Our operatives at this week's WWDC have confirmed with Apple representatives that initial software included with the iPhone will not offer the ability to play back Flash content embedded in Web pages; nor will the device initially offer a Java runtime engine.
Flash Apparently, though the Safari browser on the iPhone will have a plug-in architecture, a Flash plug-in will not be delivered in time for launch. It also appears that the version of QuickTime used by the iPhone is a stripped down version, since the full-blown Mac OS X version of QuickTime has limited built-in support for playing back Flash content. The rationale behind the decision to exclude Flash is still mysterious, though speculation posits battery life and security concerns.
We received this statement from Adobe on the matter:
"Apple hasn't disclosed this level of detail and it would be inappropriate for us to comment. Â I suggest you speak to them directly. It's important to note that our relationship with Apple continues to be strong. Â It would make sense for them to use Flash on their phone given their desire to have a great mobile experience for their users."
Java The exclusion of Java is less of a surprise, merely being corroborated at WWDC. In January, Steve Jobs told the New York Times "Javaâ??s not worth building in. Nobody uses Java anymore. Itâ??s this big heavyweight ball and chain." This is contradictory to Apple's stance on Java for Macs, as the company develops and maintains its own Java virtual machine, stating on its own Web site that "Mac OS X the ultimate platform for developing and deploying cross-platform Java applications."
Of course, these revelations do nothing to preclude future Flash and (less likely) Java support in a forthcoming iPhone software revision. Apple has already demonstrated its ability to push significant new capabilities to its non-Mac devices by delivering access to YouTube content on the Apple TV.