Blog Post

Flash for iPhone Confirmed; Ball in Apple’s Hands

From a blog post that launched a thousand rumors, comes confirmation that Adobe is, in fact, creating a way to bring Flash content to the iPhone.

Here is an excerpt from their official statement during a recent “town hall”:

“Upon a direct question from the audience, Paul Betlem for the first time publicly confirmed that Adobe is actively developing a Flash Player for Apple’s popular phone. He said (not direct quote) ‘My team is working on Flash on the iPhone, but it’s a closed platform.’ He noted that Apple makes all the decisions, so in other words, the ball is in Apple’s yard at this time. If Apple says yes, Adobe will have the player available in a very short time.”

It will be interesting to see how this makes it way through the Cupertino application gates since this will be a direct competitior to the built-in audio and video players and will also provide an alternate way to develop applications for Apple’s devices. Given how Flash-centric their new creative suite appears to be, this move by Adobe may be seen as a real threat to Apple’s hold on the platform.

Apple may have little choice but to let Adobe into their camp since Microsoft has licensed Flash Lite for their mobile devices and it is expected that the Android phone platform will also eventually support it (but support is not expected out of the gate).

Do you want or need Flash support on your phone? If you are a developer of Flash content, are you eager to adapt your creations to run on Apple’s iPods & iPhones? Keep the converation going in the comments!

23 Responses to “Flash for iPhone Confirmed; Ball in Apple’s Hands”

  1. James Farmer

    I want Flash on my iPhone for web browing . I would also like to play Hulu from Safari . If Flash isn’t allowed so I can get my full on web browsing , I will be leaving the iPhone for a phone that does support it . I love my iPhone and do not want to do it but if it isn’t doing the things I want to do on it , then sometimes you just have to let go .

  2. Flaah, like iphone evolves in a fluid environment and has been steadily becoming more feature rich. Remember the days when you had to be a “guru” just to get flash to connect to a database? If the hardware can handle it, I say let it in. I for one wouldn’t mind being able to take advantage if the software as a platform for game design.

  3. i don’t understand the knee-jerk “apple must be right” answers. are you crazy? a wifi-equipped internet device that can’t be used to watch “arrested development” in bed is not one worth having. who wouldn’t like to watch it for free on hulu, instead of paying $1.99 per episode on the itunes store? feel free to substitute any show you like.

  4. I’m with ya on that Infinite-T, but just a heads up on the local radio station issue:
    Try the free app titled AOL Radio. It’s got TONS of radio stations, including lots of locals. It’s probably my favorite app to-date.

  5. Infinite-t

    not having flash on my iPhone is really annoying. It’s supposed to be this über do all device… Without something as simple as flash, I can’t use my banks website, use local news station websites for sports updates and such, no “real” YouTube, ( the ones on the iPhone are a select few that have been converted) no streaming video, no streaming audio ( for my local radio station, cause my uber iPhone ahem.. Doesn’t have fm radio. Oh yea, no conection to some of my online community stuff( it’s in flash too). Out of all the things I wish it had, is flash. Now before the flaming begins, I am not some super user or rocket scientist or anything, but I am an average joe just like probably 90% of the iPhone users who would like apple to put aside whatever silly isues it has with simple pleasures like flash, mms, fm tuner, sterio blutoothe. I understand some of those would be a hardware issue, but flash would just be a simple update, it would really up the awesomeness , make a lot of current customers happy, probaly encourage many new ones.

  6. ^^ agreed. The thought that Flash is just video and animated ads is an outdated assumption.
    I can’t even view the latest headlines at (or any other NFL team page) on my iPhone.

  7. I think a lot of people here are missing the fact that “Flash” is more than animated ads these days, it’s the best, most ubiquitous, platform-independent virtual machine for delivering a desktop-like rich UI experience in a browser that is independent of every browser’s bizarre interpretation of CSS, HTML, & Javascript that affects AJAX app development and, more importantly, testing.

    IMHO, Adobe and Apple need to agree that the distribution model for iPhone apps built in flex needs to be through the AppStore -or- purely browser based.

  8. This is great news for anyone wanting to deliver brand experiences on mobile phones – it’s just a shame we still don’t know when it will happen. The powerful combination of the iPhone interface with the rich interactivity of Flash is something agencies, marketers and consumers will find hard to resist. Interestingly, we can also envisage a potential cost saving for clients as pre-existing Flash content is repurposed for mobile.

    At present, it looks like there is only talk about the Flash plug-in on the Safari web browser. As such, Flash widgets per se are not really on the cards yet. Native iPhone widgets/applications in Flash are still a good while away, but we wait with anticipation for the opportunity to use this new technology.

  9. Michael

    I’ve said this form the day we all found out there is no Flash support on the iPhone, we don’t need flash. The only viable argument there is for Flash on the iPhone is video, if there is a way to just have a Flash player for video only then I would be all for it, however as far as I know there is not. I have no need for flash ads and pop ups on my mobile device, it’s been working great and the apps have been coming along just fine with out Flash. I don’t like sites or apps with a lot of flash in my desktop browser and I don’t want them in my mobile browser. So I hope Apple keeps Flash off my phone, or at least makes it optional so I can keep my phone Flash free.

  10. I just know that I’d absolutely love to show off video streams from sites like Vimeo, Break, etc. on my iPhone. Windows Mobile now has the Skyfire browser which is just freakin awesome and handles all Flash thrown at it.

  11. If Apple sits back on their line about security, then, sure, let Flash in. Supposedly the reason that the iTunes App Store is the way it is is to keep everything safe and secure for the user, and Flash is a safe way to bring interactive content to the phone.

    I’m not sure, #4, how Flash encouraging someone to make a site cool is a bad thing, unless you’re talking about needless style over substance, which is a concern with all kinds of design, and isn’t specific to Flash.

    If the argument is about processing power, as I’ve heard people suggest that the phone isn’t fast enough to run Flash well, then I’d say that’s a bit of a red herring: after all, the phone can run exceptionally high-quality apps, with full 3d rendering, and drawing a few vectors is much less computationally intensive than that.

    My guess is that if you let Flash on the phone, you’re letting a bunch of app developers into the phone in a way that Apple won’t have control over. I don’t think it’s a revenue saver, specifically, as most people don’t charge end-users for content specifically because it’s Flash; rather, I mean that right now Apple can turn down any app for any reason, and keep it out of the store. Since Flash apps can equal iPhone apps in technical sophistication, Apple would be, by allowing Flash on the phone, opening up an avenue for “apps” to get on their phone of the kind they wouldn’t like. This would be a huge ceding of control from the company. Now, personally I think that would be great, but it’s hard to imagine they’d do it.

    I suppose an important aspect of this is whether Adobe would be able to create a Flash plugin for the browser on the phone, which would make things nice and seamless, or if they’d be restricted to placing a Flash app on the phone, which would make that easy Flash experience a lot less so.

  12. No to Flash! I agree that Adobe must have presented this to Apple and it was turned down and now it’s drumming up sympathy from Flash lovers to pressure Apple. I’d say – Apple, don’t give in OR add a FLASH BLOCKER on Mobile Safari for us who do not like Flash. :P

  13. I don’t see Flash as something that is needed. Ironing out bugs in the iPhone Safari to make it fully compliant – Yes, but Flash – No. It always encourages the designer to “make sites cool” and not particularly functional, build unnecessary design, plus it also takes up more processing speed. No thanks Adobe!

  14. I have no inside information, but I bet Adobe has already brought this to Apple and it was turned down. Now Adobe is trying to drum up consumer demand in an attempt to change Apple’s mind.