Though Adobe will clearly suffer because of the change, Hilwa says that it will have a much broader effect. If Apple truly plans to examine applications to determine their origin, he says, “It seems akin to digging into the genetic code of a human and saying you can’t get into this country club.”
Apple could not be reached for comment. In a statement, Adobe said: “We are aware of the new [software development kit] language and are looking into it. We continue to develop our Packager for iPhone OS technology, which we plan to debut in Flash CS5.”
Broadly speaking, Adobe’s strategy with Flash has been to let developers and designers focus on creating projects while taking care of compatibility with different browsers and hardware platforms.
Apple’s stance creates a problem for any company interested in developing software for multiple devices at once, says Jeffrey Hammond, a principal analyst for Forrester Research. Hammond says it’s not clear the strategy will be viable in the long term. “As the app market for iPhone becomes saturated, it becomes harder for individual developers to make money, which will cause them to look at less restrictive development environments like Android–if the device numbers are there,” he says.
If developers (and users) jump ship for Android and other platforms, Adobe’s strategy may wind up back on track. The company has made deals with all major smart phone vendors besides Apple to bring Flash Player 10.1 to their devices.