updated 08:35 am EST, Thu March 6, 2008
iPhone May Have Flash
Politics, not performance, are the reasons why Flash is not already available on the iPhone, according to a claim by FastCompany's Robert Scoble. Although not yet corroborated by additional sources, the tip rebuffs company chief Steve Jobs' claims that software limitations have prevented the phone's mobile browser from supporting the plug-in. Instead, the comments are reportedly a pressure tactic to have Adobe drop demands to use its own PDF engine on the phone, allowing Apple to use its own.
A functional version of Flash has allegedly been running on the device for "quite a while," contradicting Jobs' assertions that a mid-grade version of Flash, which balances performance needs with features, does not yet exist. The iPhone is entirely capable of full desktop Flash, according to the claimed source. A "Chumby with half the CPU horsepower can run Flash 8," the tip says.
While unverified, the tip comes just hours ahead of Apple's discussion of its enterprise and third-party development plans, and as competitors increasingly push Flash as an advantage for their own mobile browsers. Nokia stresses that several of its Nseries smartphones support Flash Lite and recently demonstrated a full web experience that included full HTML rendering along with Flash. The company's N800 series Internet tablets also received full Flash 9 support last year.