To put a Flash player on the iPhone, Adobe will need to work closely with Apple.
Is shoehorning a Flash player onto the iPhone such a big issue? Given the
time spent on it by the CEOs of Adobe and Apple, it may be.
Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen was quoted in
the Wall Street Journal as saying, during a conference call with investors,
that Adobe is "committed to bringing Flash to the iPhone," and, "We
have evaluated [the iPhone SDK] and we think we can develop an iPhone Flash
Narayen continued, "The [iPhone SDK] will let Adobe build a Flash
player for the iPhone." However, this seems not to be the case, precisely.
An official Adobe press release, sent to eWEEK, reiterated Narayen's initial
statement, saying, "Adobe has evaluated the iPhone SDK and can now start
to develop a way to bring Flash Player to the iPhone."
But the release continues: "However, to bring the full capabilities of
Flash to the iPhone Web-browsing experience, we do need to work with Apple
beyond and above what is available through the SDK and the current license
In other words, with the release of the iPhone SDK, Adobe will be able to
explore its options regarding building a Flash or Flash Lite client, but using
the SDK will not be enough; Adobe will need to work with Apple, in ways other
developers will not have to or will not be able to. (Both Flash
and Flash Lite have been dismissed by Apple CEO Steve Jobs
as not a good
technical fit for the iPhone.)
"I believe that Adobe would have to come to some sort of special
agreement with Apple to get Flash running on the phone," said Mark
Onyschuk of Marketcircle,
a developer of Mac OS X and possibly iPhone applications.
"The way that applications are installed on the phone, each application
gets its own 'sandbox'-a piece of the file system all to its own and made
inaccessible to other applications," Onyschuk said.
He continued, "So the standard procedure for installing plug-ins into
an application like Safari doesn't work in the iPhone world. There's no common
/Library/Plugins folder that's accessible to third-party applications.
"I think Apple's intention is to eliminate from the iPhone one very
common source of system instability and insecurity-applications and their
settings being accessible to each other. So plug-ins of any sort, be they Flash
or Java, will likely only appear on the iPhone with special blessings from
Apple and as part of a system software update."