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Yesterday saw Apple announce removal of the infamous restrictions on 3rd party development tools for iOS devices. Twitter lit up, the blogosphere jumped into gear and speculation began in earnest. So what's this all about and what does it mean for Flash?
Back in April 2010, Apple chose to tighten regulations for 3rd party development tools, effectively rendering Adobe's iPhone compiler useless. In his blog post Thoughts on Flash, Steve Jobs defended his position, listing a number of concerns.
If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features.
Yesterday's press release from Apple marks a significant change in attitude.
In particular, we are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code. This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need.
It's not immediately obvious why this 180° from Apple has come about. It could be argued that it's a direct response to market performance of Smartphones; Android's growing popularity may well have been a factor, but Steve Jobs denies this, saying that figures have been exaggerated.
Whatever the motives behind the decision, Adobe are understandably positive.
We are encouraged to see Apple lifting its restrictions on its licensing terms, giving developers the freedom to choose what tools they use to develop applications for Apple devices.
What Does this all Mean?
Those of you who purchased Adobe Flash CS5 will be able to use the iPhone packager to deliver apps for iOS devices (iPhone, iPod touch and iPad). Adobe have also made clear that they will resume development of the iPhone packager for future releases.
What About Browsing?
Removal of these restrictions does not mean that Flash Player will be brought on board as part of Safari on iOS devices. Neither does it mean that Adobe AIR will be natively supported.
So what do you think? What does this mean for you as a Flash developer? Do you embrace the change, or resent it? What do you think this means for Flash and Apple? We'd love to hear your thoughts!