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Is Apple Working On iPhone Flash Rival?

Apple CEO Steve Jobs disappointed many iPhone fans Tuesday when he said that Flash just wasn’t suited to the device. The reason? Flash Lite is, well, too lightweight, and regular Flash (Flash fat) is too unwieldy. “There’s this missing product in the middle,” Jobs said during Apple’s annual shareholder meeting.

It’s hardly subtle, but Jobs is master of the nuanced phrase. He starts off by dissing a technology out of hand, moves to saying “that it hasn’t been done right, yet” and then suddenly springs Apple’s take on an unsuspecting world – the decidedly PDA-like iPhone being a case in point.

Quick as a Flash?

Steve’s Flash comment is so wide open you could drive a coach and horses through it. He could be doing one of three things here:

  1. Telling Mac laggard Adobe to pull its finger out and actually develop an iPhone-friendly version
  2. Hinting that Apple might look to a rival source – like Microsoft’s fledgling Silverlight, for example (possible, but unlikely); or
  3. That it’s quietly cooking up something of its own – perhaps as part of the iPhone SDK which is being launched later today.

There is, of course, a fourth option – no Flash at all – but we’ll come back to that in a minute.

Adobe / Apple = love / hate

The relationship between Apple and Adobe has long been a fractious, but interdependent one. Much of the Mac’s fanbase is made up of creative professionals, the kind of people who use Adobe Photoshop CS3 and InDesign on a daily basis. When Adobe launches a new version of its software, Mac sales spike – creatives prefer Macs and so it goes around.

The problem is that both Apple and Adobe are inconstant lovers. During Apple’s worst years in the early 1990s, Adobe set about wooing the Wintel world. Its Mac releases have often lagged behind those of its Windows rivals, and Adobe along with Microsoft were among the last to make their apps Intel Mac native. Much to Steve Jobs’ chagrin.

Apple too isn’t afraid of stomping all over Adobe’s turf either. Adobe was forced to abandon the Mac version of Premiere in 2003, following a string of movie editing apps from Cupertino, including iMovie and Final Cut Pro. Premiere was revived last year. Apple’s pro photo management app Aperture is also a direct rival to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

iPhone needs Flash

So where does this leave us? As Graham Barlow, editor of our sister title MacFormat, puts it:

“Whether Steve Jobs likes it or not, there is a need for Flash or its equivalent on the iPhone.”

Jobs’ comment on Tuesday suggests he’d like Adobe to come up with its own, but if that fails Apple could conceivably license the underlying Adobe-owned technology and serve up its version. Apple’s powerful enough and rich enough to cough up the wonga or indulge in a spot of brinkmanship.

Or it could go for option 4 – stick to its guns and not do Flash at all. To MacFormat’s mind – and mine – that looks unlikely. However Daniel Diliger of Mac site Roughly Drafted saw plenty of reasons last July why Apple would do just that.

He cites the poor performance of the then current version Flash on Mac OS X, including memory leaks, frequent crashes, the poor design of much Flash web content, and Flash’s ability to rapidly drain mobile batteries.

Adobe had better up its game then – and soon – if it wants any piece of the Apple iPhone’s future.

What do you think? Does the iPhone really need Flash, or a semblance of it? Let us know below.

PS: This has just popped up on my RSS: Silicon Valley blogger Robert Scoble has reported an unsubstantiated rumor that Flash is already running on the iPhone – and that Jobs’ rubbishing of it is just a negotiating tactic. We shall see.

Directly sourced from http://www.Techradar.com

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