Yes, Flash has been brought to the iPhone. No, you can't view Flash-based Web content on the iPhone. Kind of a rough deal, right?
But wait, not all is lost! In this case, luck befalls the developers yet again. At this year's Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles, Adobe (news, site) announced that Flash Professional CS5, the next upgrade to the Flash developer package, will be able to creative native iPhone apps for distribution through the App Store.
The announcement is only half cool for obvious reasons. Not only are users getting the short end of the stick, but both Adobe and Apple have, on various occasions, claimed to have a Flash player for the iPhone in the works. After seeing Flash work its magic on Android, you can probably imagine how hard some iPhone users are lusting:
Unfortunately, neither company has ever elaborated on the planned support, and this new avenue for developers is the first sign that such a thing could ever be released at all. Whose fault is that? We're not exactly sure, but Kevin Lynch, chief technology officer at Adobe, claims his company is more than ready for the next step in collaboration:
“The engineering teams at Adobe have succeeded in bringing the latest Flash technology to the iPhone, opening the way for the Flash community to deploy to the App Store. When Apple is ready to bring the full Web browsing experience to iPhone users, we'll be ready to bring Flash Player to Safari.”
For now, CS5 allows a kind of loophole. Using the tool, Flash developers can convert Flash apps to work on the iPhone, even though full support for the multimedia platform does not exist on the device. Both new code and existing web content can be used to build apps, and because code and assets are reusable across Flash Platform runtimes, developers should have an easier time targeting other mobile and desktop environments as well.
The silver lining for users is that the loophole will probably mean a surge of new--and maybe even cool--applications. In fact, a few CS5-based demo applications from third-party developers are already available at the Apple App Store.
If you like what you see and hear, you can sign up to be notified when the official beta for CS5 is released.