updated 09:45 am EST, Tue November 18, 2008
iPhone Flash a no-go?
The iPhone is unlikely to carry Flash even if its hardware technically supports it, a report claims. Although Flash is in widespread use on the Internet, running everything from animation to full applications, Wired notes that section 3.3.2 of the iPhone SDK specifically prohibits the downloading and use of interpreted code in apps, unless the APIs and interpreters are already preloaded. This by definition bars third-party plug-ins, whether from Adobe or any other developer.
Apple is moreover said to have a vested interest in blocking Flash, as while existing web applications are fairly limited, Flash is powerful enough that it could draw business away from both the App Store and iTunes' music and video sections. Apple may feel particularly threatened by sites such as Hulu, which lets people watch ad-supported movies and TV shows through Flash.
It is argued that the only version of Flash iPhone owners may see in the future would be equivalent to Flash Lite, stripped down to essential functionality. This could however be a necessity, as Flash does risk draining memory, battery and processing power. Flash is also a notorious for periodic security holes, which would only add to Apple's troubleshooting concerns.
In spite of this Adobe is known to be working on a version of Flash for ARM processors, which would theoretically allow the technology on iPhones with Apple's permission. The difficulty is that Apple CEO Steve Jobs has insisted on providing more functionality than Flash Lite, but with similarly low demands.