From the day Steve Jobs announced the iPhone, there have always been a vocal minority of users lamenting the device’s lack of Flash support. Over the last few years, Apple and Adobe have engaged in a war of words over Flash that even prompted Steve Jobs to pen an entire letter devoted to explaining why Apple wasn’t keen on Flash.
Now, over four years since the iPhone first launched, Adobe has arguably caved.
Last week, Adobe announced its new Flash Media Server 4.5 and it’s a pretty big deal. Adobe’s new software will, for the first time, enable publishers to deliver same-source video content to all mobile devices, flash enabled or not. That’s right, iPhone and iPad users accustomed to seeing a dreaded question mark when trying to play mobile Flash video can rejoice.
“With Flash Media Server 4.5,” Adobe’s press release reads, “media publishers can extend their already broad mobile reach via Flash-enabled devices, with the new ability to deliver video content to Apple’s iPad and iPhone devices, enabling them to reach the widest audience possible.”
Adobe explains that their software repackages content in real-time and is able to dynamically change the video delivery protocol to align with the requirements of a specific device.
Gigaom chimes in and writes that Adobe’s new offering is a clear sign Apple won and Adobe lost:
Adobe will continue to offer Flash, of course, but this is a clear acknowledgement that different solutions are necessary for the growing category of mobile video, which is dominated by Apple devices. Apple called this future, refused to waver, and now Adobe is wisely bending in response in order to remain relevant. While this is incontestably a win for Apple, it’s also a big step forward for Adobe, since now content producers and publishers won’t have to look elsewhere in order to serve the entire mobile market.
A positive step, to be sure, but this isn’t the first time Flash video will be viewable on iOS devices. In late 2010 a web browser called Skyfire made its way into the iTunes App Store. It’s core feature is that it’s able to convert Flash video into HTML 5 video on the fly. That said, it’s nice to finally see a solution from Adobe.
Adobe Flash Media Server 4.5 is available now for publishers for $4,500