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10/5/2009
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Adobe Flash CS5 Makes Native iPhone Apps

Online Flash content remains inaccessible to iPhone users, due to Apple's restrictions. But Flash developers will soon be able to port their apps to the iPhone.

At its annual developer conference in Los Angeles on Monday, Adobe secured Flash's future, at least for the near term.

Adobe said that its forthcoming Flash Professional CS5 will allow to developers "to create rich, interactive applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch."

But just because those applications were created as Flash applications does not mean they will be allowed to run as Flash applications.

Flash Professional CS5, to be released as a public beta later this year, will allow developers to create Flash applications using the Flash development platform and then export those Flash apps as native iPhone applications.

"We created a new compiler front end that allowed LLVM [Low Level Virtual Machine] to understand ActionScript 3 and used its existing ARM back end to output native ARM assembly code," explains Adobe senior product manager Aditya Bansod in a blog post. "...When you build your application for the iPhone, there is no interpreted code and no runtime in your final binary. Your application is truly a native iPhone app."

That means certain Flash capabilities, such as being able to load another another Flash (.SWF) file or to browse Web content from within exported Flash apps, will not be available. Developers using Apple's tools, however, can browse Web content from within their own apps via the SDK's UIWebKit component.

Adobe's announcement does not change the fact that Flash content on the Web is inaccessible through the iPhone's Safari browser. Flash content on the Web requires Adobe's Flash Player browser plug-in, which relies on a just-in-time compiler and virtual machine to render Flash content. Apple does not allow interpreted code on the iPhone.

James Anthony, co-founder of iPhone game maker Inedible Software, said in an e-mail that since his company has been developing native iPhone applications, its development process won't change at all.

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