Flash-converting iPhone Skyfire browser to be released in 'batches'

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After initial demand for the Skyfire for iPhone app, a browser that converts Flash videos, overwhelmed the company's servers, Skyfire has announced that it will release the app in 'batches.'

Skyfire CEO Jeff Glueck notified interested customers on the company's blog Friday.

"We are going to open batches of downloads for new users over the coming days," Glueck wrote. "The first batch will be in a few minutes on the Apple App Store. It will be first come, first serve."

The post advises users experiencing initial congestion after downloading the app to "try again an hour later" after the flood of a new batch of users has passed. New batches will be announced by the company on Twitter and Facebook, with batches expected to arrive more frequently over the coming days.

On Tuesday, news that Apple had approved the Skyfire for iPhone app spread so quickly that, when Skyfire was released on Wednesday, the company was forced to pull the app just 5 hours. After the app mysteriously disappeared from the App Store, users expressed concern that Apple had removed it, but Skyfire clarified the situation with a post to the company's blog.

"We are effectively ‘sold out’ and will temporarily not accept new purchases from the App Store," read the post.

Skyfire for iOS, which is actually "a tool that works on top of mobile Safari," converts Flash videos on the web to HTML5 on its own servers, then sends the video to its browser app. The app does not work with the TV streaming site Hulu or Flash games, which require interactivity.

The Skyfire Flash workaround could be a boon for iOS users, though a recent study showed that HTML5 adoption has increased, reducing the need for an iOS-based Flash solution. According to MeFeedia, as of October, 54 percent of H.264 video on the web is available for HTML5 playback, compared to just 10 percent availability in January.

Starting with the MacBook Air, Apple began shipping its Macs without Adobe's Flash plugin installed, ostensibly to ensure that users get "the most up to date and secure version," which they will have to download from Adobe directly. After Ars Technica's MacBook air battery tests with and without Flash installed revealed a 2 hour drop in battery life when surfing the web with Flash, speculation arose that battery performance was also a factor in Apple's decision to ship the MacBook Air without the Flash plugin installed.

Apple and Adobe have been at odds with each other this year, with the company's CEOs engaging in a heated war of words. Apple CEO Steve Jobs published a letter blaming Flash as the No. 1 cause of crashes on the Mac. Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen responded that the fault lies with "the Apple operating system."