Opera Submits its iPhone Web Browser to Apple’s App Store

Contributing Editor

Opera on the iPhoneThis could be interesting. Opera has completed their new version of Opera Mini for the Apple iPhone (and the imminent iPad). It’s been submitted to Apple for inclusion in their App Store and could be available within days. Or perhaps not.Opera on the iPhoneOpera Mini 5 for the iPhone looks almost identical to their browser on the Android, Symbian and Nokia platforms. It offers a range of features normally found in desktop browsers such as tabs, search, speed dial, and bookmark synchronization.The browser is also fast. Perhaps the best news for iPhone users is Opera Turbo; a facility which uses Opera proxy servers to deliver highly-compressed pages and images and increase download speeds. In Opera’s publicity video below, they demonstrate 5 pages loading in the same time it takes the iPhone’s native Safari browser to download just one.Unfortunately, the the new browser still won’t provide Flash on Apple’s device but, if I were Adobe, I’d hastily arrange arrange a few exploratory meetings with the Opera development team.The big question is: will Apple permit the Opera browser in its App Store? Opera competes directly against the Safari browser and Apple could argue that it doesn’t offer a seamless iPhone-like interface. They have rejected applications for more arcane reasons.I hope Apple doesn’t obstruct healthy competition and accepts the browser on their device. They certainly don’t want to incur the wrath of Opera users!

Would you use Opera on the iPhone? Is Safari good enough? Will Apple accept the browser? Or has Opera’s development effort been in vain?Place your bets now…

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  • madr

    I will most likely switch to Opera since I prefer it over Safari on handheld units. If and when Apple approves it.

  • http://www.jonathanpenny.co.uk jonpenny

    If Apple refuse Opera in the app store can they be taken to court in Europe like Microsoft was over browser competition? Then made to have a screen where an iPhone user chooses what browser they want on their phone by default? If not then I think it is a little unfair MS (rightly imo) had to do it for their OS but Apple don’t for the iPhone. Or am I missing something? Apple are pretty dominant in the mobile market like MS are in the OS market…

  • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

    @jonpenny

    If Apple refuse Opera in the app store can they be taken to court in Europe like Microsoft was over browser competition?

    I doubt it. The iPhone is incredibly popular, but Apple does not have a mobile/smart phone monopoly. It can therefore do what it likes and control what software is distributed on it’s device. You can simply choose to buy a different phone if you don’t agree with their policies.

    However, if Apple choose not to allow Opera I suspect they’ll invoke a massive flame battle. Dropping Flash is one thing, but dropping a (possibly) superior browser?…

  • http://www.deanclatworthy.com Dean C

    I would *LOVE* this to be accepted, but it’s directly in breach of the iPhone Developer T&C’s which state an application can’t offer functionality already offered by a standard iPhone app.

  • http://www.magain.com/ Matthew Magain

    Their countdown (countup?) until the app is approved by Apple is genius marketing.

  • jeffbax

    Do you all even know how it works? Everything you browse is sent through Opera’s servers first. If someone can explain why that is at all trustable, I’m interested to hear it. It also has no real Javascript support which will make usability interesting to say the least.

    I’d like to see other browsers without Flash support, but the workaround Opera is using is dubious to say the least. I wouldn’t trust all my data on one proxy.

    Also sitepoint, whatever onready Js you use on mobile forces Safari to scroll all the way back up the page regardless of where you’ve already scrolled to. Kind of janky (though I guess Opera wouldn’t show this behavior ;)

  • madr

    Cool! In sweden we did something similar for our Public Service Television App: http://dearstevejobs.com

  • WinkyWolla

    @jeffbax

    Do you all even know how it works? Everything you browse is sent through Opera’s servers first. If someone can explain why that is at all trustable, I’m interested to hear it.

    Do you trust your ISP, your bank, Google, etc.? Opera is from Norway, and Norway has seriously strict laws around privacy. Opera also have a great track record when it comes to privacy. Unlike Google, they are not interested in gathering as much data on you as they possibly can.

    It also has no real Javascript support which will make usability interesting to say the least.

    It fully supports JS, but some Ajax requires the page to be reloaded (go through the server for each Ajax request).

    the workaround Opera is using is dubious to say the least

    Workaround? Dubious? It’s not like Opera is hiding the fact that their proxies are compressing data by up to 90%. In fact, they are actively bragging about their compression technology.

  • markladson

    I would love this to be approved as I think Safari lacks anything above the basics. More crucially it’s pretty slow, so if Opera can speed things up at all I welcome their entrance!

  • willthiswork

    However, if Apple choose not to allow Opera I suspect they’ll invoke a massive flame battle. Dropping Flash is one thing, but dropping a (possibly) superior browser?…

    Well, one would say that apple is no longer an innovative company and uses dirty and possibly illegal practices because it fears its competitors. It builds a platform but doesn’t allow third parties to build software for it. Does it sound so strange or so new?

  • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

    @jeffbax

    Everything you browse is sent through Opera’s servers first.

    Only if Turbo mode is enabled. You can switch it off and generally should if you’re on a fast 3G or wi-fi network.

    If someone can explain why that is at all trustable

    As WillyWonka states, strict laws are in place. Also, Turbo doesn’t operate over an HTTPS connection, such as banking sites. Finally, your net traffic passes through hundreds of servers whether you use Turbo or not.

    It also has no real Javascript support

    It does support Java. Flash is not supported because Apple refused Adobe’s plugin.

  • http://icoland.com/ glenngould

    An article by Paul Graham about the App Store: Apple’s Mistake

  • http://www.lunadesign.org awasson

    Oh, I sure hope it gets approved… I’ll download and put it to use in a hot second!

    I’m not worried about Opera or any other browser’s ability to monitor my web whereabouts… They will see a whole lot of SitePoint I’m sure : )

  • Taegaliann

    Something to remember is that to apply for the Apple iPhone Developers programme you have to jump through some hoops, especially when registering as a company (which one would assume Opera had too). So Apple would have know from the very beginning what they were intending to produce (and if they honestly thought, “hmm this company called Opera Software ASA, applying for the developer programme with the same registered address as the Opera Software ASA that makes that browser people use, is not going to be making a browser for the iPhone…” well they could have rejected their application then and there… Just a thought.

    But I hope it gets approved. I think it will be good, and Steve Jobs was recently quoted saying that they like healthy competition, or something to that affect.