More proof there’s an audience for an Adobe Flash player for Apple’s iPhone: Any time the words “Flash” and “iPhone” are uttered in the same sentence, a good portion of the tech Web loses its marbles.
The latest: At the “Flash on the Beach” conference in the U.K., Adobe (ADBE) Senior Director of Engineering Paul Betlem “confirmed that Apple is indeed developing a Flash Player for the iPhone,” Flash Magazine reports.
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.
We’re not sure why Flash Magazine — or TechCrunch, for that matter — thinks this is the first time Adobe has “publicly confirmed” that it’s developing a Flash player for the iPhone. In June, during the company’s Q2 earnings call, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said that Adobe already had a version sorta working on an iPhone emulator.
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.
More important: What we didn’t know then — and still don’t know now — is…
- Whether Adobe’s player is a standalone app, which just sits on the iPhone and plays video and audio that’s wrapped up in Flash.
- Or whether Adobe’s trying to develop a Flash plugin for the iPhone that would work the same way Flash does on a computer — seamlessly displaying animations and video inside the Safari browser.
Both techniques would require Apple’s approval and some help, but the second method — which is much more useful and much more significant for Adobe — would require a much bigger buy-in from Apple, and would go far beyond the iPhone’s public software developers kit.
Why does any of this matter? While Apple’s app platform has been a big success, there’s still a lot of Web content out there that’s displayed in Flash, which iPhone users don’t have access to. Meanwhile, iPhone-tailored sites are getting developed without a lick of Flash for content or advertising. We admit that the mobile Internet is in its infancy, and that Adobe hasn’t missed too much. But if it can’t get Flash working on the iPhone — and all next-gen smartphone platforms — it could miss the boat on the mobile Web.
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