Flash on the iPhone – Flying Pigs Sighed over London


After Steve Jobs’s 2007 concession that Adobe’s Flash would be too slow on the iPhone and that a lite version wasn’t “capable enough to be used with the Web”, many potential users and even some Apple zealots were left in the cold.  Proper Flash and Java implementations are fundamental building blocks of the internet.  Since the launch of the iPhone, rumours and whispers of Flash and Java have tickled the ears of iPhone fans and users.  However, only recently have rumours from reputable sources trickled in from blogs and newssites – many of these sites rely heavily on Java and/or Flash interfaces.  

In a recent interview Bloomberg TV spoke with of Shantanu Narayen ,CEO of Adobe Systems about the state of Flash for the iPhone.  Apple and Adobe have been cooperating but, Narayen made it evident that there is still much to do.  “The ball is in our court. The onus is on us to deliver”, he said. Installed on over 800 million computers and with millions of websites reliant on the proprietary system, Flash had better be delivered to the iPhone.  Let me restate that:  Flash had better be delivered to the ‘real internet’.  

The ‘real internet’ however, is not the relic Apple would have us believe, consisting merely of news feeds, YouTube and and the iTunes store.  The real internet is in fact, not spelled A-P-P-L-E but instead, begins with an ‘i’ and has nothing to do with Apple’s family of products or software suites. Without proper Java and with an internet devoid of Flash, the iPhone tippy-toes far around game sites, design portals, interactive media, etc., that are integral parts of the internet and of companies’ forays into the wild wild web. Sites that rely on imbedded Java applications become grey ‘x’ marks – rendering study, reading, file-sharing and many other applets unusable.  Company’s logos, blog sites, news feeds – are also zombie fodder.  

YouTube have made a large catalogue of their videos viewable via H264 decoding – a move which enables Apple to dig trenches around the real issue.  Users are left with expensive tickets to the ‘real internet’ that are unable to admit anyone near enough to the pitch to enjoy the game.  Ho hum.

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