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Summary:

Having prevented the listing of any web browser apps in the App Store since it’s launch, the past 24 hours has seen Apple begin to authorize this type of application on a widespread basis. The company has been reluctant to sell any applications competing with those […]

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Having prevented the listing of any web browser apps in the App Store since it’s launch, the past 24 hours has seen Apple begin to authorize this type of application on a widespread basis. The company has been reluctant to sell any applications competing with those found on the iPhone by default, such as Safari, Mail and the iPod app.

The applications in question would seem to have been submitted several months ago, and the bulk approval today marks a shift in Apple’s policy towards this area. These new applications include:

Edge Browser (Free) – A full screen browser with no intrusive toolbars.

Incognito ($1.99) and Squeaky ($3.99) – ‘Stealthy’ browsers, which doesn’t record any browsing history.

WebMate: Tabbed Browser ($0.99) – The first ‘tabbed’ browser for the iPhone

Shaking Web ($1.99) – Aims to assist in reading web pages through a technology to compensate for the movement of your hand.

This ongoing approval of browser-based apps is likely to continue over the next few days. It’s great news for Apple fans, as a whole new range of functionality can be introduced to your mobile browsing experience. It remains to be seen whether this will encourage mobile browser releases from competing developers such as Firefox and Opera. Whether any of the browsers approved over the past few days offer a real potential replacement to Safari is debatable, but releases from Firefox and Opera could really push Apple to innovate their own mobile browser at a faster pace.

Many hope that this change of policy will carry forward to areas such as email — an area where the iPhone is arguably not making the most of the technology available. Personally, I feel that any extra competition to keep Apple on their toes is a great thing.

What are your thoughts? Are there any other areas for which you’d like to see Apple relax the restrictions placed on developers?

  1. This is exciting news. I wonder what the odds of seeing Mobile Firefox or Mobile Opera hit the App Store now. Can’t wait!

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  2. @ Chris Pratt

    FireFox and Opera are out because they don’t use the WebKit engine. They could do a Mobile FireFox or Opera by switching to WebKit, but not before.

    WebKit is the faster technology though, and 100% open, so it would be cool if they did. I think pride will get in the way here though, and they will likely just whisper insults from the sidelines and not actually compete.

    I think Opera should at least try. It would be nice to have some non-Norwegians use that thing. ;)

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  3. i’d love to see mobile firefox hit the appstore. hopefully the guys over at mozilla also implement the ability to install addons.

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  4. I wish they would allow Podcaster in the app store. I was an Ad Hoc user until I had to upgrade my iPhone.

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  5. definitely email. I would love a landscape mode that allows me to read from and subject on left pane and preview on the right. Also an email client that supports search and filter??

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  6. [...] A move like this recalls the App Store of old, before the arrival of fart apps, landscape email, 3rd party browsers, and the reimagined version of Podcaster. Why the change in stance? Did someone fall asleep at the [...]

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  7. [...] Apple did begin to approve third-party applications earlier this year, so a Mozilla browser does have a chance for approval. And that could open the door for the Weave service, as well.  Apple’s Mobile Me service doesn’t sync bookmarks or web passwords over-the-air currently, although I suspect these functions could be added in the future. In light of that, I’m thinking we’re about to see Fennec on the iPhone. That’s the simplest explanation, and the simple ones are often right. And there’s a little — admittedly, very little — evidence that the iPhone could be in the mix for Fennec. Digging around the Mozilla wikis, I did find some UI and design bits that specifically show working mockups for the “large format screen (e.g. N810, android, iPhone).” [...]

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