Adobe seems to be putting a fair amount of emphasis on Apollo’s off-line capabilities, which are interesting, but what device isn’t connected 24/7 now? With everything going online – Writely, Google Spreadsheets, Basecamp, all the “rich” Web 2.0 Ajax stuff, Apollo is being introduced at an awkward time. How is it that Adobe is returning to the desktop right when everything is moving to the web? The desktop is becoming less relevant every day. I’m thinking the big markets for this will be car dashboard displays, kiosks, point-of-sale devices, handhelds, and cell phones. Personally, it’s hard to imagine developing any HTML/Flash/PDF system that I would also feel strongly should also be available as a standalone desktop application. But I could be wrong – look at the popularity of both Apple’s and Yahoo’s “widgets” systems (Apollo is like widgets plus BALCO).
If there was ever a product that needed a focus group to hone its message and understand its market, this was it. The eight web developers in the room had very different takes on what Apollo was, what it could do, or what it could mean to the web. Still, some very cool demos, and I have to admit it’s nice to be able to drop the browser chrome completely, go full-screen, use window transparency, etc.
Like Java, Apollo apps have the ability to access resources on the local machine (a developer demo’d a file manager like the OS X Finder, but running on Windows). Didn’t hear much about security (no time), but clearly it will be an issue for Apollo. Also, no PHP/CF/ASP services available, unless developers also create a server back-end for it to talk to.
Whether it has the potential to explode or will fizzle on the vine is anyone’s guess. Its amorphousness may make it hard to explain to users. If tonight’s session was any indication, it may be tough to explain to developers as well. A key to success will be in making it dirt-simple to generate Apollo apps. I would expect HTML or Flash developers to be able to drag a .swf or folder full of .html docs onto an icon and have an Apollo app be spit out the other end, or to export to Apollo directly from Dreamweaver, Acrobat, or Flash. Another Adobe-length learning curve could kill this thing.
Anyway, pretty cool tech. I just worry that the browser already “owns” cross-platform app space, and that it will be hard for Adobe to find a sweet spot for this.
* No, I’m not breaking any NDAs here.