There’s been a LOT of talk about Apple’s decision to deny development of iDevice apps with 3rd party tools. As is the case with Apple (or any pretty much any other big tech firm), the official reasons aren’t propably the most important ones. As they announced the changes at the same time with iPhone OS 4’s multitasking capabilities, there was a pretty strong speculation that the multitasking process just wouldn’t work with randomly compiled software. That’s a good point, although there’s a LOT of apps already in the appstore that have been made with Flash CS5, Unity, Appcelerator etc, and if they can’t make multitasking work with users’ existing apps, it doesn’t sound like a good idea.
Another speculation (even partly confirmed by Jobs himself) was the fact that if they can keep their Appstore as the biggest and best there is, they are going to lock most developers to their system only and eventually get to a license to print money. If that’s the case, it’s really no wonder. I’m betting every single tech CEO would give both their nuts to get into that position.
The Flash folks & Adobe guys have naturally been concerned/angry/pissed off beyond belief about this. Again – no wonder. If you’re selling cars and 5 minutes before the shop opens, you notice somebody just stole all the wheels, it’s a bitch of a situation. Still, it would be a bit strange that one of the most successful & wealthy & sexy & whatnot tech firms there is would want to decidedly harm a much-much smaller software company.
I still think that one major factor was the CS5’s Export-To-iPhone -feature.
The best & worst thing about Flash is that it’s really, really easy. Anyone from a 4-year old kid to a 80-year old half-blind granny can make a flash application with really little learning. And they do – every single internet-user has stumbled into a sickeningly slow processorkiller.swf. Those and the fact that most of ad banners are also .swf’s have made most of the “real coders” (Java, Python, server-side, Linux -kind of folks, you catch my drift) hate Flash. For them, Flash = banners = cancer. And as we, who know better, always start steaming when someone throws the cancer-of-the-internet -card to the table. It’s a wonderful technology. If you want to present your stuff with all the nice features of HTML5, the saviour of the web, you should just make it in Flash, cover practically every internet user (with a regular browser) anywhere right now and skip the years of waiting for browser upgrades to catch up.
So, combine the ease of use, a really big developer base and the fact that Apple got really bad karma from it’s developers last year when the approval process started getting really slow (even if it’s been improved now), and I’m pretty sure that the approval people were wiping buckets of cold sweat as the CS5 launch got closer. I’m betting that 99,99% of all new Flash CS5 owners/piraters would have submitted an app straight away. Or, as creating them in Flash is so easy, maybe 25 apps each. During the first week. The amount of people developing stuff for the appstore would’ve propably doubled (at least), so the sheer amount of new apps waiting to be approved would have taken a serious choke-hold of the approval process, also hindering the launch of the “real apps” and in the end made life miserable for all parties. Excluding the teenagers who were desperate to get a couple of hundred more iFart apps.
So, as part-time Flash guy, I’m disappointed, but from Apple’s perspective it makes pretty good sense. The appstore is full of crap already, and the last thing they need would be a huge flood of new crap. The most important thing in the end is that the regular users propably haven’t and won’t hear a word about this whole deal, they’ll just keep on tapping.