Apple is undeniably the most proprietary and closed technology company in the software industry. In fact, Apple makes companies like Microsoft and Adobe look like nonprofit open source organizations in comparison.
Apple’s iPhone product and marketplace have been the latest example of Apple’s excessive control. Apple ingeniously controls its iPhone platform at both the production and distribution levels. In practical terms, this means that iPhone developers must have the Apple SDK (which only runs on a Mac computer) to be able to produce an iPhone application (even if developers use other application SDKs, such as PhoneGap). Developers also must get the application approved by Apple in order to distribute it. Microsoft would not have even dared to dream of such a market scheme.
Nevertheless, at its annual event last week, Adobe demonstrated how developers can circumvent iPhone application’s production restrictions by using the upcoming Adobe Flash CS5 to produce native iPhone applications. And while this has little to nothing to do with putting Flash or AIR on the iPhone, it is big news for mobile developers. It will allow any developer on any platform (such as Mac or Windows) to develop iPhone applications.
As of now, Adobe’s solution lacks many of the most interesting iPhone APIs, but it is safe to assume that if Adobe is serious about promoting AS3, its language for native iPhone development, Adobe will provide full iPhone API access in the final release.