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Iphone Media (Apple)

Flash Comes To the iPhone Via App 182

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the doesn't-seem-very-convenient dept.
An anonymous reader writes "While the HTML5 and Flash standard debate rages, Apple, a major promoter of HTML5, has allowed its iOS devices to run Flash videos. Apple has given approval to an app developed by Skyfire that translates Flash code into HTML5. According to CNN, when a user clicks on a Flash video the Skyfire app downloads the Flash video on Skyfire's server where the video is decoded and then encoded in HTML5 and is delivered to an iOS device. The app is embedded in the Safari browser."
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Flash Comes To the iPhone Via App

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @11:59AM (#34112938) Journal
    High School Principle: Hello, Mr. Timmerman?
    Mr. Timmerman: Yes, speaking.
    High School Principle: This is the principle at Luther High School and I am calling about your son Frederick.
    Mr. Timmerman: Why what has Fred done?
    High School Principle: Are you aware your son owns and operates an iPhone on school grounds?
    Mr. Timmerman: Yes but he is not to use it during class hours, it's just for security. I'll have a talk with him when I get home ...
    High School Principle: Are you aware that sometime today an app called 'Skyfire' allowed iPhone users to access Flash video.
    Mr. Timmerman: Oh. My. God. Where is Fred, is he okay? You confiscated the iPhone, right? Please just hold him in a locked room and I will leave work right now and come pick him up.
    High School Principle: I'm afraid we don't know where he is, Mr. Timmerman. It was not discovered he had access to Flash materials until he sat down during first period, continually grinning at his phone. The instructor noticed and asked him to put it away and at that point your son snarled and knocked the teacher out of the way exhibiting some super human strength -- possibly hepped up on caffeine pills [youtube.com].
    Mr. Timmerman: No you don't understand, we're good Christians, my son hasn't been taught any sex education yet, if he's exposed to porn he ...
    High School Principle: Again, I'm so very sorry Mr. Timmerman, according to our counselor's estimates it's now noon and your son escaped at the beginning of the day so he is probably in Tijuana right now so strung out on heroin that he has to mainline it under his eye. If you don't get to him soon, he will certainly be dead before the weekend.
    Mr. Timmerman: *gasps*
    High School Principle: Also, there's one more thing. A few of the other kids heard your son extolling Skyfire ... some of them own iPhones that are now being confiscated but should another incident occur the parents may have a negligence suit brought against you.
    Mr. Timmerman: My God. All this ... all this because of ... FLASH VIDEO! Damn you, Adobe, damn you all to hell!
    High School Principle: I'm sorry Mr. Timmerman, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family but especially your son. The poor poor victim of FLASH VIDEO.
  • do all the porn tube sites work with this?

    • by MagicM (85041) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @12:24PM (#34113316)

      My guess is that the answer is "yes". Everyone who tried it hasn't reported back yet because they're, um, busy.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by mysidia (191772)

      Sorry, the following video could not be displayed. Reason: Porn on the iPhone is illegal, you have violated the app store user agreement. Apple black ops will be descending on your house shortly to exercise Apple's right under page 26994 of your contract, and confiscate all your iPhones.

      P.S. No. This does not allow you to cancel your ATT iPhone wireless agreement or data plan without an early termination charge.

    • by dudpixel (1429789)

      ALL of them?

      yes.

      --Frederick.

  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @12:06PM (#34113042)

    Why do so many articles ignore the fact that there is more to Flash than video? Granted, most games aren't going to play well on a mobile device but there are lots of Flash based sites that work just fine. Being able to access those sites or not is a pretty big deal if your out and about and need to look up information on a nearby business.

    • by Kenja (541830)
      Because to most, if its not porn it dosent exist.
    • Name one (Score:3, Insightful)

      Odd that you should say that, because the only flash site I ever use is youtube. So, what flash do I absolutly need yet that I am not aware off?

      Here is a hint, promo-sites for games/movies etc I do NOT need.

      What amazes me is that so many people claim that Apple has made a mistake and that people NEED flash, they MUST have flash, yet the iPhone and iPad sell like... well like an iPhone/iPad... they sold MILLIONS. Apple with 1 phone is among the biggest phone makers. Yet apparently all these people are buyi

      • Re:Name one (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DJRumpy (1345787) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @12:26PM (#34113348)

        I can't agree more. I haven't found a single instance in 3 years for requiring flash. It is only now gaining support on Android, which is funny in itself. Folks slamming Apple when it wasn't even out of beta for Android.

        There is simply no need, as any site worthy of a mobile device, offers a mobile version, which never uses flash.

        • I much prefer to browse the full versions of sites even on my Android device. None of the sites I browse really need Flash though. There's the occasional YouTube video on Facebook, but I can open those videos in the YouTube app..

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          There is simply no need, as any site worthy of a mobile device, offers a mobile version, which never uses flash.

          Worthy of a mobile device? What does that even mean?

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          And what would you use for all of those sites and web apps that have interactive vector-based animation? This is only coming about in HTML5. And what about vector animation with synced sound? This is something SVG doesn't yet support.

          And how would you do sites such as these [ebizmba.com]? HTML5 should eventually get to being able to do all these but it isn't there for production use yet and the content creation tools certainly aren't up to scratch yet.

      • Well you did say name one so here [navypier.com] is one. And yeah, when I was on vacation in Chicago, without easy access to a computer, it was quite handy to be able to pull it up on my droid.

      • by _xeno_ (155264)

        You seem to have completely missed the point of the complaints - it's not that Apple won't allow Flash on, it's the Apple picks and chooses third party apps that are blessed with being allowed to run on their device.

        I can kinda see that making sense for a phone, but iOS now covers iPads and iPods, where it makes absolutely no sense. Except for Apple's bottom line.

        So, here's the question you should be answering: If I want Flash on my phone, why doesn't Apple allow me to install it?

        Keeping in mind that you ca

        • You seem to have completely missed the point of the complaints - it's not that Apple won't allow Flash on, it's the Apple picks and chooses third party apps that are blessed with being allowed to run on their device.

          That's okay, you've missed the point too. And it isn't that Apple gets to pick and choose what runs on the iPhone, it's that they did in a very smart and profitable way. Every single software or hardware maker does what Apple does. Apple's just better at it, apparently.
          • by _xeno_ (155264)

            And, generally, people complain about that too.

            Or have you never heard of "home brew?"

            Every single software or hardware maker does what Apple does.

            Oh, that explain why you can't run Linux on a PC or compile your own apps for Mac OS X.

            No, wait, something seems off here...

            • And, generally, people complain about that too.

              Or have you never heard of "home brew?"

              Geeks have. The majority have not. The majority don't even know that one can hook a slim PC up to an HDTV with a VGA, DVI, or HDMI cable, and then use it as an Internet video player, as a DVR, or as the fourth game console, all in one box.

              Every single software or hardware maker does what Apple does.

              Oh, that explain why you can't run Linux on a PC or compile your own apps for Mac OS X.

              No, wait, something seems off here...

              Please allow me to rephrase: Most hardware makers making products for sale in the United States in form factors not traditionally associated with personal computers (e.g. handheld, set-top) sell goods that have been damaged [wikipedia.org] with lockdown.

      • by MrHanky (141717)

        Did people actually say that? I remember the iPhone selling spectacularly well back when it was 2G, lacked copy & paste, MMS and multitasking, had a piss poor camera, and the only "application support" was fucking javascript and HTML. Apple doesn't need anything to sell: it will sell no matter what.

        • by jonbryce (703250)

          It may have sold well in the USA but it was a complete flop in Europe and the Far East. Later releases have been much more popular.

          • by MrHanky (141717)

            Correction: hardcore Apple fans in Europe had already bought their iPhones in the U.S. before it launched here. Of course, later iPhones were also much, much better, making it a reasonable option in its own right and getting all the early adopters to upgrade at first opportunity.

      • I was gonna say www.thermalright.com but it appears they've ditched flash! Hallelujah! :D

        Actually, they still have a flash animation on their frontpage, showcasing their products, but at least, now you can navigate on their website without having to use flash.
      • by Belial6 (794905)
        No one has ever said that they NEED flash on there phone. Most people don't even say that they NEED a mobile phone. People WANT flash, and they don't WANT the phone manufacturer telling them that they cannot have it because the manufacturer wants to protect their non-hardware profits. Yes, Apple sucks for doing their best to prevent people from running the software they WANT on the hardware they OWN.

        Apple has made a mistake. They are replaying the Mac/PC battle all over again on cell phones, and they
      • by jstomel (985001)
        The daily show and colbert report videos on comedy central require flash and are not on youtube in full. That's really the only thing i am waiting for.
      • the only flash site I ever use is youtube. So, what flash do I absolutly need yet that I am not aware off?

        Homestar Runner. Weebl's Stuff. Albino Blacksheep. Newgrounds. Very little of this is video in the sense of compressed sequences of bitmap images; most of it is Flash vector animation with synchronized audio.

    • by mikestew (1483105) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @12:22PM (#34113296) Homepage

      Being able to access those sites or not is a pretty big deal if your out and about and need to look up information on a nearby business.

      If your business site requires Flash to view (specifically, the "no Flash==blank page" type), you're not getting my business whether I'm "out and about" with my iPhone or sitting in front of my quad-core desktop. It's not 2002, go back to web design school.

      Games and video; any other uses of Flash I've seen have been pathetic attempts at custom UI that suffer from usability problems and general annoyance.

      • If your business site requires Flash to view (specifically, the "no Flash==blank page" type), you're not getting my business whether I'm "out and about" with my iPhone or sitting in front of my quad-core desktop. It's not 2002, go back to web design school.

        I've tried to tell this to my manager and the company who are redesigning our website, but they won't listen. Even with the popularity of the iPhone/iPad and 1% of our website visits actually being from iPhones, they still insist on having a flash banner on each page. *sigh*

        • Fine with me. I'd much rather that they had something that renders as a grey click-to-enable box in my browser than some animated crap. Please don't tell them about the canvas tag or animated GIFs.
          • Do you also want all your page layout done with pointless blank images that increase download time rather than using the relevant HTML and CSS code..?

            • by hesiod (111176)

              YES! I likes my web pages to load in five minutes, like the good old days of my 14.4, dagnabbit!

      • by BobMcD (601576)

        If your business site requires Flash to view (specifically, the "no Flash==blank page" type), you're not getting my business whether I'm "out and about" with my iPhone or sitting in front of my quad-core desktop. It's not 2002, go back to web design school.

        If you want business leaders going back to web design school as a good use of their time, then please tell me where you shop so I can avoid those places.

        I'd personally rather see web designers going to web design school and business leaders running successful businesses. But maybe that's just me.

      • by grumpyman (849537)
        Why can't I play those flash games that sucks at usability, on a device that has the hardware capable of it?
      • by exomondo (1725132)

        If your business site requires Flash to view (specifically, the "no Flash==blank page" type), you're not getting my business

        Really? People are actually discriminating based on their choice of web technologies now?

    • You have a great point. I think that if Adobe hadn't coopted needlessly all the n00bs running video sites in the early 2000's, such that 99.9% of the Flash internet share wasn't videos, perhaps flash wouldn't be as hated. If Adobe had pushed it as it was, a platform, rather than shoehorning media into it as though it was a wrapper, perhaps Flash would be respected. As it is, though... no one cares... Flash is for video, now. Blame Adobe. They're idiots.
    • by nashv (1479253) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @01:22PM (#34114190) Homepage
      Because if you just factor in the traffic to YouTube, you'll realise that video IS the most used application of Flash. And just making video work without Flash will cause a huge drop in Flash usage.
      • by Sancho (17056) *

        Kinda.

        I guess this might solve the chicken/egg problem of improving HTML5 adoption. Unfortunately, it means that we're now relying on a proprietary service (with potential legal issues) instead of open standards or proprietary plugins. This will not likely reduce Flash usage by developers much, since they can produce flash videos and still get everyone to see them. And if the service goes down, or Hulu sues the pants off of Skyfire, we're stuck without those videos.

        It would be better for Flash to just co

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by itsdapead (734413)

      Why do so many articles ignore the fact that there is more to Flash than video?

      Probably because, for most users, the deal-breaker is not being able to access video content on news and, er, other types of site. There are plenty of casual games and other apps in the App Store - but not many non-Flash sources of video.

      Being able to access those sites or not is a pretty big deal if your out and about and need to look up information on a nearby business.

      Perhaps the pundits who write these articles would avoid those sites on principle anyway. Plus, what are the chances of those sites working with a touch interface?

  • That's an awful lot of trouble go to through to keep flash off the iPhone. Jobs must REALLY not want flash on the phone.

    • Re:Lot of trouble (Score:5, Informative)

      by delinear (991444) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @12:27PM (#34113354)
      It's actually not a bad idea for video - and from Apple's point of view it helps gain traction for their supported flavour of codec - but unfortunately some of us still have to use Flash for non-video related functionality, whether it's building/maintaining sites that "those upstairs" insist have to have Flash embedded, or even using certain config/CMS tools that require Flash (one of the ones I regularly work with uses a Flex front-end). It's a bit misleading to say this is "Flash on the iPhone", by any stretch, it's not even Flash video on the iPhone, since the entirety of the conversion is handled by a third party before it even reaches the iPhone.
      • by mpcooke3 (306161)

        I wish it was just a matter of wanting to get rid of flash but the codec issue really bothers me as it's a clear conflict of interest on Apples part and I feel it rather weakens Apple's position in terms of who holds the high ground.

        Jobs is shouting about how flash is proprietary and non-open and how he's all about HTML5 which is a standard and open.
        Which makes people think he's really great and all about the standards and open-ness but actually he's been trying to push H.264 which is patent encumbered with

  • by spammeister (586331) <fantasmoofrcc.hotmail@com> on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @12:10PM (#34113090)
    This one slipped under the radar and now that the Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field (TM) has been notified, this app will be hit with the ban stick very soon.

    OR

    Steve Jobs now likes flash, or finally realized that most of the internet does indeed use flash, and has succumbed to the reality of reality.
    • by Amouth (879122)
      neither - this is just Apple allowing a company to do the same thing that it let YouTube do - but this time they are acting as a trans-coding proxy rather than trans-coding their own content.

      Nothing changes for apple - BUT it will put this company in an interesting spot for copyright violations - as they are inherently making derivative works on the fly and distributing them, all without permission.
    • Steve Jobs now likes flash, or finally realized that most of the internet does indeed use flash, and has succumbed to the reality of reality.

      Most of the Internet? Really? I have a plugin installed that means that flash things need clicking on before they load, and it's quite rare for me to actually find something that I want to click on. Aside from YouTube, iPlayer, and Flash games, I've not seen much flash. Some big high-profile sites use it, but 'most of the Internet' definitely does not.

    • by cowscows (103644)

      Option 3:

      Enough websites have started offering their video content in other ways that the Flash "monopoly" over video content is pretty much broken, and that having been accomplished, Steve Jobs/Apple doesn't really care about flash anymore.

  • So, contrary to what the title and the summary say, this has nothing to do with 'flash on the iPhone' and everything to do with 'some company is transcoding flash video to h264 and sending it off to the iPhone.

    Apple hasn't 'allowed' iOS devices to run anything new, someone is transcoding.

    There is no 'app embedded in Safari browser'

    Did I miss the memo that said slashdot was going to start accepting submissions from people who have no clue what they are talking about, and clearly have no idea what the fuck th

    • by Duradin (1261418)

      It's a Taco Apple story so it's got to be either a troll or plain wrong (or both).

    • Pretty harsh dude. Apple did allow the app, and even though it is a translator (which probably runs slower than snot), the fact that flash might work at all on the iPhone is newsworthy.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      So, contrary to what the title and the summary say, this has nothing to do with 'flash on the iPhone' and everything to do with 'some company is transcoding flash video to h264 and sending it off to the iPhone.

      Considering most "Flash videos" are H.264 encoded - what transcoding? More like "filtering out the skin for the video player build into the Flash Player".

      Yes Virginia, Flash Player contains the evil H.264.

    • /. was below its weekly quota of Apple stories, so the editors just accepted the first story they saw involving Apple.

  • Meanwhile buried in all the media hyperbole about anything iPhone, Adobe has released an updated Adobe Air packager for iOS4 that not only allows you to play Flash content on an iPhone/iPad, but is also sanctioned by Apple.

    Granted, it's not a Flash video plug in player, but the myth that Flash content is not available on iOS is just that. Also granted that you have to attach the compiler to your content AND run it through the App Store goat-rope-circus...

    • is also sanctioned by Apple

      Minor correction: nothing is ever sanctioned by Apple. They will block anything they feel like blocking for whatever reasons they feel like. Your apps enter their controlled and locked down ecosystem at the whim and pleasure of Apple's fancy.

      • Well, that's what I meant. This is done with Apple's blessing. I heard it directly from an Air Packager Developers mouth. For whatever PR/marketing reason, Jobs is hell bent on not allowing Flash Player browser plugin, but doesn't mind flash content via AIR.

  • "the video is decoded and then encoded in HTML5"

    I'm glad to see the standard of technical journalism around here is as high as ever, Slashdot. Please point me at the part of the HTML5 which describes its capabilities as a video container format and/or codec. Hint: the presence of a tag doesn't cover it.

    • by KingSkippus (799657) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @01:49PM (#34114522) Homepage Journal

      I'm glad to see the standard of technical journalism around here is as high as ever...

      The standard of any kind of journalism is explaining things in a manner in which your audience will understand it. Laypeople--and in the technical community that is Slashdot, I am referring to geeks who don't necessarily know or care about all of the technical intricacies of video codecs--see the headline and think, "Oh, a way for me to watch video I couldn't before on my iPhone!" Bingo.

      Most people like myself probably thought, "technically, that's not what it's doing; it's probably transcoding something written in Adobe's proprietary Flash format into something that only uses standards in the provisional specification of HTML 5, likely by extracting the H.264 video and re-wrapping it into HTML 5 standard-compliant tags." Most of those people probably also thought, "...but I know what they mean. It's a way for people to watch video they couldn't before on their iPhones." Again, bingo.

      Now, I'm really sorry if you were so confused, thinking that the line was being literal and expecting there to be some kind of, I don't know, web alchemy at work, but I assure you that you were in an extreme sliver of a minority. Most people "got it," and as such, I think it passes muster as far as technical journalism goes. If it really bothers you that much, how about considering reading the f****** article, looking for technical details and/or references that you can research yourself?

      Incidentally, the submitter pulled that description directly from the article, which appears in International Business Times, not exactly a bastion of "technical journalism." If you want to whine about technicalia, how about writing to the editor there instead of here? Let me guess, is it because you're too busy explaining somewhere else that since there's no modulation/demodulation over digital channels, everyone should stop calling those boxes you plug the coax into "cable modems?" Or are you too bothered by people calling 2010 the start of a new decade instead of the end of an old one? Or how about those idiots who talk about the "dark side of the moon," the side that receives just as much light as the other side? Do you make such a fuss when someone comments on how hot the "middle of summer" is, when in reality, average temperatures are highest around the solstice, which is the beginning of summer?

      Oh, right, I know why. Because here, you get modded +5 Informative, whereas in normal society, you'd just get called out as the tool you are. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go to the bank to get some money out of the ATM machine using my PIN number.

  • I'll believe it when (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vlueboy (1799360) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @12:47PM (#34113684)

    the idea gets implemented as a PC browser plugin perfectly enabling the latest Youtube and flash games.
    Who needs smartphones to just hate Adobe Flash's slowness?

  • I'm glad this reaches Apple's stated goals of user experience speed, and universal availability. I'm sure the system will be completely stable, and the multi-server communications will be totally secure.

    Now can we be treated like adults and just be told the real damned reason out loud?

    • by gig (78408)

      Everything Apple has said about FlashPlayer has been totally practical and totally true. If you're not adult enough to see that FlashPlayer is impractical for about 100 reasons on a phone that has a consumer user, no I-T support, limited CPU and battery life, built-in hardware ISO video decoder, HTML5, and signed applications that can't run plug-ins, then that is your problem, not Apple's.

      When Apple talks about the FlashPlayer user experience, they're not just talking about the fact that a lot of existing F

      • by cgenman (325138)

        If you're not adult enough to see that FlashPlayer is impractical for about 100 reasons on a phone that has a consumer user, no I-T support, limited CPU and battery life, built-in hardware ISO video decoder, HTML5, and signed applications that can't run plug-ins, then that is your problem, not Apple's.

        If Apple were treating their consumers like adults, they would let their consumers make that decision. Also, there is no way that a native flash player is slower or less secure than sending flash content bac

  • Many TV shows are now distributed through Flash player programs which load the video and play ads. The CW and CBS do this. These players are designed to prevent the viewer from viewing the show without ads. Will those work through this conversion mechanism? If not, there's not going to be consumer acceptance of this.

    (Those players do not play well with high security settings. Some won't run if they can't store cookies. Others will show the same ad over and over. With Flashblock, about half the CBS ads

  • So very, very WRONG (Score:5, Informative)

    by sootman (158191) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @01:24PM (#34114218) Homepage Journal

    "Apple has given approval to an app developed by Skyfire that translates Flash code into HTML5."

    NO IT DOES NOT. As others are pointing out, all this does is use a server to transcode Flash VIDEO and serve it to you. This will not do ANYTHING ELSE with Flash--it certainly DOES NOT "translate Flash code into HTML5 [code]". Better description here. [tuaw.com]

    Also worth noting: "Hulu has also blocked Skyfire to guarantee that users who want to watch the streaming TV service on the iPad have to continue to pay $10 per month for Hulu Plus."

  • by gig (78408) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @02:47PM (#34115310)

    The HTML5/Flash debate is no longer raging, it's very much winding down. Java and Silverlight in the browser have also been supplanted by HTML5 already.

    The Skyfire app is not embedded in Safari, it has its own WebKit view, same as Safari and many other OS X apps.

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