By Craig Buckler

Apple Accepts Opera on the iPhone

By Craig Buckler

I’m amazed. Truly. Apple has approved the Opera browser on it’s hallowed iPhone.

Last month, I reported that Opera had submitted their browser to Apple’s rigorous vetting process. The company started an inventive high-profile publicity campaign with a numerous reports and an approval count-up page. They also encouraged visitors to guess how long the process would take.

However, the chances of inclusion remained slim. Apple already provide Safari on the device and normally defend their competitive advantage. It’s taken a little under 3 weeks to gain approval, but Opera is finally available from the App Store!

It was a tough decision for Apple — or perhaps it wasn’t? Opera led the European Commission into battle against Microsoft and could certainly have made life difficult if Apple rejected the browser. Opera’s shares rose almost 6% after the announcement was made.

Opera claim surfing is up to 5 times faster than Apple’s Safari browser. It achieves this boost with Opera Turbo which routes communications through proxy servers to deliver highly-compressed pages and faster download speeds. Although will it remain effective once several million iPhone owners are using the application?

Congratulations to Opera for having the first third-party browser on the iPhone. And well done Apple for accepting some healthy competition!

The real winners are the iPhone users who have a little more choice from today. Have you tried Opera on your iPhone? Is it better or faster than Safari?

  • Aaron Burrows

    I installed it on my iPod Touch today. I’m sure if I like it. It seems fast enough, but I can’t really tell a difference. There are a few things I don’t like.

    The title bar remains on screen by default, even while scrolling, eating up valuable screen space on a small device. You can turn this off, but it feels backwards. Scrolling/panning is strange. It feels a lot looser than in Safari (or most apps for that matter). The slightest touch causes the image to move, on both axes too – it doesn’t lock into a vertical or horizontal scrolling mode when you flick your finger, as it does in Safari, so it’s more difficult to scroll long sections of text. Also, the text doesn’t render very well at small sizes. I compared in both Safari and Opera and viewed the page in landscape mode, fully zoomed out. In Safari I could read all the headlines in order to navigate quickly to what I want to zoom into to keep reading. With Opera, all I get is black lines until I zoom in closer, then I have to pan around the page to find what I want. So it may be faster, but the experience is not worth it in my experience. Safari is still a better browser. Let’s see if a later version improves on these issues. Until then, I probably won’t use this app.

  • Carl

    Just downloaded and tried it out. Way faster than Safari. Thank you Apple for finally seeing the light.

  • AndyDH

    It’s faster, but seems to be lacking some JS support.

  • I have had the Mercury Web Browser Pro installed on my iPhone for a while now. It is produced by iLegendSoft as far as I can tell, so Opera does not seem to be the first third party browser to be added, as claimed in this article.

  • @torkil
    Perhaps it should be rephrased “the first third-party browser on the iPhone which isn’t based on Webkit”.

    I’m not 100% certain, but Mercury appears to be a Safari reskin.

  • I have actually downloaded Opera for my iPhone and believe this is a great step forward.

    The browser is, in fact, much faster from the moment you open Opera you can feel it. Also, Opera offers a tabbed browsing feature which makes browsing much more enjoyable.

    I will give it a trial of 7 days and see whether Opera got me to switch from Safari.

    I wonder if Microsoft will ever release Internet Explorer for iPhone ;)

  • I think Internet Explorer has as much chance of landing on an iPhone as Safari being the default on Windows. =p

  • I have already tried it and I must say I was expecting more. It seems faster that Safari but I think its not the loading thats faster but the menus of the application tha give you that impression. It has some other minor glitches, too.

    I can’t compare the mobile version that goes through Opera servers cause thats a different story…

    It is a step to the right direction for Apple, thats for sure… but I think we should wait for the next Opera version for switching from mobile Safari.

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