Adobe Developing iPhone Flash Player, No Word on Safari Plug-InS

Despite Steve's "HELL NO!", Adobe is developing a Flash player for the iPhone. Adobe's CEO, Shantanu Narayen said to the WSJ that they have evaluated the software developer tools and they think they can develop an iPhone Flash player on their own. A Flash player plug-in for Safari, however, would be much more difficult, if not impossible with the current SDK. But there are other possibilities, from a development point of view, which could actually be better for iPhone users.

[Editor's note: The iPhone SDK limits what applications can do, and doesn't provide with a plug-in architecture for Safari, which is an application that Apple wants to keep as lean and stable as possible. There are, however, many possibilities open that could make this happen.

First, perhaps the most unlikely, Apple could provide Adobe with the framework they need to do a Safari plug-in. Even while Apple doesn't want to develop or license Flash from Adobe, they could be happy to enable the possibility. It won't be the first time that Apple has given Adobe this kind of special treatment: in the past, the Cupertino company had provided with special code to accomodate the migration of Photoshop into Mac OS X, and one could argue that Flash on the Internet is as important as Photoshop on the Mac.

The other possibility—which could be closer to reality—is that Flash in the iPhone could be a stand-alone player, just like Quicktime is now: a player that could be launched when you click on Flash content in Safari. While it may not sound perfect, as some Flash content works alongside HTML, this will easily put the majority of Flash content in the hands of iPhone users. And instead of having to work within the limitations of Safari, the player will fully enjoy the possibilities of running stand-alone, with a dedicated interface, and full access to the the hardware, running at full screen.

This last option will not require any major changes on Apple's part. The acknowledgement of Flash and Shockwave content in pages will be enough, adding a play button over it to launch the player which will grab these resources, being video or fully interactive applications. —Jesús Díaz] [WSJ]