Building bridges, literally.
No, Adobe isn’t bringing Flash player support to iPhone. That would require cooperation from Cupertino, something that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is unlikely to sanction. Instead, the upcoming version of the latest Flash developer tools – Adobe Flash Professional CS5 – will offer Flash developers a way to output their finished creations as a native app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Since the source code is iPhone OS native, presumably through an Actionscript to Objective-C bridge, the resulting apps should qualify for submission to the iPhone App Store just as they would if they’d been built using Apple’s own development tools. This means that developers can re-factor their Flash creations for the iPhone and iPod touch, with Apple remaining in control of distribution.
In other words, while Adobe may have found a work-around of sorts for getting Flash content onto the iPhone (even if it’s no longer technically Flash), it’s hard to see how it doesn’t benefit Apple in equal measure. This isn’t Flash support as we know it – via a browser plug-in – and is likely to see tons of ‘casual’ Flash games arriving in the iPhone App Store, some of which will be paid-for apps where Apple takes a 30% cut. Adobe won’t see a penny of this directly but will hope to sell more copies of it CS5 developer tools with the wide ranging promise of ‘build once, run anywhere’.