iSwifter: The iPad Flash App That Could
Apple’s and Adobe’s relationship represents a strained friendship between best friends whose values have changed. It wasn’t long ago when former Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen was a staple in Jobs’ keynote presentations. But Apple’s strongly worded open letter regarding the role of Flash and the technology’s flaws publicized their rivalry.
The iPhone has never carried Adobe Flash out of the box. In fact, Apple has begun releasing new models from their computer product line without Flash at all. It seems the only hope for iPhone users looking to use Flash apps is to jailbreak their phones. Now iSwifter provides another option, and it has already been approved in the iTunes App Store.
Instead of compiling Flash apps to work on iOS (as many have tried), iSwifter uses servers set up as a cloud to run abstraction software. Therefore, when you’re playing a Flash app on your iPad, you’re iPad is serving as more of a terminal by transmitting input and receiving feedback.
It’s not a plugin, so you still won’t be able to view Flash content in Safari. It’s not a web browser either. It’s a gaming portal that houses Flash games. The app is free to use for the first 2,000 games played.
iSwifter is far from perfect. People demoing the iPad app realize it’s slow and laggy; two things you’d expect from an app that’s abstracting in real time, and also the two things that may be enough to render the app unusable. Like many of the apps featured on Mini Sprout, don’t consider it a final draft. Beta releases aren’t for the faint at heart.
iSwifter represents a fairly significant step for Apple to begin opening their walled garden. In the last few months, app approvals have become noticeably less strict as Apple faced heightened scrutiny from developers who were threatening to abandon the platform for Android. The app represents an opportunity for developers to get their creations on another very large platform with minimal obstacles. What’s still left to be seen is whether iSwifter is a step in the right direction.