A nice "one more thing" announcement at Adobe MAX this morning: Flash Professional CS5 will enable you to build applications for iPhone and iPod touch using ActionScript 3. These applications will be delivered to iPhone and iPod touch users through the Apple App Store.
So while this is extremely exciting (as in, I just became an iPhone developer in 5 minutes this morning exciting) there are a few things to note:
1. This is only for standalone applications - meaning iPhone/iPod Touch applications that you download from Apple's App Store either on your phone or via iTunes. It does not include Flash played via the Safari mobile web browser. So no online Flash video just yet. Ryan Stewart, an Adobe Platform Evangelist tweeted the following today during the keynote: "When Apple is ready to bring the full Web browsing experience to iPhone users, we'll be ready to bring Flash Player to Safari."
2. You cannot load external SWFs into the apps you compile for the iPhone. The official line on this is: "iPhone applications built with Flash Platform tools are compiled into standard, native iPhone executable packages and there is no runtime interpreter that could be used to run ActionScript bytecode within the application." But in reality, Adobe is just staying within the limits imposed by Apple and their "no running other bytecode in apps" rule.
3. This won't be available until Flash CS5 is released. The good news here is that a public beta of Flash CS5 will be released before the end of 2009.
Mike Chambers from Adobe just released a new iPhone app for viewing the ActionScript 3 documentation.
The app includes class references for Adobe AIR 1.5, Adobe Flex 3.2 and Flash Player 10. I've been testing it this weekend and it has run great.
There is more information on Mike's website for the app, including a download link for the iTunes App Store. If you want to install the app directly on your phone, you'll need to search for "Mike Chambers" to find the app while it works its way into the App Store search.
Today at the Adobe Town Hall session here at Flash on the Beach, a participant asked the Adobe panel if there were plans for Flash on the iPhone and Paul Betlem confirmed that Adobe is indeed working on it. This has been the talk of the conference so far - and the one new 'sneak peak' that has been revealed this week.
However, Paul was quick to mention that this comes with one cavat - since Apple decides what runs on their platform, they could ultimately veto the platform add-on and kill the project. It should be noted that if Apple agrees, Adobe will apparently have the player ready "very shortly".
The big question that now remains: what version of the Flash Player will it be? FlashLite? Flash Player 8/9/10? I would think with all the games they have running on the iPhone that they could get Flash Player 10 running pretty well. Or, version 9 at the very least.
You can read more details from other bloggers who are also attending the conference, such as Flash Magazine and read all of the "me too" posts from industry news sources on Techmeme.
As someone who makes their living from the Flash ecosystem, you should care greatly about this announcement. It may not seem like it to a non-developer, but this is huge for anyone who knows how to use Flash. The thought of having Flash everywhere is finally a reality for those who want to include it in their products as a user interface layer, or even to allow developers to control the product using ActionScript. And this means that your capabilities to design, develop, and then deploy your Flash experiences just became more marketable and useful.
Lastly, as a member of the Flash community, you should also be excited about the implications this has on open source projects such as SWX, AMFPHP, and the like. The more open the specifications surrounding the various parts of the Flash ecosystem, the easier it is for members of the community to create tools and open source projects which contribute to the growth and prominence of said ecosystem... and make all of our lives as participants in that ecosystem that much more interesting and fun.
Mike Downey, a Platform Evangelist at Adobe, just posted the entire, correct story of Flash on the iPhone. As mentioned in his post, a lot of people have been blogging about how Flash is coming to the iPhone. However, the reports of Adobe CEO's comments about Flash support on the iPhone yesterday were not necessarily complete and accurate, so Mike has taken upon himself to clear the air.
Worth the read, if nothing else, to help guide you through the hype to what the real story is...