A Take on Flash on the iPhone by Daring Fireball

Flash not being on the iPhone yet is quite telling of the type of company battles going on. I like what Apple produces many times but they love a locked down environment more than Microsoft, in fact Microsoft seems like an open company and open market that is for sure compared to Apple. I am starting to think it will not happen, Flash on the iPhone. I have to boycott the iPhone for the type of closed environment that only non-developers can love. There are certain technologies, open or not, that become base technologies that create a platform of commonality to even make a market possible, the mobile market seems to be doing everything to not let that happen.

Daring Fireball (John Gruber) has a good take on the situation.

There are currently two ways to develop software for the iPhone (and iPod Touch): using HTML/CSS/JavaScript web standards, and using Cocoa. Cocoa is proprietary, but from Apple’s perspective, it’s the good sort of proprietary: a competitive advantage completely owned and controlled by Apple. Apple doesn’t control the HTML/CSS/JavaScript web standards, but neither does anyone else. And Apple does control and own WebKit, which is by anyone’s measure the best mobile implementation of these standards today.

Flash, on the other hand, is (from Apple’s perspective) the wrong sort of proprietary — owned and controlled by another company. Apple and Adobe aren’t enemies, but they’re certainly competitors, and the history between the two companies is not entirely warm.1 In the grand scheme of things, I suspect Apple’s executives aren’t happy at all about Flash’s prominent and entrenched role in desktop computing, particularly the fact that Flash, rather than QuickTime, has become the de facto standard for video on the web.

It is all about control…

The mobile market is wide open in ways that the desktop market is not. E.g., in the mobile OS market, Microsoft isn’t even in first place, let alone a monopoly. And, in the mobile world, Flash is rare, not ubiquitous. Why would Apple help Adobe establish Flash as a de facto standard for the mobile web, too? If Flash does turn into a major force in the mobile world, Apple can always add it later. But why shouldn’t Apple push for a Flash-free mobile web future now?

As it stands today, Apple is dependent on no one other than itself for the software on the iPhone. Apple controls the source code to the whole thing, from top to bottom.2 Why cede any of that control to Adobe?

Unfortunately if Gruber is right the mobile market will continue to be a lag in areas such as gaming, vector based apps, video, competitive markets, and many other things that lead to innovation. I think some of the recent changes in mobile recently are extermely cool (iPhone, Android, new flashlite) but unfortunately they have added about 20 new directions that mobile developers have to develop for. It is anything but a consistent platform even within the company silos being created in the mobile market.

No Flash Support on iPhone, No Java Either

There is no Flash or Java support on the iPhone. This had leaked earlier but now that it is out this is verified and it pretty much sucks.

This limits the type of gaming market the iphone could become, or the type of shiny chrome apps that could be built with Flash. I guess games can be built with HTML5 and javascript (um thanks Jobs).

I was at least hoping for FLV support which would open up many clip sites for mobile, but then again this would compete with iTunes and QuickTime.

Current knowns about the iPhone dev platform:

  • there’s no Flash or Java support
  • there is PDF support
  • Quicktime is used for encoding and displaying video and audio
  • said video is encoded via H.264
  • with Safari on the iPhone, links can be embedded in web pages to allow phone calls from a click; this would be insanely useful for corporate directories and such
  • web pages are limited to 10 MB (!), Javascripts can only run for five seconds (maybe no games at all :( )
  • the iPhone’s browser user agent: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1A538a Safari/419.3

Also more info from here:

  • HTML5
  • 10MB max html size for web page
  • Javascript limited to 5 seconds run time
  • Javascript allocations limited to 10MB
  • 8 documents maximum loaded on the iPhone due to page view limitations
  • Quicktime used for audio and video
  • stylesheet device width:480px
  • there are no scroll bars or resize knobs. the iphone will automatically expand the content
  • new telephone links allows you to integrate phone calls directly from your webpage. remember this is only on safari.
  • built in google maps client for integrated mapping from your website
  • iPhone screen size 480×320
  • encode movie size 480×360
  • Links to movies on a web page will take users directly to video full screen playback

They are really controlling the experience early on, something I was hoping they wouldn’t do. Controlled markets is the current problem with mobile platforms in the US. I am sure better specs and flash might pop up in later versions of the iPhone in Apple fashion of increasing the hype on each version. Advancements such as 3G, more than 8GB storage, flash maybe, just not sure about this one due to the competition of Quicktime and iTunes. This severely limits the RIA web on the iPhone, at least this version of it.

UPDATE: Jesse Warden has links to using Flash content inside of Quicktime. This coud be a gaming option after all. It still limits the web browsing but in terms of interactives and games this could be good.

Flash on the iPhone via Quicktime: Part Deux

Apparently the “enabling” of Flash is as simple as clicking a button, correcting my original coverage.

Check out I2Fly’s coverage of iGiki.com’s iPhone Flash Games. Also, some of Gary’s ported Flash games worked.

Be sure to check out this out regarding a mobile web with no Flash.

The AIR iPhone Desktop Widget

merhl has created an Adobe AIR iPhone widget for using the AIR runtime that is pretty cool.  It only has some sample screens for most buttons in it but you can actually browse the web on it using the web browser and it flips sideways to show the screen flip.  Check out your website or blog on the desktop iPhone.  Get your AIR iPhone now!

 

merhl has made it auto updating with AIR so as he adds more functionality it will autoupdate.  That is one neat aspect of doing desktop app/widget work with flash and AS3 in AIR is that it is much more capable of syncing content and that content is usually extremely optimized for fast delivery and keeping it up to date.  Plus you can make chrome and shiny things with it.

Silverlight.com Goes to Apple

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I was doing some SEO research into how well the Silverlight name is positioned. I was surprised that http://www.silverlight.org goes to a Microsoft placeholder site but http://www.silverlight.com/ goes to an Apple placeholder.

This is probably a MAC user that owned this domain its whois has a contact with an @mac.com address. I wonder if they just his it big in a domain sale.

UPDATE: Well someone worked quickly it now has some business information and products. 

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