iPhone Finally Gets Flash

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Apple may not have approved it, but it appears as though iPhone users will soon gain access to Flash content.

Adobe last week launched its Flash Media Server 4.5 that the company says "expands on its mobile delivery options with the addition of iOS support" and will let businesses "use the same media and live streams to deliver full adaptive bit-rate experiences to platforms supporting Flash, as well as Apple devices."

BACKGROUND: Apple vs. Adobe

Accessing Flash content through the new Media Server doesn't require users to go through the iOS Safari mobile browser, which Apple still has not equipped with Flash support. Instead, content providers will be able to deliver Flash content to iPhones and iPads using HTTP Live Streaming, the protocol that Apple developed to let content providers "send live or pre-recorded audio and video to iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Mac, using an ordinary web server." Adobe says that media publishers will benefit from the addition of iOS compatibility with the new Media Server since they'll now "have a single, simple workflow for developing content using the same stream" regardless of whether a device's browser supports Flash or not.

Adobe Flash, the most commonly used platform for delivering video on the Internet, has come under heavy criticism from former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who has said that Flash is a poorly designed program responsible for crashing Apple computers. Jobs has also said Flash is ill-equipped for mobile devices as it sucks up battery life and has security holes.

These factors have led Apple to restrict the use of third-party software tools by app developers, essentially banning the use of Flash for any developer who wants to publish an application on the company's App Store. Instead, Apple has encouraged developers to write applications on open standards such as CSS, JavaScript and the HTML5 standard that Jobs says "lets developers create advanced graphics, typography, animations and transitions without relying on third party browser plug-ins."

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This story, "iPhone Finally Gets Flash" was originally published by Network World.

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