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Opera Submits Browser to Apple for App Store Approval

Gordon Kelly


Opera Submits Browser to Apple for App Store Approval

Is this the greatest attempt to provoke App Store wrath since the submission of Spotify?

Hoping for similar (surprising fortune) Opera has today announced that it has submitted a port of its Opera Mini browser to Apple for approval in the App Store. It is also seeking to force Apple's hand with a new website that tracks the time since Opera Mini was submitted (comic genius!).

Of course Apple is infamously strict on barring any app that it deems 'duplicates' core iPhone OS functionality, but it has broken this rule a few times with the likes of third party mail clients and - most famously - apps with overlapping functionality such as Spotify.

My guess is Apple will say no, but that would be a shame - not only since it denies users choice, but also because Opera claims Mini offers major performance benefits over the already quick mobile Safari (see the video above) and it would be good to see if that bears out in real world scenarios. Then again, if Apple does say yes it will create a precedent and inevitably lead to a deluge of such apps.

We're keeping our fingers (naively) crossed...

In related news Mozilla has announced it will can all development of its Firefox Mobile browser on Windows Mobile 6.5 given its impending death and has no plans to offer it for Windows Phone 7 Series until Microsoft allows third party apps the same system rights as core applications.

With this unlikely to be cleared up for some time, and also coupled with the fact that Microsoft is unlikely to be keen to have Internet Explorer mobile replaced by third party alternatives (no matter how desirable that would be for us) I suspect this could lead to an impasse for some time...


Opera Mini Submission Countdown


March 24, 2010, 10:09 am

If you scroll down, there's an equally large timer reading "Time til Opera Mini gets rejected : T-..."

But I'm humble enough to know that if any company can confound smug expectations, it's Apple. Let' be clear though - Spotify got approved, as anyone with sense predicted, because it got crippled into a subscription model with crap sound quality that iTunes needn't worry about. Spotify Mobile is a mere shell of the original beast.


March 24, 2010, 10:42 am

It'll be interesting to see how this one pans out. Having used both Mobile Safari and Opera Mini, I can see how much iPhone/iPod Touch users are missing out on even a tolerable browsing experience as Safari is a truly dreadful browser. The constant reloading of previously visited pages when tracking back and the absence of any options to switch off images or to increase text size are some of the problems I've experienced. Opera on the other hand offers no such handicaps and even offers the option of viewing images on the page your at if you've switched off images at the main.

Lord Comben III

March 24, 2010, 10:48 am

I like opera. And to be honest it shouldn't be public pressure that puts this on the iphone but maybe something like the EU. If microsoft have to offer the choice then hoq can apple get away with denying any competition at all?

Stewart Clark

March 24, 2010, 12:04 pm

Fingers crossed that Apple realise we want choice. All we then need is for the next iPhone to have a removable battery and a card slot. Unfortunately Apple will always do their own thing and we either live with it or buy something else, as I did when I replaced my iPod.


March 24, 2010, 12:08 pm

That is shockingly fast. Has persuaded me to download Opera for my Hero.

Hans Gruber

March 24, 2010, 12:39 pm

Opera mini on Android is the mutz nutz, performing just like the showcase demo above. It'll be a real shame if iPhone users don't get it, it really will. Muhahahahahaha.

Hamish Campbell

March 24, 2010, 1:18 pm

Well I hope in their submission they stressed the reduced bandwidth when using this browser (rendering and compression done on server and sent to device) as this is a significant difference from the current browser and gives a great benefit to users.


March 24, 2010, 2:15 pm

@Lord Comben III: I think the difference is Windows is an 'open' platform and the iPhone OS isn't. Microsoft used IE to kill off Netscape and achieved this because it was in a position where it could bundle it with every copy of Windows and make it the default browser, therefore killing the market for third party browsers. Apple have made it reasonably clear from the start that there is no market for apps that duplicate core functionality. Draconian yes, anti-competitive probably but perhaps not to quite the same extent as Microsoft. I'm guessing the primary reason Microsoft are allowing Adobe to do a native port of Flash for Windows Phone 7 is to allay anti-trust concerns. Mozilla have already bowed out because they can't do a native browser, let's see what Opera do.


March 24, 2010, 2:21 pm

Personally I would like to see Opera Mini get approved for iPhone. The speedier downloads afforded by Opera's web page compression (using their own web proxies) and the true multiple page/tab support look great. I assume it will be free?


March 24, 2010, 2:27 pm

Writing thus using Opera Mini on my Hero. It's actually quicker over 2G than the stock Android browser is over 3G. Result!


March 24, 2010, 2:28 pm

will this support flash video playback at all ?


March 24, 2010, 2:33 pm

Apologies for numerous posts, but thinking about how the Opera web compression works made me wonder about HTTPS connections. They are decrypted in Opera's web proxy so you probably wouldn't want to use Opera Mini where security is important: "All your passwords are belong to us"! Surprised they don't provide an option to turn off the web compression and hence proxy decryption for HTTPS?



March 24, 2010, 2:51 pm

I remember, about a year and a half ago, when the iPhone was THE handset to get because it's mobile browser was ahead of everyone else. It was just slicker and smoother.

Looks like it didn't take long for the competition to catch up!

Can anyone comment who has owned both an Android device and an iPhone? Which do you prefer?


March 24, 2010, 3:39 pm

So i assume opera mini does not support multi touch zoom in-out function? shame


March 24, 2010, 5:07 pm

@xbrumster: Yep, it's promising, but it needs work. Needs multi-touch, more zooming options and better layout. Why are the title and button bars using up my valuable screen space when I don't need them there? Grr...

Very fast though, and I'm loving the start screen and its visual handling of tabs.


March 24, 2010, 6:08 pm

If it's not approved, can Opera please make the app available for download on its site for all of us jailbreakers ? It's bound to be leaked one way or the other isn't it ?


March 25, 2010, 2:00 am

Why not allow it? If the "core apps" are so inherently great and well-integrated then there is no problem; if the competition is better at certain things then Apple can copy them - or rather be influenced by them in a non-lawsuit-provoking way - making their core apps better, and thus the threat is removed. I guess the only problem with this is that Apple would be admitting that not everything they do can be an innovation, and occasionally they have to copy good ideas just like everyone else. Yes it would go against their marketing strategy somewhat, but the products would hold up on their own merits. Is that really so bad?


March 25, 2010, 6:28 am

@Chris: Based on my tests of Opera Mobile on S60, the title bar acted as though it was part of the page itself, scrolling with it as you moved around. I'm not sure if the iPhone version will do that, but it seems logical. You could also choose to hide some of the interface for more viewable area.

The S60 version was wonderful; my experience was hobbled by lack of Flash and my 5800's awful CPU.

Pendejo Sin Nombre

March 25, 2010, 11:47 am

----- "Of course Apple is infamously strict on barring any app that it deems 'duplicates' core iPhone OS functionality, but it has broken this rule a few times with the likes of third party mail clients and - most famously - apps with overlapping functionality such as Spotify" -----

More pertinently, browsers, though they're WebKit based.


March 25, 2010, 5:29 pm

@Spunjji: I'm using the Android version, which keeps a red title bar on the screen at all times, at least by default. I found the option that removed it, so that's one annoyance fixed - thanks for that.

On my Hero, the things that still stand out are the lack of multi-touch, lack of graduated zoom and the slightly fussy scrolling mechanism. These things only stand out because HTC's variation on the Android browser is pretty good, and doesn't have these problems. If Opera can address a few of these issues, I'll have a reason to switch browser.

I've used the standard browser on the 5800, and I completely understand why Opera might be a revelation on that phone :).


March 26, 2010, 2:05 am


I know what you mean. The stock browser is slicker to use. Opera doesn't seem to lock scrolling to just one plain at a time.

Personally I think the performance over 2G plus battery life savings trumps multi touch but to each their own. Also love the tabs implementation.

Tommy K

March 26, 2010, 7:02 pm


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