Today at Adobe MAX, the company announced that Flash tools will be able to build applications for iPhone that can be distributed through Apple’s App Store. A beta version of Flash Professional CS5 with this new capability is planned for release later this year. These aren’t Flash SWF files, they’re native iPhone apps.
My first question was, “Wait–so how native are these apps? Do they feel right, or do they seem like crappy ports?” The good news is that you can judge for yourself:
As of today, participants in the Adobe pre-release program have submitted 8 applications and all of them have been accepted into the App Store. The applications are: Digg Pics, South Park Avatar Creator, Chroma Circuit, Just Letters, Trading Stuff, Red Hood, Fickleblox, and That Roach Game.
Following the announcment at MAX, additional applications have been submitted including the Acrobat Connect application.
So, what about running Flash SWF files directly on the iPhone? The iPhone SDK License does not currently allow runtimes such as Flash Player or Adobe AIR. Hopefully Apple & Adobe will be able to work together on a solution in the future.
Before I get an earful about the Flash Player’s CPU & battery usage, note that on mobile devices, “engineers have increased Flash’s operating performance by 87 percent and reduced memory consumption by 55 percent” (more info). Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch said that Flash performance on mobile was “not very good,” and that video was “more like a slideshow than a video.” He then demonstrated excellent new hardware acceleration for Flash Player 10.1 on mobile, as well as solid multitouch support.
I’m not directly involved with these efforts, so your best sources of details are likely to be Adobe evangelists like Mark Doherty, Ted Patrick, and Mike Chambers. I’ll try to share other interesting details as I come across them.