Apple Crushes Adobe’s iPhone App Dreams

UPDATED So much for Adobe trying to provide a workaround for Flash developers to create iPhone and iPad applications. Apple today fired its latest salvo in its war against Flash, with an update to its iPhone Developer Program License Agreement that specifically bans the use of third-party compilers for creating apps that will run on the iPhone OS.

As pointed out by Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, the language in the license agreement has become much more aggressive, if not downright antagonistic, against applications not written in Objective-C, C, C++ or Javascript. It states:

3.3.1 — Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

That will come as a big blow to Adobe, which was pinning its hopes on its upcoming Packager for iPhone — an important piece of its Creative Suite 5 that was meant to allow developers to create apps in Flash which could then be re-compiled for use on the iPhone. Since the iPhone and the iPad don’t support Flash, Adobe saw this as a way to keep its developers coding for Flash while still being able to reach Apple’s mobile devices.

We’ve contacted Adobe for their take on the new language in the license agreement, and what it will mean for the future of the Packager for iPhone. We will update this post with any official word from the company as soon as we receive it.

Update: Adobe issued the following statement regarding the change in Apple’s license agreement:

“We are aware of the new SDK language and are looking into it. We continue to develop our Packager for iPhone OS technology, which we plan to debut in Flash CS5.”

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