Adobe Systems has confirmed what many in the media have been speculating for months--that it will produce a version of its Flash runtime environment for Apple's iPhone. The move will open the device to an enormous wealth of applications and Flash-enabled Web content. What remains to be seen is whether Flash will run fast enough in iPhone's ARM11 processor to be useful.
Apple CEO Steven Jobs in March was reported to have said that Flash in its state at the time "performs too slow to be useful" for a good iPhone experience and that there's a "missing product in the middle" that would be suitable. Adobe went right to work, and three months later Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen reported that the company was making good progress; a version of Flash was running on an iPhone emulator.
The word came today at Flash on the Beach '08, a sold-out conference for Flash designers and developers in Brighton, U.K., but not as a formal announcement from Adobe. Instead, confirmation came at a town hall meeting in answer to a direct question from an attendee to Adobe senior director of engineering Paul Betlam. Since first seeing the report at FlashMagazine.com I've seen other coverage today varying widely, from "it's coming, maybe," to "it's coming but is that a good thing?" to "due soon," "ready to rock" and "ready and waiting for Apple." Neither Adobe nor Apple has released a statement on the subject.