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Tuesday, September 30, 2008, 11:15 am PT (02:15 pm ET)

Adobe Flash player for iPhone due 'soon' if Apple approves

Adobe is nearly done with a version of its Flash Player for the iPhone that could be released 'in a very short time' if it passes Apple's App Store screening process, an Adobe official said this week.

Speaking at the Flash On The Beach (FOTB) conference in Brighton, Sr. Director of Engineering at Adobe Systems Paul Betlem was asked by an audience member for an update on Flash support for iPhone users.

Betlem reportedly responded by saying his team is "working on Flash on the iPhone" but given that the iPhone is a closed and closely guarded system, Apple will have final say over whether the application makes its way onto the App Store.

Should Apple approve the software, it would be available "in a very short time," Betlem added.

In March, Adobe chief executive Shantanu Narayen publicly confirmed that his engineers had begun work on a version of Flash for the iPhone. Three months later he said he was pleased with the ongoing progress. Therefore, the only new information to come from Betlem's comments is word that the first version of the software is nearly ready for submission to Apple.

Betlem offered no further details, leaving several unanswered questions , such as how the player would function within websites given Apple's current iPhone developer guidelines, or how it would prove useful in accessing Flash media as a standalone application.

Earlier this year, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs panned Flash on the iPhone, arguing that its fragmented architecture offered no middle ground suitable for use on his company's mobile products.

Specifically, he said Flash Lite "is not capable of being used with the web" because it doesn't support the same types of Flash media accessible by the traditional version of Flash player on the PC. On the otherhand, the version built for PC was dubbed a resource hog that "performs too slow to be useful" on the iPhone.

"There's this missing product in the middle," he said.

It remains to be seen whether Adobe's most recent efforts are suited to fill that gap.

For more on Apple's broader resistance to embracing Adobe's Flash technology, please see AppleInsider's three-part series: Flash Wars.