By John Gruber
Next-generation Apple device management for macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS. Request access.
The Internet pipes are chock full of reaction to the news that Adobe is “working on” a Flash player for the iPhone, much of it based on the weird assumption that if Adobe can get it working well, Apple will publish it. Guess what? Apple isn’t going to publish it.
Think about it: If there were a Flash player for the iPhone, you could write games and other software in Flash rather than in Cocoa Touch. And you could sell games and apps directly for the Flash player, completely circumventing the App Store. Does this sound like something Apple would allow?
And, unlike with rejected apps like Podcaster and MailWrangler, a standalone Flash player app for the iPhone would directly violate the stated terms of the iPhone SDK, which state in section 3.3.2:
No interpreted code may be downloaded and used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple’s Published APIs and built-in interpreter(s).
If Apple doesn’t want to allow a competing email client on the iPhone, why would they allow a competing (and cross-platform) application runtime environment?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Apple will not publish a Flash player for the iPhone unless and until there exists some other mobile phone that (a) does run Flash, and (b) starts taking sales away from the iPhone. Which, my guess is, means never. Apple has no motivation to allow it.
If Adobe really wants to get Flash on the iPhone, they should shut up about the iPhone and start talking about and coding for Android. An excellent implementation of Flash for Android would give Adobe some amount of actual leverage. Until then, Adobe’s just embarrassing themselves every time they mention it.