Say It Ain’t So Cupertino.

Town Crier IconI guess I should have seen this coming… a little sub-surface investigation would have raised the warning flags, but being a long-time advocate/participant of the open-source vibe, I suppose I still insist on seeing the world as a primarily altruistic organism with its glass half full as opposed to half empty… this week however, Apple has pushed me a little closer to disenchantment as reports hit the wire that Apple has no intention of allowing the Flash player to run on its most popular line of iPhones.

We talked about this on the air a couple months back when Patrick had just attended an Adobe summit. When I asked him what he knew about any impending release for Flash Player on the iPhone, he claimed to be sworn to secrecy… although I doubt this turn of events was what he was keeping secret.

As it turns out, supporting Flash would be a move that directly impacts the profitability of Apple’s new App Store… Flash, which started life humbly as software that allowed you to build those nifty web-animations and banners, has evolved into a full-blown platform capable of spitting out applications of its own. Long story short, developers would simply need to write their App in Flash, post it to a web page and thus totally circumvent the need to deal with Apple or its App Store at all… big problem for Apple…

But so what… This is just plain wrong… so much of the web today is Flash-based that viewing it with the Flash erased is noticeably incomplete… so much so that I rarely use Safari on my iPhone… for that reason.

A live by the sword die by the sword proposition I guess… I’ve always loved that Apple hardware was a proprietary deal, it has always made for far more reliable machines and my experience has proven this fact again and again… but I never anticipated that Apple would use their power to perpetrate this sort of censorship, which I guess just illuminates a particular naivete on my part… but is it so bad to expect a company based on the empowerment of the people to practice a little altruism?

I guess so… a read of the iPhone SDK Agreement clearly states the following;

“An Application may not itself install or launch other executable code by any means, including without limitation through the use of a plug-in architecture, calling other frameworks, other APIs or otherwise,” reads clause 3.3.2 of the iPhone SDK agreement. “No interpreted code may be downloaded and used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple’s Published APIs and built-in interpreter(s).”

The jury is still out on what the eventual outcome of all this might be as there has been no official statement from Apple… but if the sentiments leaking out of Adobe and other sources are to be considered… It’s not looking that good… so one thing I’m not going to be doing while awaiting the ultimate decision is paying for apps at the App Store… to me that would be a vote against what I thought Apple stood for.

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One Response to “Say It Ain’t So Cupertino.”

  1. monkeycoder Says:

    In fairness to Apple it should be said that adding Flash to the iPhone would create usability issues in regards to bandwidth.

    By many accounts AT&T’s 3G network is a source of serious frustration. As Flash is in essence a development platform all its own with much of its content requiring above average bandwidth to perform properly, perhaps the time for Flash content on Mobile devices hasn’t yet arrived.

    That said, I maintain that if Apple inevitably decides to ban it from the iPhone to reduce competition to its App Store… that would be whack… sho’nuff.

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