Apple iPhone and iPad sales could suffer if the company continues to ignore Flash when competing devices allow users to view a broader variety of content, according to analyst firm Ovum.
Android 2.2 was the first platform to support Flash 10.1, and the companies behind BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, Symbian, MeeGo and WebOS have already announced that they will support Flash in the future.
Ovum analyst Nick Dillon told V3.co.uk that Apple could run into trouble as consumers expect to view the same content on mobile devices that they do on desktops.
"Apple will be the odd one out if users are not able to access content on its devices that can be viewed on other handsets," he said.
"We are likely to see an impact on the sale of Apple devices as Flash support has become widespread. Other manufacturers such as HTC could see a boost in shipments."
Dillon argued that the now infamous open letter from Steve Jobs criticising Flash is a moot point, as it was written at a time when Flash 10.1 was not available on mobile devices.
However, it will take a significant outcry from consumers, developers and the media if Apple is to finally give in and allow Flash onto its devices.
"Flash has gained ground with device vendors, and Adobe has been addressing bugs and security issues. The main issue is not a problem with Flash itself. More likely it is that Apple wants users and developers to use its native applications," he said.
"Apple may need to re-evaluate its position if its dominance is threatened as a result."
Flash is popular with developers as they can write applications once and use them across multiple platforms, saving time and money, the analyst added.
"In addition to garnering support for Flash 10, Adobe has launched its own InMarket app distribution service for Flash and AIR applications," he said.
"InMarket will help developers to sell their apps across various devices. This is clearly a big draw for developers, and will threaten the dominance of platform vendors in the mobile apps market."
Nick McQuire, EMEA research director for enterprise mobility at analyst firm IDC, agreed that pressure from users and competitors could force Apple's hand on Flash support.
"Apple isn't having any immediate problems selling devices despite this protracted saga but there is an air of inevitability to Apple embracing Flash in time, especially if competitors can prove a compelling user experience in supporting the platform," he said.
There is clear demand for Flash among Apple users, as was demonstrated by the Skyfire app which went on sale for $2.99 in the US and sold out in the App Store within 24 hours.
The app bypasses the Apple ban, as it channels all web requests via Skyfire's servers, which transcode Flash-based video into formats supported by the iPhone.
However, Skyfire's servers were unable to keep up with demand, and the firm had to temporarily pull the app.
Skyfire is likely to continue selling the app in batches on a first come first served basis, and it will be highly sought after for the foreseeable future.
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