5. 0xdeadbeef says:

    The video decoding and painting is all native code, your Flash player is only drawing the graphics around it. Modern codecs can be very taxing, and will peg anything that doesn’t have dedicated decoding hardware. The Apple Quicktime player has just as much trouble playing HD content on my 3 GHz machine as does Hulu and Netflix.

  6. dimmer says:

    “If Apple believes that Flash is too battery and CPU-intensive to be allowed, I call bullshit because they’re telling me how fast I should allow my phone to run and for how long.”

    Actually, no, they are not: they are serving their customer base who expect certain levels of CPU (less important) and battery life (highly important) from their iPhone. Flash is an unfortunate, unimportant sidestep into a proprietary web format that doesn’t work well (especially on on OS X) — maybe if Adobe delivered a Flash plug-in for the standard OS X that worked well Apple may allow a decent iPhone version (and not Flash Light).

    Sure, some geeks may not like this: but Apple have been front and centre about this since day one. Need Flash? Go elsewhere.

  7. zio_donnie says:

    apple sucks for a variety of reasons but i agree with “the life of bryan”. flash is bad and ruining the web. i just hope that iphone incompatibility becomes the first nail in flash’s coffin.

  8. Anonymous says:


    “Actually, no, they are not: they are serving their customer base who expect certain levels of CPU (less important) and battery life (highly important) from their iPhone”

    The iPhone has toggle switches to enable or DISABLE popups, javascript, and plugins. This is clearly the best way to do it. Hell, many browsers ask you if you want to load images.

    I would, in all likelihood, never use Flash. What bothers me is the lack of CHOICE. They’re not ruining their service if Flash is OPTIONAL and off by default.

    You can’t possibly believe that it’s good to have FEWER options, can you? Are you going to start telling me that the walled garden that is the App Store is a great, too? Because it did a great job filtering out the stupid or poor quality applications (hooray, flatulence!).

    Don’t let your anti-flash sentiment get in the way of the true issue here: Apple is being anti-consumer, here.

  9. Halloween Jack says:

    And I just read the article from the link, and…

    But Adobe said that it was still not close to delivering Flash players that would work with Apple’s iPhone or Research in Motion’s BlackBerry.

    OK, so I’m a complete Apple fanboy and everything, occasional misgivings notwithstanding. I admit to my bias. But this, folks, is just ridiculous. No, wait, it was an unintentional oversight, right? I mean, who’s ever heard of this “Blackberry” thing, eh?

    Do you get my point? NuJesusPhone is not going to save the economy and make your teeth whiter and brighter. Six months from now, you’ll be wondering why Palm doesn’t have a nice, lean Flash client like the one that Apple and RIM held out for.

  10. Sagan says:

    Apple continues to tick me off at almost every turn. I’ve never been an apple fan, but I love my Iphone 3g. Since my roommate got his G1 Android phone, and since Apple are such dicks about the store, jailbreaking, and this flash (Not to mention Java) BS they have me wanting to jump ship. I’ll give them a bit more time but this crap is getting old, you hear me Apple? I have a friend who used to be a hard core apple supporter…I mean he’s got an apple power button tattoo among a couple other apple themed ones, but over the last year he’s turned 180 and hates them now, a story I’m hearing more and more these days.

    Well, to be expected. Apple has a habit of coming out with new and revolutionary things only lock themselves in a room while everybody else take the ideas and runs with them, leaving them in the dust.

    Oh yeah, Apple, I jailbreak my phone! Let me call the Whaambulance for you. In other words: Suck it.

  11. rak0ribz says:

    You know, I always wonder a little about how much of this kind of fighting comes down to personal feelings. Which is to say: how upset do the VPs at Adobe have to get before someone totally-accidentally leaks a compiled version of Flash onto one of the Cydia-linked application repositories.

    As much as I hate the idea of making a business (or any other) decision on a basis that can’t be ably represented in a spreadsheet, I imagine that I’d really like to see this sort of cynically-deniable corporate warfare.

  12. caldrax says:

    i don’t understand how it makes good business sense for apple to be so restrictive with their app store, jailbreaking, and so on… you would think the number of hardware sales to people who would otherwise not buy their products for fear of the copy-protection methods would outdo the software sales of those who are too ignorant to know better.

    Oh wait… software costs apple absolutely nothing to reproduce. Of course.

    It’s too bad the average customer isn’t more savvy, or iphones would never have to be broken out of jail, they’d be free after purchase in the first place.

  13. dculberson says:

    Stakker, Flash video players are notorious CPU hogs. My old 2.4ghz P4 would skip and stutter on longer Youtube videos. The system was apparently not cooling the CPU enough, but the fact that a seemingly simple 320×240 video was enough to tax the CPU speaks volumes about how poorly written the player is.

    And that was under Windows XP, Firefox or Internet Explorer.

  14. RyanH says:

    Apple has constantly said that they are not interested in Flash due to the brutal CPU and battery demands that it makes. And frankly, Flash is hardly a threat to their app store. It just isn’t a great application platform.

    Sure, it might cut into the profits of the pull-my-finger fart apps, but I don’t think anyone else would be complaining.

    And I have to say, on my iPhone, for every time I am annoyed by not having flash, there are a dozen times that I’m grateful I don’t have to wait for a dozen flash ads to load before reading a webpage.

  15. Halloween Jack says:

    This is about as important to me as Apple not shipping the original Macintosh with a 5.25″ floppy drive.

  16. Anonymous says:

    @4 Battery life and CPU demand issues are not legitimate reasons to limit users.

    What we’re talking about here is the fact that Apple is making that choice FOR us. APPLE has decided that the OWNERS of their product can’t run something on the device THEY PURCHASED. I mean, I can run World of Warcraft on my Eee PC. It won’t work well, but that’s a choice I make, not a choice that Asus gets to make.

    My guess is that AT&T is throwing their weight against a bandwidth-thirsty Flash implementation. I’m sure they don’t want to use their resources to let users view YTMND all day.

    If Apple believes that Flash is too battery and CPU-intensive to be allowed, I call bullshit because they’re telling me how fast I should allow my phone to run and for how long.

    If Apple believes that Flash is a threat to their App store, I call bullshit because they’re basically running a Verizon-style “pay us to use your own device the way you want” business model.

    If Apple DOESN’T believe that Flash is a threat to their App store, I call bullshit because they’ve made a choice for the user that they have no right to make.

    I will be switching to an Android phone as soon as my contract is up.

  17. Stakker says:

    I don’t see how Flash would really compete with native apps. Given the choice, I wouldn’t touch any Flash apps.

    Also, do you know how bad the code in Flash for OS X is? Watching just one standard quality YouTube video on my 2GHz G5 iMac takes 70-80% of the CPU. It’s like it’s running on emulated hardware. I believe that Adobe simply can’t get their obese code to run on an iPhone.

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