University tech group leaks iPhone technical details

Apple's iPhone will not support Java and Flash

New technical details about Apple's iPhone, leaked to the Web by a University of Washington technology group but since yanked from the school's site, confirmed that the device will not support Adobe's Flash, will rely on QuickTime to display audio and video, and can keep only eight Safari-displayed Web pages in memory at one time.

The University of Washington's emerging technology team posted information gleaned from an iPhone session at last week's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). The nitty-gritty details spelled out during the "Designing Web Content for the iPhone" presentation, according to the team, include:

-- No support for Flash, Adobe's multimedia Web content format.

-- No Java.

-- JavaScript runtime limited to five seconds.

-- QuickTime used for audio and video.

-- A maximum of eight documents loaded in Safari on the iPhone.

-- Links to video on a Web page take users directly to full-screen playback.

-- Support for PDF through Apple's own DisplayPDF code, not Adobe.

-- Multiple gestures automatically available to Web sites viewed through iPhone without any additional coding, and include pinching content to shrink, double-tapping to zoom and two-fingered scrolling.

Although the blog entry has disappeared -- replaced by a message that reads "The topic you are looking for have been deleted" -- the page was still viewable in Google's cache late Tuesday, with a text-only version also available.

Oren Sreebny, director of emerging technology at the school, said it wasn't Apple that called for the deletion. "Someone else in our organization, who had [also] gone to WWDC, pointed out that it was probably in violation of a nondisclosure agreement. We didn't want to get into any trouble, so we removed it," said Sreebny. Apple requires all developers attending WWDC to sign an NDA that bars them from revealing any conference content except for CEO Steve Jobs' keynote.

Earlier this week, the owner of a Web site that provides gas prices at local stations said his server logs showed several iPhone-equipped users had visited the URL using a browser identified as Safari Version 419.3. "[That's] the 'old' Safari, not the 3.0 beta," said the unidentified site owner. That information matches what Sreebny's group had posted; according to the WWDC session notes, the iPhone version of Safari IDs itself to sites as Version 419.3.

The GasApp.com site owner also reported that Safari on the iPhone was running in 320 by 396 resolution for the Web viewing area. "But I don't know if that includes the controls at the bottom or not," said the site operator.

The iPhone goes on sale June 29 in the U.S.

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Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
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