Apple’s tight grip on permitable software for the iPhone may hold the company back from having a truly great product. Adobe yesterday unveiled the glory of its newest Flash player on Windows Mobile and Google’s Android. The iPhone was curiously absent.
Despite Adobe’s progress working on a version of Flash for the iPhone, it has become evident that the application would violate Apple’s strict Terms of Service. Unless Apple lessens its grasp on the iPhone and lets a little open-source diplomacy through, Flash would never survive the App Store gauntlet.
According to Adobe, Flash exists on 98 percent of computers, and is crucial in displaying large portions of the Internet. These chunks of the Web are what Apple wants to hold you back from. If you started watching Hulu.com and playing free Flash browser games instead of downloading videos from iTunes and visiting the App Store, Apple loses control over how it thinks you should be receiving your entertainment. And money.
Unleashing that control won’t be easy, or come quickly, but they’ve done it before with the iPhone non-disclosure agreement. And with Windows Mobile and Android soon having full-fledged Flash players, Apple must soon adapt to maintain a competitive edge. There’s no question that just because Flash exists on other phones that customers will skirt the iPhone — it’s far too popular for that — but as other systems mature, the list of alternatives will only become sweeter.