Adobe replies to Apple opening store to Flash apps

Following Apple’s announcement that it’s now allowing apps created using third-party tools onto its iTunes App Store — a move that should allow apps designed and developed in Adobe’s Flash Professional CS5 onto to the store — Adobe has released a brief statement.

An Adobe spokesperson told us, “We are encouraged to see Apple lifting its restrictions on its licensing terms, giving developers the freedom to choose what tools they use to develop applications for Apple devices.”

While neither Apple nor Adobe has confirmed that apps created using Flash Pro will pass Apple’s stringent review process, the change in terms effectively removes Apple’s ban on creating apps in this way. It also removes any potential problems caused by digital magazine apps for the iPad created in InDesign — which Adobe has currently in beta and which powered Wired’s acclaimed digital issue. These could technically be considered to be created in a third party tool, though Adobe hasn’t released any details of how such apps are compiled.

Back in April, Adobe announced that it was stopping development of tools for creating iPhone apps in future versions of Flash. We’re waiting to hear back from Adobe as to whether this decision will now be reversed.

Why Apple has previously banned and now allowed such apps is the subject of much conjecture. Previously it’s been suggested that by not allowing games to be produced as quickly and easily as most Web games, Apple has kept the quality high so the end user’s experience in better — and made a healthy profit itself. Relatively expensive development means developers need to charge for even the simplest of games, with the Mac maker taking its usual 30 per cent cut. Another popular opinion is that by preventing apps being developed for multiple platforms at once — as Flash CS5 aims to do — it’s less cost effective for agencies to develop apps for platforms other than the iPhone/iPad.

Apple, as usual, is saying little. But what is clear is that many interactive agencies will be very pleased with this, as the cost of creating iPhone games has dropped dramatically — enabling such projects to be offered to a much wider set of clients. Flash-based creatives will be especially thrilled — though it remains to be seen if consumers relish the glut of carbon-copy advergames that will, inevitably, very quickly appear.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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