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Adobe: iPhone 4 a "slap," but no retaliation planned

updated 08:05 pm EDT, Fri April 9, 2010

Adobe wants Apple to reconsider iPhone 4 SDK

Adobe Platform Evangelist Lee Brimelow today hit out at Apple's seeming decision to ban cross-compiling tools in the iPhone 4.0 SDK with accusations of excessive restrictions. He argued that there was no practical reason to make the move other than to exert "tyrannical control" and that it was part of a "crusade" against Adobe in which developers were unwillingly playing a role. He even went so far as to accuse Apple of trying to hurt Creative Suite 5, although the company had this observation pulled.

He added that the "hostile and despicable" move was evidence of a sharp contrast between the two cultures. The conversion of Flash to iPhone apps was simply meant to aid developers who have to write for more than one platform; Adobe allows others to do the same with plugins and other developer tools working on its own apps.

"All we want is to provide creative professionals an avenue to deploy their work to as many devices as possible," Brimelow said. "We are not looking to kill anything or anyone."

While Brimelow said he would personally boycott Apple until a "leadership change," he admitted that Adobe is still inspecting the terms to see if they actually include the hinted-at restrictions. He bluntly told Apple to "go screw [itself]."

It's not clear how many of the apparent restrictions are simply policy versus technical. One as yet unconfirmed rumor on Friday suggested it was actually multitasking requirements that would likely cause problems with apps first written with a non-native code system.

Most criticism has centered around worries that Apple is trying to prevent simple cross-platform development that could let a programmer port an app to Android, Windows Mobile or other platforms with relatively little effort. Adobe has readily courted most other mobile OS designs and has ported Flash to Android, webOS and eventually Symbian and Windows Phone.

by MacNN Staff



  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wouldn't Apple be taking the biggest risk

    of boycotting Flash compilers? I honestly don't understand what Adobe is getting all riled up about Apple's decision not to support Flash on it's own platform. Adobe probably has 95% of the internet on its side and yet they're upset because Apple prefers HTML5. Is Apple really the only company that doesn't want to use Flash and move to HTML5? Surely, there must be some others.

  1. jfelbab

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It couldn't be that Flash is c***...

    on the Mac platform. It degrades the user experience and makes the OS and platform itself seem flakey. Truth is that Flash is evil on the Mac and Adobe is responsible for that. Funny that they fail to take responsibility for that but rather point fingers at Apple. The whole platform is only as good as its weakest link and in this case that is Flash.

    I haven't had an issue with the Mac since I dumped Flash. How about Adobe doing something to improve their products for Apple.

  1. rvhernandez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hey Adobe

    How about you go s**** yourself?!

    Maybe I'll just ignore CS5 until there is a change in leadership at Adobe that tries not to s**** their customers out of $600 every 18 months for bug fixes!

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Sh_t just got real!

    This is turning out to be quite a spectacle. That's about the most vitriolic posting I think I've ever seen on a corporate blog. The "Go scr_w yourself, Apple" ending was real classy. His comparison of Apple's move to deny apps built with Flash to Adobe stopping a competing software vendor from working with the published Flash standard format is specious. The difference here is that Apple is controlling the quality of the software that will be distributed and run ON THEIR PLATFORM, where they are held accountable for the user experience. It's like how Adobe restricts how plugins can behave in Photoshop. Apple is probably right to fear the deluge of crapware cookie-cutter apps and "games" hitting the App Store once Flash CS5 comes out. They already have a huge selection of high quality app content fighting for attention, so why would Apple need to drastically lower the bar at this point? And all to create apps that don't support all the APIs, interface elements and latest features of Apple's own SDK. Where's the motive for Apple to allow these apps?

  1. coffeetime

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Adobe's Solutions

    Adobe's focus is too much on criticism and blaming. They should focus more on coming out with a new software that builds interactive animation based on HTML 5. And Adobe should put those Flash developers to work because their jobs are the on the line. Many graphic designing and advertising companies are drifting away from Flash. The clock is ticking.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. whoa_now

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This comment applies to the original report as well as the responders. This is a PERSONAL blog, not an Adobe-sanctioned blog. These are not Adobe's words. Surely they can hide behind that to an extent, but this is not official in any way. While I will not defend either of these companies, it is irresponsible to report this as an Adobe response.

  1. macentric

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Adobe Should Discontinue CS for Mac...

    for no other reason than to provide an opening for a new competitor in the design software market. Purchasing Macromedia was the worst decision that Adobe has made in the past decade or so as it they gobbled up their largest, and almost last, competitor.

    At this point I would go as far as saying that Adobe has a monopoly on the design market. This is evidenced by the seemingly pointless upgrade to CS5 less than 24 months from the release of CS4. As others have mentioned it, Adobe is basically charging $600 for bug fixes while discontinuing bug fixes on the previous generation. Even Microsoft is still releasing patches for Windows XP and Windows 2003 7+ years from the release of each product.

    Many have stated that Apple is attempting to harm Adobe's business, but Adobe refuses to make use of many Apple built technologies that could significantly improve performance on the Mac versions of CS, this while optimizing code heavily for Windows and leaving 68k and PPC code in the Mac versions. Adobe has tried to make themselves look better by stating that they released free updates to PPC and a beta for Intel (see John Nack's blog) but in reality Apple pushed developers to move to Cocoa over 10 years ago and only relented to release Carbon as an effort to appease developers. For every subsequent revision of Mac OS X, Apple systematically deprecated old APIs and as many vestiges of OS 9 that they could, meanwhile trying to produce a solid modern framework for software development.

    Adobe is simply trying to make the best out of their previous development, which is a good business decision for them, but to effectively move the platform forward Apple had to make choices like killing 64-bit Carbon. While I understand that Adobe had to make a tough decision in how to move forward, they are still releasing new versions of CS without completing the current versions or fixing bugs with software that was released within the previous 2 years. I would even go as far as to say that Microsoft treats their customers better today. Wow!

    Also, for all of those complaining about problems for tools like the Unity game engine, doing a little research you will find that Unity generates an Xcode project for the iPhone. To function properly this would have to generate code that compiles natively with one of the various compilers that Apple has made available as of late. As this is generating native code it will likely not be subject to these restrictions.

    Lastly, will someone please tell me how a mouse-over is going to work on a touch enabled OS? Please someone answer this question and tell us what Flash actually provides beyond HTML5 besides a scripting language that designers can understand. Oh wait, they are both scripting or markup languages that don't actually require substantial knowledge of a high level programming language to develop applications. All this is going to do is create a lot of shovel ware that will likely run poorly. Why should we believe that Adobe will optimize their code for ARM on Mac OS X any better than they have for Intel or PPC on Mac OS X.

    Rant over.


  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969


    More nonsense...

    Are there two Adobes? Or is this still the one that refused to use xCode for over a year and got caught flat-footed on the switch to Intel across their product line?

    If MS can rewrite Windows from the bottom up, certainly Adobe can rewrite the steaming pile of spaghetti that is Flash and get it to work well across platforms.

  1. poolmouse

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Adobe's failure

    If Adobe hadn't tried so hard to align all development (PC/Mac) to reduce costs, which was a complete farce, maybe they wouldn't be in such a bad position? I'm wondering how my Mac OS X 10.6 systems, which are extremely clean, could be so littered with files and folders that are clearly distributed with total disregard to Apple's Software Delivery guidelines. I hold Adobe development management responsible for the this mess. I have been a long time Adobe user, purchaser and supporter. Now I spend more time convincing clients (successfully) to stop spending money on Adobe stuff. Adobe needs to shake down their development group(s). Fire the old, fat cats...hire younger, smarter developers who are *SMART* and willing to adhere to established guidelines. Then Adobe can start to clean up their blemished reputation.

    Don Montalvo, TX

    Comment buried. Show
  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's pretty clear

    that Apple is creating a Photoshop killer.
    That's what this is really all about.

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