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Why Apple doesn’t want Flash on iOS

If you want to know why Apple wants Flash kept away from iOS, you should ask Palm:

Adobe hasn’t given any signs that it’s close to porting Flash to webOS, Palm said in an AT&T online app development seminar on Thursday. When asked about the multiple delays, a representative said that Palm didn’t ‘know what the hold-up is’ with getting it ready. Adobe itself hasn’t commented on the state of the webOS version or of other platforms.

Would Adobe keep Flash updated for iPhone? Yes – as long as it wanted to. And the moment that it didn’t want to, or had other priorities, or simply hit some problems, Apple would have the millstone of an old development platform around its neck.

Apple has been in that position before, and it wont allow itself to go there again.

UPDATE: According to what I’m going to call “informed sources”, Electronista’s report doesn’t represent what was actually said at the event. In fact, what was said was that Palm “had no update” to make – which means that it didn’t have anything to announce at that time, not that it didn’t know what the situation was, which is what Electronista is implying.

In the comments to the story, Palm’s Chuq Von Rospach posted this:

Adobe and Palm continue to work together to bring Flash Player 10.1 to WebOS as quickly as possible. At present, the integration work between the Player and WebOS is undergoing extensive testing to ensure we deliver a high quality implementation.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that the point I’m making here is wrong. Having a third party who has significant levels of control over your platform is exactly what Apple is seeking to avoid with its effective ban on Flash.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Constable Odo

    Agreed that Apple cannot afford to have problems with outside companies’ software. Imagine if Apple started support using Flash and then started to have problems with it and Adobe was taking a long time to fix it. Apple might then have to stop support and that would certainly affect users. It would be best from the start if Apple doesn’t offer Flash. I believe Apple is just playing it safe with its mobile platform because so many users depend on a stable browsing experience. I don’t think Adobe can live up to Apple’s expectations of a good browsing experience. If Google and its users are willing to take the chance with Adobe’s present mobile Flash implementation, then good for them. Let them be the guinea pigs.

  • http://tech.phreadz.com Kosso

    This story seems strange to me, since I have tried and tested Flash 10.1 on WebOS at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco a few weeks ago.

    Admittedly, it wasn’t a final version, but it did work fine – though a little slow compared to the Android devices I also tested it on.

    Here are some photos showing our flash from Phreadz running on a Palm Pre:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/camoby/4582489164/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/camoby/4581859417/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/camoby/4581858697/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/camoby/4581858391/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/camoby/4581858115/

  • James Katt

    Palm’s problems with Adobe Flash goes to show how wise Apple’s decision was to block Flash on the iPhone platform.

    Imagine if users were dependent on Flash apps then Adobe delays updating Flash because it is lazy as always. And because Adobe favors updating Windows and Android FIRST. Then all those apps are going to crash all over the place on the iPhone. It would make the iPhone platform unstable. It would give the iPhone platform a bad reputation. And Apple would not be able to fix it. That is a horrible position for Apple to be in. It would make it less competitive than other platforms. And it would not be able to do anything about it.

    Kick Adobe out. Lazy bums.

  • Ian Betteridge

    Kosso: See my update, above, which I think explains it… there is a little more to this one than meets the eye…

  • http://www.matthewfabb.com Matthew Fabb

    Another article ( http://bit.ly/aYq32h ) has a quote from Michael Chaize from Adobe giving an update on the mobile version of Adobe AIR and they say that AIR is quite advanced on Palm, but there’s been delays because of the HP buyout . There’s no specific mention of Flash Player 10.1, but since it runs inside of AIR I assume that it might be a similar situation.

    That said as part of Adobe’s Open Screen Project to get Flash Player on many devices as possible, Palm would get the source code to the Flash Player (just as Apple would if they had joined the Open Screen Project). Once again, there’s articles out there talking about the Android team working on the source code to Flash Player with Adobe. So if Palm or Apple though Adobe was taking too long on something or needed some sort of quick fix, they could actually do that on their own.

    Also to James Katt, since Flash Player 9, the Windows, Mac and Linux version of Flash Player have all been released at the same time. There’s been some delay on getting video hardware acceleration on the Mac, but that’s because Apple took a while to open up the API for that. Also according to Adobe, Apple opened up the Core Animation API in the latest version of Safari to plugins, and Adobe is now using this in the Flash Player so that graphic rendering is now faster on a Mac than on a PC.

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  • http://twitter.com/WaltFrench Walt French

    “Of course, this doesn’t mean that the point I’m making here is wrong.”

    I recently read a post observing that after you fail to see wild elephants in the Yosemite Valley for a few years, you can safely conclude that indeed, there AREN’T ANY. Absence of proof CAN INDEED BE proof of absence.

    So I’d say, yes, your point is good, and getting better every day.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    With all due respect, I think you misread the point I’m making, here Walt. Even when Flash appears on Palm, the point still stands that as a vendor it’s not necessarily wise to hand a third party a significant lever of control over your platform. Whatever the reasons for the continued delay of Flash on WebOS, this point stands.