I've been waiting for an article like this to turn up to give us all a better view of the status of Flash support on the iPhone, info which has as of late been obscure at best. Just so you know, I have a CS degree and have been developing in the Flash environment for a number of years. I was pretty disappointed to learn of the lack of Flash support on the iPhone when it was first released, although I initially figured that it had more to do with QuickTime being a direct competitor than architectural limitations. Now that I actually own an iPhone, I really wish that this problem would be resolved.
After reading the numerous posts on this thread I'd like to add some insight based on actual experience using both the Flash authoring tool and the other current web 2.0 technologies that are out there. First of all, to all of those people on here complaining about Flash ads and proclaiming your desire for the death of this technology; shut up and get over yourselves you self righteous bitches! Realize that not only is the Flash ad business a massive source of revenue on the internet, but that taking the stance that animated advertising is the only practical use of Flash today is completely idiotic and telling of your lack of knowledge about the tool itself. If anything the fact that everyone and their grandmother knows what Flash is, based on it's incredibly high penetration on the internet, yes even in many cases as an advertising tool, shows just how incredibly powerful, useful and versatile the applications of this plug-in actually are. In fact, the Flash plug-in is the most downloaded piece of software in the history of the internet.
Similarly, all of you who are nothing more than internet junkies should be getting in line to give a nice fat BJ to Flash for the many breakthroughs that it has provided your internet experience, as well as the numerous ones that are still to come. YouTube is an obvious example, and for the person who claims that companies like Google are distancing themselves from the technology need to take a moment and actually think. Ever heard of street-view or checked out a stock on Google finance? For anyone who is familiar with web technologies, please try to code either of these in Ajax/dhtml and have a cross browser solution which is as lightweight, incredibly fast loading and visually seamless as either of these Flash apps. I also have a message for all of you Ajax fans; your applications are clunky, look boring, and take three times the amount of time and effort to code for the ever changing landscape of browsers.
In the many years that I have worked with Flash I have certainly experienced my fair share of nay-sayers in regards to accepting the truly incredible abilities of the Flash plug-in. However, what I have found to be the common case among these people is either there is a simple lack of knowledge about the tool and it's capabilities in general, or a fear of the tool because of the incredibly interactive user experience it provides (these are the web developers who have never learned to use Flash and who want to promote the technologies they do know, such as open source solutions like Ajax). That being said, how about I educate you all about what Flash actually is and what it can do.
Flash, originally called Future Splash before being acquired by Macromedia and later Adobe, is a vector rendering engine which can also manipulate practically all forms of media that exist on the internet today. Vector graphics are vastly superior to raster or bitmap graphics in many ways when talking about web graphics (not photos). Not only are they inherently smaller in size than raster based images, as they are defined using mathematical equation, but they are also infinitely scalable or lossless as you zoom in on them (no interpolation). Plus when talking about them in terms of Flash, the are also fully programmable. The Flash runtime has the capability of handling audio files, images, video files, and vector graphics in the most file size conscientious format available on the web. What this means is that a flash movie can contain a single copy of an image, sound or video object and have the ability to duplicate it and simultaneously present it to the user as many times as your computers hardware can support, dramatically decreasing the size of the source swf file. Because every object loaded into the flash environment is programmable, each of these copies can be uniquely modified on the fly in a massive number of ways; movement, transparency, mouse events, filters, tint, scale or any other unique way you decide to code it yourself. Any of these content items can also be loaded from external sources and streamed to the user as well. What's more is that the Flash environment provides a full animation suite which can be timeline based, frame-rate based, or even controlled in terms of milliseconds, again while also being fully programmable and extremely customizable and versatile; for example you can have an animation inside an animation inside an animation inside an animation etc. Add to this a robust set of drawing tools and a vast array of available properties to manipulate as well as a massive assortment of export formats to fit any number of devices depending on their player support. There are also a huge number of pre-built and fully customizable components for handling just about any type of data, form elements, and media content, as well as a community which is constantly churning out new components all the time.
In essence the Flash player is a full blown, client-side rendering engine that is driven by an ultra-powerful programming language while still being super light-weight (roughly 2mb in size) and freely available to the public. With version 9 having optimized memory management and backward compatibility with older versions, Flash content is extremely efficient in its use of the clients hardware.
For all of the complete douche-bags on this thread who want to claim Flash should be killed because of your irritation from Flash ads; Shut Up You Uninformed Bitches! Flash is the best thing that has ever happened to the Internet thus far! Flash can do what browsers should have been able to do in the first place! All the detractors of Flash that are out there are either just totally oblivious leaches of the modern technological era that have no technical background (probably most of diggs audience), jealous of the technology, those who know how to use it, or those own the rights to it (Stubborn developers, Steve Jobs), or just not really thinking about how ill-advised their moronic Flash-bashing really is. For those of you who claim that Flash is bloated, its called advanced functionality dumb-asses.
If youre curious about what kind of badass things are going on with Flash, just how incredibly profitable and successful the technology is, or what quality Flash design even looks like, try visiting www.thefwa.com
(I have no affiliation to this site).
If you have any real experience programming, then you should know about OpenGL or at least what it is. Since ActionScript is such an incredibly powerful and robust language, entire 3D rendering libraries have been and are currently being improved for Flash.
Check out these links:http://www.flashsandy.org/demoshttp://dev.getoutsmart.com/os3d/demos/videoroom/
(There are plenty more out there)
Why do you morons think that Microsoft has even launched Silverlight and Apple is specifically trying to downplay the importance of Flash?
OBVIOUSLY BECAUSE ITS AWESOME AND ITS NOT THEIRS!!!