Nov 042010

Yes, it’s only Flash video, and then only because a third-party app converts it to HTML5 first. But this could be the first chink in the great Flashwall of Apple.


Steve Jobs has successfully prevented Adobe Flash from getting on the iPhone for years, but a new iOS app promises to bring Flash video to the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch without upsetting the CEO.

Demonstrated below, Skyfire is a web browser that automatically transcodes Flash video into HTML5 so it can display on your iDevice (instead of the blue Lego block symbolizing a lack of Flash support).

To our knowledge, Skyfire will be the first app of its kind to offer a roundabout method for watching Flash videos, when it goes live in the App Store this week.

Apple has prohibited Flash from running on iOS devices ever since the original iPhone launched in 2007. In an open letter published in April, Jobs said Flash was the No. 1 reason Macs crash, and he didn’t wish to “reduce reliability” on iOS products. In the same letter, Jobs vocalized his support for HTML5, a new web standard that does not rely on plug-ins.

“New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too),” Jobs said.

The Skyfire app only transcodes Flash videos into HTML5 — not games. A Skyfire representative said the Skyfire app was developed with oversight and feedback from Apple.

“It adheres to every guideline put forth by Apple regarding HTML5 video playback for iOS,” the rep said. “Skyfire will allow consumers to play millions of Flash videos on Apple devices without the technical problems for which Jobs banned Flash.”

The app was submitted late August, and it will go live in the App Store on Thursday.