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Adobe Dropping iPhone App Development Technology After CS5

Illustration for article titled Adobe Dropping iPhone App Development Technology After CS5

Thanks to a change in Apple's iPhone Developer Program License Agreement, Adobe has decided to abandon the iPhone app building technology included in Flash CS5.

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Adobe says it's not planning on "any additional investments in that feature" after CS5 because of section 3.3.1 of Apple's iPhone Developer Program License Agreement:

Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. 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).

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This section indicates that tools such as that in Flash CS5 are forbidden when developing apps for the iPhone and it appears to make it pointless for Adobe to provide the feature according to Adobe's Mike Chambers:

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.

The feature will still ship with Flash CS5, but is there much of a point in using it? [The Loop]

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DISCUSSION

For everyone that thinks Apple's decision was a dick move:

I thought that as well until I read an article describing why Apple doesn't want stuff simply ported over. It has a lot to do with the past and stuff that went down decades ago, when the Mac was still in it's infancy.

A very short and boiled down version is that Apple designed all these great technologies into their OS that no one took advantage of because devs were just developing their software for the PC and doing a quick port to the Mac. Pretty soon the Mac's unique strengths were disappearing and they had no clear cut benefit over PC's because the software that ran on them was basically the same for both platforms. Because of devs being lazy Apple was losing it's edge, but at the end of the day it was the end user that was getting screwed the most because they had to use half-ass software.

Apple knows that when all is said and done it's their App Store that's going to give them the edge over the competition. Their stringent policies and unprecedented control over the hardware that runs on the iPhone platform has counterintuitively enabled devs to create really amazing 3rd party software. If you want to create an app for the platform you know without a shadow of a doubt what hardware will run it, what specs that hardware has, and how it will be presented to the end user. You can devote more time to take advantage of very specific features in the end device(s) because you know exactly what they are, and that there's only 3-4 devices to worry about in the first place. One example is an accelerometer. Most new phones have it, but because of the unique environment Apple's tight control has created, you don't just know that you can take advantage of one, you know exactly how sensitive it is and how your app will perform. This enables you to take full advantage of it's accuracy and know that your extra work will carry over to every device that might run it. All of that means better/unique apps, which makes the iPhone platform more appetizing to customers, which sells more phones, which gives you more customers, which makes you more money, which enables you to make better apps... and the cycle continues.

Apple doesn't want cookie cutter apps. They want iPhone apps developed for the iPhone. Period. If you're going to make something that runs the exact same on every phone then don't bother. They want an app that's built to take advantage of the unique characteristics they've built into their products. If they didn't insist on this then devs will go the same lazy route as before and pretty soon Apple's App Store will look and perform exactly like Android's. And just the same as when this happened with the Mac, it's the end user that really suffers.