We now know that third-party developers wanting to make software for the iPhone will be limited to building browser-based apps (see my post ‘ iPhone’s support for 3rd party apps won’t please everyone‘). And according to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, that’s not a bad thing as anybody who knows how to write modern web-standards-based apps can develop for the iPhone. But what he didn’t say is whether that would include support for Flash, the technology that powers many interactive web sites as well as online video found on sites like YouTube.
My assumption is that Flash won’t work on the iPhone, otherwise Jobs would have surely mentioned it in order to further address the concerns of the developers gathered in San Francisco.
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.”
Since that interview was published, Apple has agreed a partnership with YouTube which will see the video sharing site re-encode its catalogue of content into the AppleTV and iPhone’s preferred video codec, h.264 — lessening the need for either device to support Flash (for video at least).
What isn’t clear is why Apple would choose not to include a Flash plug-in with the iPhone. The device has plenty of horse power to drive all sorts of video and other media playback, so I can’t imagine it’s a technical issue.