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Adobe clears up likelihood of Flash for iPhone

While a recent news report stoked anticipation that Apple's iPhone SDK would at last allow for a native version of Flash, Adobe has since said that a solution won't be as simple as suggested earlier this week.

The software developer issued a statement to the press on Wednesday which dampened the high expectations set by a Wall Street Journal account of an Adobe financial conference call, which claimed that the SDK alone was enough for a native version of Flash. A fully functional version that ran within a web browser would require far more integration than the SDK allows, the company says.

"Adobe has evaluated the iPhone SDK and can now start to develop a way to bring Flash Player to the iPhone," the statement reads. "However, to bring the full capabilities of Flash to the iPhone web-browsing experience we do need to work with Apple beyond and above what is available through the SDK and the current license around it. We think Flash availability on the iPhone benefits Apple and Adobe’s millions of joint customers, so we want to work with Apple to bring these capabilities to the device."

The statement reinforces the design limits set forth by Apple for its development kit for its handheld devices, which have so far complicated Sun's Java development as well as hopes to bring a host of other programs to the device. The iPhone maker currently restricts any third-party software from running in the background or launching executable code of its own, both of which pose immediate problems for an embedded program such as Flash.

Apple has also been selective about which features of its devices can be integrated with outside apps and has reportedly blocked access to music functions entirely for anyone but itself. A Flash application usable from its normal home on the web would require direct access to Safari and the ability to run side-by-side with Apple code.

Regardless of technical capabilities, Adobe has yet to overcome resistance from Apple chief Steve Jobs. The executive quashed short-term hopes for a Flash add-on to the iPhone by rejecting the idea of direct ports of either Flash Lite or a full desktop Flash port, alternately calling them too limited and too slow to work properly with the iPhone's hardware and software.