Apple bans Flash-to-iPhone conversions in apps

Steve Jobs didn’t mention it onstage this morning at Apple’s iPhone OS 4.0 press event at the company’s Cupertino headquarters. But Apple has made a change to the wording in the company’s iPhone Developer Program License Agreement, to which all aspiring app developers must agree.

The new wording says:

“Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).”

Apple pundit John Gruber translated the legalese to English: No Flash. Previously, developers were allowed to use conversion tools to build iPhone apps from pre-existing Flash games. Now, they’ll need to build iPhone versions more or less from scratch.

Adobe’s upcoming Flash-to-iPhone compiler seems to be the target of the change. “It could hardly be more clear if they singled out Flash CS5 by name,” Gruber wrote.

Beyond Flash, the new rule may also be used to block cross-platform app maker software such as Appcelerator’s Titanium or Unity 3D. As always with Apple’s app review process, we won’t know what’s going on until the first few apps are accepted or rejected, which could take weeks.

Update: Adobe has commented as well, saying they’re “looking into it.”

[Image: MSLK]