After much debate and speculation as to whether or not Apple would accept it, Opera’s mobile browser, known as Opera Mini, is now finally available for the iPhone and can be downloaded from the App Store.
The free browser application, which prides itself on its speed, was sent off to Apple for approval on March 23, nearly three weeks ago, and at the time many were unsure as to what Apple’s final decision would be. Therefore, today’s decision comes as somewhat of a welcome surprise.
But does this move display a possible turn in Apple’s strict policy on not allowing apps that compete with the pre-installed software applications, in this case Safari? It would seem not, as Opera has cleverly made its browser just different enough to not upset the guys in Cupertino. Unlike Safari, Opera Mini does not make use of the WebKit engine, instead, the new mobile browser loads websites via a proxy, which in turn means pages are not rendered directly on the device itself, bypassing any possible problems Apple may have with how code is seen.
Opera’s proxy compresses up-to 90 percent of data, resulting in a faster load time. The app also promises to reduce bandwidth consumption. In addition to packing in attractive speed features, the app also boasts a feature similar to that of Safari’s Top Sites. Known as Speed Dial, the feature offers visual access to nine of your favorite sites.
Whether this will open the app store up to more browser choice is yet to be seen, but the introduction of Opera’s browser to the store is an interesting one. You can find out more about Opera’s journey to the app store in Liam’s post.
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