Wall Street Journal: Flash is coming to the iPhone

Wall Street Journal: Flash is coming to the iPhone

Summary: According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Apple has said that the iPhone browser will ship with a plug-in for Flash. No details yet on whether or not this is Flash 7, Flash 9 or something like Flash Lite.

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TOPICS: iPhone
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Wall Street Journal: Flash is coming to the iPhoneKendall Whitehouse of the Wharton School pointed me to an article in the Wall Street Journal article today that talked about the lack of adoption by mobile users in browsing the web (the link is behind the Wall Street Journal pay vault but it's titled Browsing Barriers: Consumers can use their cellphones to surf the Web; Why aren't they?). In it, the author, Sarmad Ali, quotes Avi Greengart of Current Analysis as saying Apple WILL be including Flash with the iPhone:

Mr. Greengart says Apple informed him the iPhone browser will have a plug-in for Flash when it is released in June, though he says Flash was not installed on the prototype he tested at Macworld. Nokia and Sony Ericsson say they are working with Adobe Systems Inc., the maker of Flash, to resolve the problem on its browsers.

I've got an email out to both Sarmad and Avi so I'll update the post when I get more info, but it looks like when the iPhone comes out, it will include a version of the Flash Player. Hopefully this means we can run flash based Rich Internet Applications right from the iPhone, though I have no idea if they'll include Flash 7, Flash 9 or a flavor of Flash Lite.

Update 1: Hmm, after doing some digging I found this post on iPhone note which pointed to an article in the Chicago Sun Times that Apple would be writing all of the plugins for the iPhone in house:

The lockdown on software is an area of ongoing suspicious interest. I noticed that the iPhone's pre-release browser was missing some plug-ins. I asked if Real and Macromedia et al. would be writing media plug-ins for the iPhone's Web browser, and was told that no, the browser would ship with plug-ins, but Apple would be writing them all in-house. Odd, that.

I can't imagine how much engineering it would take for Apple to roll their own version of the player or what the core feature set would be. Video seems to be important, so maybe that's all they care about. Very curious. 

Update 2: Just talked to Avi and he stressed that Apple didn't specify a date when talking about iPhone support and they also didn't say anything about which version they were talking about. Avi also got to use the iPhone for a bit and wrote up his thoughts about the device.

Topic: iPhone

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  • Would that be necessary?

    I not so sure that Apple needs to create a new Flash plug-in.

    Since the iPhone runs on a "sub-set" of OS X, wouldn't their task be to get Adobe's current Flash plug-in for OS X to work on the iPhone?

    Also, would they be working on a stand-alone version? Or are they trying to get Safari to work on the iPhone and thus they need to get the current Flash plug-in to work in Safari?

    It's all speculation, right now, of course. The fact that this product won't be around for a few more months, and that Apple is still working on the software makes one wonder what else might be in the works.
    leifwells
    • RE: Would that be necessary?

      No idea Leif. I always assumed they would work with Adobe to get the player on the phone, but maybe Apple has totally lost its mind. I just don't see how this road doesn't go through Adobe which probably burns Steve Jobs up.
      ryanstewart