Adobe Systems is preparing a version of its Flash Player that could be used on Apple’s iPhone.

Paul Betlem, Adobe’s senior director of engineering, told Flash Magazine that the iPhone version could be available “in a very short time”.

Whether the software is actually accepted by Apple is another matter.

Speaking at the Flash on the Beach (FOTB) conference in Brighton, UK, Betlem conceded that Apple has the last word on what runs on the iPhone.

“My team is working on Flash on the iPhone, but it’s a closed platform,” he said.

The "closed system" of MobileSafari poses difficulties in building a plug-in for a browser that doesn’t officially support plug-ins.

But Betlem told Flash Magazine that Adobe will have the player ready for Apple’s approval.

Would Apple really baulk at the opportunity to allow the iPhone to work on any Flash-based website?

Wouldn’t it be good to further reduce differences between phone and laptop?

Well, in March Sun Microsystems came off badly when it committed to a version of its Java Virtual Machine (JVM) for the new iPhone only to discover the handset’s SDK prohibited Java on the phone.

It’s also worth remembering that earlier this year Steve Jobs said that Flash Lite for mobile was not full-featured enough, while the full version of Flash would not run well on the iPhone.

It was reported at the time that Adobe could run into problems due to restrictions of the iPhone SDK.

Corporate issues aside, Jens Brynildsen, of Flash Magazine and Flash Gamer, makes some strong performance-related arguments for not having Flash on the iPhone.

He doesn’t believe it would add to the iPhone experience and argues there is no reason for Apple approve it.

A main objection is that MobileSafari wouldn’t be able to cope if it had to deal with websites laden with Flash ads.
But he said politics would undoubtedly play a big part in Apple’s decision.

“Apple wants to be in control – Apple don’t want Flash on their device,” said Brynildsen.

“They want the phone to be easy to use with a uniform user interface. They want to get more developers to their platform, not Adobe’s.”

Brynildsen argued that if Apple opened up the device for Flash, thousands of apps and developers would be added for the platform.

“All of these would create different looking and fancy UIs that "break" the iPhone experience,” he said.

“Very few will have the skills required to write content that does not tax the CPU or load progressive content that is too big for memory.”

There’s plenty of gamers out there, for instance, that would be happy to run that risk. Please let us know your view on Flash for the iPhone.

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