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iPhone already running Flash?

updated 08:35 am EST, Thu March 6, 2008

iPhone May Have Flash

Politics, not performance, are the reasons why Flash is not already available on the iPhone, according to a claim by FastCompany's Robert Scoble. Although not yet corroborated by additional sources, the tip rebuffs company chief Steve Jobs' claims that software limitations have prevented the phone's mobile browser from supporting the plug-in. Instead, the comments are reportedly a pressure tactic to have Adobe drop demands to use its own PDF engine on the phone, allowing Apple to use its own.

A functional version of Flash has allegedly been running on the device for "quite a while," contradicting Jobs' assertions that a mid-grade version of Flash, which balances performance needs with features, does not yet exist. The iPhone is entirely capable of full desktop Flash, according to the claimed source. A "Chumby with half the CPU horsepower can run Flash 8," the tip says.

While unverified, the tip comes just hours ahead of Apple's discussion of its enterprise and third-party development plans, and as competitors increasingly push Flash as an advantage for their own mobile browsers. Nokia stresses that several of its Nseries smartphones support Flash Lite and recently demonstrated a full web experience that included full HTML rendering along with Flash. The company's N800 series Internet tablets also received full Flash 9 support last year.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. jmelrose

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Mar 1999



    Sounds to me like if the PDF rendering isn't what Apple wants, it's software after all. Steve doesn't want that software, so that's the issue. :-)

  1. BelugaShark

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007


    wait a minute

    Jobs didn't claim that Flash-Lite couldn't run on the iPhone, he said he wants the same laptops and desktop Flash for the iPhone.

  1. Eldernorm

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2007



    Given Robert Scoble's past comments vs Apple and its products, I would have to be suspicious of anything that he says.

    Can Flash be made to work? Maybe. Is Apple ready to support Flash? No.

    Does the iPhone do video capture? Not yet, but you never know. LOL :-)


  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: wait a minute

    He didn't say he wanted the same, what it said was that he wanted the same 'performance'.

  1. danviento

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2005



    With such an interest in PDF readers (I prefer Apple's Preview by far) maybe we'll see an effort to make books available for reading on the iPhone.

    I've experimented with taking an entire book manuscript and creating a layout in Pages that fits iPhone/iPodTouch dimensions, and I can tell you it's doable. Certainly, pages are shorter, but you don't have to constantly flick/scroll while reading, which makes the experience more book-like.

    If Jobs really did say "people don't read anymore," the how the heck do outfits like Borders and Barnes&Noble stay in business? No, there really is a viable market out there for a usable digital book reader, and if it just happens to play music, let you surf the internet, read email, play movies, recieves phone calls, and fits in your pocket, mores the better

  1. Peter Bonte

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Flash on a mobile sucks

    1 badly overblown site or game can drain the battery in 20 minutes and be so processor intensive that it renders the device unusable. We all want the full Flash on the iPhone but i agree that it won't work properly, most sites stress the machine to hard. The iPhone is PPC based and from experience on a PPC mac i can say that its hardly optimized for this processor, my G5 has to work fully loaded for some stupid flash site or a game. Its not worth it, the internet will have to adjust to the iPhone and not the other way around. :)

    The bookreader for the iPhone (iTablet also please) is a given, we'll have it this year. But what we need is a new iTunes section for books and integration with the Google book project.

  1. ViktorCode

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006


    illogical conclusion

    Let's presume the claim is true, and there's indeed a full fledged Flash port running on iPhone in Apple lab. After all, Apple could check on actual Flash performance before making claims. But have this guy, who told another guy who published the news on his blog, have he seen a page in the browser with half a dozen Flash banners happily running without bringing iPhone to its knees? If not, then how it makes Steve Jobs a liar?

  1. brass2

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2006



    For the record the Chumby runs Flash Lite 3, not Flash Player. Here's the Chumby wiki page that on their Flash widgets:

    Jobs has already discounted using Flash Lite because of it's implementation differences. From reading the wiki page, he appears to be right. Finely, Steve admitted that they've got flash running on the iphone when he said it runs like c***. I parse his statement as meaning that they've tried it, but the experience doesn't meet Apple's usual high standards.

  1. Uncommon

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2000



    Of course they already have Flash running on the iPhone. That's how they know it's too slow!

  1. JulesLt

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2005


    Simply wrong

    Scoble is basically just wrong on this. You only need to look at the CPU usage on a dual-core Mac when running any moderately powerful Flash app.

    The N800 is probably the best test bed. Be nice to see some benchmarks for it's Flash performance, and how having a Flash web app open affects the battery life.

    What is interesting here is that unlike Java, Jobs has still not said 'No' to Flash on the iPhone, and is openly talking about the problems. Reading between the lines it is obvious that a version of Flash has been running on the iPhone for months - you'd need to have done that to be disappointed with it's performance. Running is one thing, acceptable another.

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