Adobe crowbars Flash onto the iPhone

Adobe has devised an unofficial way to make Flash programs run on Apple’s iPhone – a move that could dramatically boost the variety of applications for the device.

Programs written with Flash currently cannot run on Apple’s smartphone or iPod touch. Adobe has spent several years trying without success to persuade Apple to make technical changes to the device’s software that would make it possible for Flash programs to run on the iPhone.

In the absence of an agreement with Apple, Adobe has announced that it will introduce a tool called Flash Professional CS5 developer tool, which lets programmers easily convert Flash software into code that will work on the iPhone.

The news comes just a day after Adobe announced that it was bringing a full version of Flash to every major smartphone operating system, except Apple’s iPhone OS.

The new option will allow developers to create a second piece of software that they can distribute through Apple’s App store. “It’s basically an export capability,” says Adrian Ludwig, a manager with Adobe’s Flash group.

The ball is in Apple’s court at this point. We’ve been very blunt about what we need and what we are requesting

There are limitations with Adobe’s iPhone hack. Video will not run on the iPhone because of restrictions imposed by Apple. Flash software will also have to be written in ActionScript 3 to be compatible with the new tool.

Ludwig admits that Apple has yet to agree to work with Adobe to clear two key technical hurdles that would enable Flash applications to run natively on the iPhone. “The ball is in its court at this point. We’ve been very blunt about what we need and what we are requesting,” Ludwig claims.

Apple was unavailable for comment.

Adobe will release a public trial version of the Flash Professional CS5 developer tool later this year.

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