Adobe Axes Flash CS5 iPhone Exporter

No Flash for Apple iPhone As previously reported, Apple has made it quite difficult for Adobe by banning its Flash CS5 Flash-to-iPhone converter a mere 4 days before the public release of Adobe Flash CS5. Nearly two weeks later, Adobe has responded by announcing they are ending development on the Flash CS5 iPhone compiler.

Mike Chamber, the Adobe Flash Platform project manager, made the announcement in his blog, saying:

    While it appears that Apple may selectively enforce the terms, it is our belief that Apple will enforce those terms as they apply to content created with Flash CS5. Developers should be prepared for Apple to remove existing content and applications (100+ on the store today) created with Flash CS5 from the iTunes store. We will still be shipping the ability to target the iPhone and iPad in Flash CS5. However, we are not currently planning any additional investments in that feature.

Mike also comments about the merits of the endeavor:

    So, was all of the work on the iPhone packager a waste of time and resources? No, I don’t believe so. We proved that:

      1. There is no technical reason that Flash can’t run on the iPhone
      2. Developers can create well performing and compelling content for the device with Flash

While I understand he’s trying to find a silver lining in this murky cloud, I don’t think anyone ever questioned Flash’s ability to run on an iPhone. Steve Jobs seemed more concerned with Flash’s likelihood to drain battery life than with its ability to run properly.

Finally, Mike writes that if Apple won’t have them, they will be pushing forward with the release of Flash for the Google Android.

There hasn’t been a public fight between two big powerhouses like Adobe and Apple in recent memory and it betrays the two companies’ roots. Once upon a time, Adobe’s Photoshop product was the reason you bought a Mac. It was Apple’s biggest competitive advantage, at a time when it didn’t have many. As the Adobe creative suite grew, the number of designers dependent on Apple’s products grew with it. It is hard to imagine that two companies who evolved together and owe each other for their success could have such a falling out. If Adobe really wanted to hurt Apple, they could stop releasing their creative suite products for Mac. While last month this would have sounded like an outlandish prospect, this month after such a public feud between the two companies, it seems well within the realm of possibilities.

Apple blocks Adobe Flash CS5 iPhone Exporter

No Flash for Apple iPhone Fresh off the heels of the release of Flash Builder 4, Apple has announced it will be blocking any attempts by Adobe to create iPhone applications via a Flash CS5 iPhone compiler. Apple made this change following its iPhone 4 preview media event.

The new language in the iPhone SDK:

Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

In other words, one the shiniest, most powerful, most interesting new features of Flash CS5, namely the Packager for iPhone is dead exactly 4 days before the release of Adobe CS5. Adobe has acknowledged the issue.

Despite my previous article critical of Flash Builder 4, I am quite disappointed by this news. Since Flash has been banned from Apple portable devices since their inception, this could have been an excellent way to bring tens of thousands of applications to these devices without any of the risks Steve Jobs (pictured here) has publically chastised Flash for. It seems a like win-win compromise for everyone; Adobe gets Flash applications on the iPhone, and iPhone keeps free of any Adobe-made plug-ins since technically Apple is providing the run-time environment.

I would like to say the two companies will work it out, but the timing of the SDK change seems pointedly directed at Adobe. I guess it is safe to say Apple still holds a grudge.

Update Over the last few days there’s been numerous public fighting between the two companies. Now, sources close to the issue claim Adobe will file a suit against Apple. While I disagree with what Apple is doing, I agree with their ability to block Flash from their devices.

What a lot of Adobe fanatics tend to forget is that Flash is a proprietary platform, not an open web standard. It would be like a developer creating a specialized web plug-in and then demanding it be supported on a cell phone without the ability to modify/change the plug-in. In short, I’d only be on Adobe’s side if they made Flash an open standard that anyone can develop on. It’s ironic that Adobe is claiming foul on Apple’s proprietary platform when they make the only Flash/Flex compilers in the world (the only one anyone uses, to be precise).