Kendall 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.
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.