iPhone will/won't support Javascript and Flash

Summary:I got a little concerned earlier when David Pogue posted in his Ultimate iPhone FAQs List, Part 2 that the Safari Web browser for iPhone would not support Java or Flash.

iPhone minus Flash and Java
I got a little concerned earlier when David Pogue posted in The Ultimate iPhone FAQ that the Safari Web browser for iPhone would not support Java or Flash.

This got my heart racing, and not in a good way. What good is a Web browser that doesn't support Flash and if not Java, at least Javascript? It reminded me of the hobbled browser that shipped with the T-Mobile Sidekick I & II which didn't support Javascript (For the record, the SKIII supports Javascript).

Just about any Web site with a drop-down menu navigation system wouldn't work without Javascript. And without it, you can pretty much forget about doing any kind of ecommerce. A huge percentage of sites these days rely on Flash and Javascript and leaving these off the iPhone could kill the product.

German magazine MacWelt came to my rescue when they asked Apple Germany about iPhone and they stated (English translation) that the Safari browser on iPhone will offer Flash and Java:

Which Internet technologies run on that iPhone?
Apple wants to us according to own data as much as possible Plug into for safari to support, did not want however opposite not to commit itself, which will be. Flash and Java will belong to however surely.

Pogue has since updated his FAQ with the exact text of his interview with Steve Jobs:

Markoff: “What about all those plugins that live within Safari now, like Flash or like Java or like JavaScript?”

Jobs: “Well, JavaScript’s built into the Phone. Sure.”

Markoff: “And what are you thinking about Flash and Java?”

Jobs: “Java’s not worth building in. Nobody uses Java anymore. It’s this big heavyweight ball and chain.”

Markoff: “Flash?”

Jobs: “Well, you might see that.”

Markoff: “What about YouTube–”

Jobs: “Yeah, YouTube—of course. But you don’t need to have Flash to show YouTube. All you need to do is deal with YouTube. And plus, we could get ‘em to up their video resolution at the same time, by using h.264 instead of the old codec.”

So the DEFINITIVE answer now is: NO Java, MAYBE Flash.

Clearly this hasn't been worked out yet. How important is Flash and Javascript to you in a smartphone? 

[poll id=23] 

Topics: Open Source


Jason D. O'Grady developed an affinity for Apple computers after using the original Lisa, and this affinity turned into a bona-fide obsession when he got the original 128 KB Macintosh in 1984. He started writing one of the first Web sites about Apple (O'Grady's PowerPage) in 1995 and is considered to be one of the fathers of blogging.... Full Bio

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