The Wall Street Journal is postulating on a behind the scenes Apple – Adobe skirmish about putting Flash in the iPhone. I think the argument can be summed up with a sentence:
Who will control video on the mobile web?
Need evidence? If Apple were planning on releasing Flash on the iPhone, why would Youtube be converting their library to H.264? Yes, the Quicktime quality is better – but not that much better than Flash on a 480×320 inch screen. What is more important is that every Youtube video put on the web is effectively a interface for a Flash interfaced mobile video platform.
Furthermore, (although likely a red herring) even the lighter versions of Flash tax the processor and by extention the battery life of a device – which provide a convenient excuse for Apple to say it wants to stay off of Flash.
Also, a big part of iTunes movie rentals is moving the data to the iPhone/iPod touch. At some point in the near future, the Mobile iTunes store will likely have the ability to buy TV shows and movies. Cool! But less cool if those things are also availble on the web in Flash players. For instance, TV shows like Lost.
The Journal speculates that Apple might be working on its own player.
Frankly, Quicktime is already is the player and playing content from it is already being done. It can even play flat SWF files.
I think Apple is purposely delaying the release of the Flash in much the same way that they are delaying iChat. Business reasons rather than technology.
Will Flash ever happen on the iPhone/iPod touch? Perhaps, and maybe it will happen in the coming weeks…but Apple will certainly be aprehensive about it.