So there's still no Flash in Safari, but once Adobe hatches Flash Professional CS5 you'll be able to port your wacky Flash games or animations out to real, live iPhone/iPod touch apps. Yep, ActionScript 3 nerds rejoice: that tasty App Store pie will soon be yours, never minding the whole plug-in debate.
This is truly quite awesome in one regard, as it lowers the barrier to entry for some app developers, and will ease the port of some cool online games that we've seen floating around the interwebs. Then again, if you've spent a little time at places like Newgrounds.com, you will quickly see the dark side to this announcement from Adobe. All those crummy Flash toys online just got one step closer to coming to life on the App Store (we're guessing most will sell for the low, low price of $.99). At this rate there will be more apps than iPhones!
Still, back when I taught animation and game design, we had a lot of fun playing around in Flash for the powerful prototyping capabilities, if nothing else. It would have been cool to test games on the iPhone so easily. The video on Adobe's site looks pretty cool, with them touting the "responsiveness" of apps. Yeah, unlike the slowpoke performance my kids suffer on our G4 Mac when playing Flash games, eh? I get it -- when Unity 3D for iPhone came out there were problems with performance (it has matured nicely now), and any tool that exports in this way (turning an .fla into an .ipa, essentially) is bound to suffer from performance. Does anyone else find it ironic that a plug-in that was designed to make multimedia on the web lighter has become one of the most bloated? I digress.
No word on what SDK features are supported yet, but you can sign up for the demo when the beta starts. Those SDK features could be a killer, of course. If you can't leverage some of the features on the iPhone (
multi-touch, GPS, camera, etc.) these may be relegated to the Entertainment category. One other thing to note about all the CS5 applications: they will be Intel-only, Cocoa and 64-bit native.
Update: Well, lookee there, apparently some games in the store have been using this already. Did you know South Park Avatar Creator was made using Flash? Amazing.