Steve Jobs doesn't know what the iPhone can do, says Adobe

Flash on iPhone
Yes you can: the Flash South Park Avatar app on the iPhone

Adobe has brought Flash to the iPhone, at least for standalone apps, without any help from Apple – after Steve Jobs famously declared last spring that Flash ran too slowly to be usable on the iPhone.

Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch mocked the situation at the MAX conference in a MythHackers video skit with Adobe senior VP Johnny Loiacono.

Lynch read out a letter from "Steve in Cupertino", saying "it's not possible to run Flash on the iPhone" and the pair then proceeded to test the myth using a blender, high voltage, a steamroller, high explosives and finally the Adobe engineering team – before showing off standalone Flash apps running on the iPhone.

Flash Product Marketing Manager Adrian Ludwig contrasted Apple's lack of co-operation with the other smartphone companies who have joined Adobe's Open Screen project: "With all the other partners we're working with, we're getting very strong support in getting hardware level co-operation to get the performance and playback on these devices."

Adobe flash on iphone video

NO FLASH: I don't believe it; the lack of Flash puzzles the Adobe MythHackers

Although he admitted that "there's also some hardware work that would be required to get the performance that people expect", he claimed the main problem was not performance but licensing and access.

"Just-in-time compilation is specifically forbidden in Apple licences and there's a restriction on runtime interpretation of code. And in order to run in the browser, we need Apple to support the APIs," said Ludwig.

"We need Apple's co-operation to integrate Flash in Safari," Ludwig added, "and we hope we can do that over time."

Flash on iphone

HERE GOES: The first attempt to integrate Flash with the iPhone; will it blend?

He emphasised end-user desire for Flash: "We see about 3 million users of iPhones visit and request the Flash player on a monthly basis".

But CTO Lynch delivered a subtle warning that Apple is no longer the only smartphone game in town: "The smartphone space is going to become quite diverse; there are going to be a lot of excellent operating systems."

Flash on iphone

FLASH ON IPHONE: A Flash game – running on the iPhone

Lynch also suggested Apple can't afford to repeat past mistakes by being too proprietary. "It's like the early days of PC computing; people who are playing well with others are those who are going to get the bigger share. The Mac introduced the mouse into the mainstream but it didn't get the share of the marketplace. Windows came along and got a lot of share, mainly by playing well with others. It's like watching the movie again and interestingly it's many of the same players."

Watch the full skit below:


Mary (Twitter, Google+, website) started her career at Future Publishing, saw the AOL meltdown first hand the first time around when she ran the AOL UK computing channel, and she's been a freelance tech writer for over a decade. She's used every version of Windows and Office released, and every smartphone too, but she's still looking for the perfect tablet. Yes, she really does have USB earrings.