Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users can now view Flash video, thanks to the Skyfire 2.0 app. Unfortunately, it's temporarily not available, due to massive demand.
Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners have made their opinions of Adobe
Systems' Flash technology clear: They want it.
Following the introduction to the Apple App Store of a Skyfire 2.0 app that
acts as an Internet browser than can play Flash video on Apple's devices,
Skyfire Labs posted an apology on its blog, stating that due to "unbelievable
enthusiasm" it's "effectively -sold out' and will temporarily not
accept new purchases through the App Store."
Within five hours of offering the app - which sells for $2.99 - it became
the top-grossing application, the third-highest paid overall, and the top app
in the Utilities category, Robert Oberhofer shared on the Skyfire blog.
"Despite our best attempts and predictions, the demand far exceeds our
initial projections," wrote Oberhofer. "We are working really hard to
increase capacity and will be accepting new purchases from the App Store as
soon as we can support it."
Apple gave Skyfire 2.0 its blessing in a Nov. 3 press release introducing
the mobile browser, which it says is built on the same WebKit as Apple's Safari
browser, but bridges the gap between Apple and Adobe technologies by offering
three "key elements" that Safari leaves out.
It offers an Explore icon that brings relevant Internet content to a user,
based on the context of the Web page being viewed. Second, there's a Share icon
that lets users do exactly that with articles or videos via Facebook, Twitter and
email. The third element, though, is the one that has Skyfire's servers buzzing:
"The [Skyfire 2.0] video icon allows users to view the millions of
videos designed for Flash Player previously unavailable on iOS devices,"
the company explained in the release. "Skyfire does this by translating
the videos and bringing them to the native iPhone media player using the H.264
Though note, when the company says video, it means video-the app can't help
out iOS users when it comes to games or animations.
Apple's decision to do without Flash technology is a well-publicized decision
of CEO Steve Jobs, who's called Flash a "CPU
and "old technology," and in the weeks before the iPad's
launch solicited major media outlets to instead use the H.264 video compression
standard. Some did, but a good many didn't-or haven't yet.
"Apple has this thing against Flash, the Web's most popular video
format; says it's buggy, it's not secure and depletes the battery," The New York Times
tech critic wrote in
his review of the iPad. "Well, fine, but meanwhile, thousands of Web sites
show up with empty white squares on the iPad-places where videos or animations
are supposed to play."
Skyfire hopes to change that.
"Users don't think about what video technology a site uses. They just
want the video to play," said Skyfire CEO
Jeff Glueck, in the statement. "With this workaround, Skyfire makes
playback possible, while also optimizing the video for mobile screens and
networks. That makes it easier to fit video through congested cell towers,
saves battery life, and helps users conserve megabytes in their data plan."
It also leaves users with a lot fewer of those annoying white squares.