Adobe announced on Monday that Adobe Flash Professional CS5 will allow Flash developers to export their Flash apps as iPhone apps, apps that can then be submitted to Apple's App Store. The company said it planned to release a public beta of Flash Professional CS5 with this feature "later this year."
While a far cry from a Flash plugin for Apple's Safari for iPhone, the announcement marks a step forward for Adobe's Flash platform which is currently on the fast track to nowhere on the hottest mobile phone platform on the planet. When Adobe is able to bring it to market, the conversion tools in Flash Professional CS5 will allow the myriad of Flash browser apps, including the thousands of games that have been developed for Flash, to at least make their way to the App Store submission list.
Currently, iPhone app developers have to develop with Objective C, one of the native coding languages for Mac OS X, and the only official language for iPhone OS. Objective C is not widely used outside the Apple ecosystem, and learning a new language is a barrier for outside developers to cross over into the iPhone world.
While thousands of developers have done so, Adobe's move with Flash Pro CS5 will remove that barrier to those already comfy in the Flash world, which should mean the march to 200,000 iPhone apps will get a shot in the arm.
Earlier on Monday, Adobe also announced Flash 10.1, a release of the platform that was intended to bring mobile platforms in sync with desktop and latptop computers. Flash 10.1 will be integral to the iPhone app conversion, though it will still not allow Flash to run on the iPhone.
The company will be releasing Flash 10.1 in beta later this year for all of the major mobile phone OSes except for iPhone, where neither Apple nor Adobe have been able to successfully implement it.