Cringely: Don’t hold your breath for Flash on Apple iPhone, iPod touch, coming Apple tablet

“One product I believe WON’T be coming soon from Apple is a Flash plug-in for the iPhone… because of the strategic importance of Apple’s WebKit — the basis of the Safari browser on Mac, Windows, and now the iPhone and iPod Touch,” Robert X. Cringely writes for PBS. “WebKit, an open source web browser engine (not a web browser in its own right but all the parts you’d need to build a web browser), is key to Apple’s vision for devices like the iPhone and the iPod Touch that live somewhere between computers and phones and define where Apple is headed with its mobile strategy.”

“The point of WebKit for Apple was to define an open source standard for rendering web pages on all sorts of Internet-enabled devices. This also explains why Apple used KHTML instead of Gecko or its own web engine for Safari — even though KHTML was terrible at rendering web pages that were optimized for Internet Explorer. KHTML is the only rendering engine that can pass the Acid2 web-rendering test, and following a standard was more important to Apple than correctly rendering poorly written web pages,” Cringely writes.

“Which brings us back to the lack of a Flash player or plug-in for the iPhone, which is the single greatest reason why we do not yet see true third-party iPhone applications. Had Apple allowed a Flash player on the iPhone, it risked having Flash — rather than the Apple-preferred Ajax — become the dominant iPhone web application development environment,” Cringely writes. “I’m not saying that a Flash player or plug-in won’t eventually appear, but Apple won’t allow it to happen until Cupertino feels the WebKit/iPhone/iPod Touch platform is established well enough to stand on its own.”

“The next logical WebKit product for Apple, it seems to me, is a much larger version of the iPod Touch. It would be Apple’s first tablet computer and, while they’ll still claim it runs OS X, Apple WON’T call it a Mac,” Cringely writes.

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Mtnmnn” for the heads up.]


  1. I think that most Flash development is pretty sloppy. Bad splash pages. Endless crap Flash sites. Not to mention how many ‘rich media’ ads are delivered via Flash on content websites. No Flash on my iPT keeps my browsing lean and mean.

    Good developers will find a way around Flash.

  2. Hmm… The iphone needs flash though, because I’m always going to a restaurant website to order TOGO, and the dang menu is in flash. Not to mention it would be nice to get some real games on this thing. I bet the flash performance would be so miserable, that it would barely be worth it though. And then we’d have lots of flash ad popups all over the place.

  3. cringely makes a big deal about the coming iTablet “killing” kindle. I was unaware that something that was stillborn needed to be killed.

    It would be nice if apple sold ebooks on iTunes though.

  4. I think they could make one, but I am not sold on it yet. I think it would be great, but they would have to get it in a a good price point. Not cheap “mind you” but something that is in line with the rest of thier line.

    If they market it as not a “Mac” much like they do the iPhone, then they are looking into a problem of having a device that is a computer, but with no software. That isn’t a problem with iPhone because it is a phone. The phone is the killer app. What would the killer app for this device be?


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