Now this opens the floodgates...
"We are delighted to offer iPhone and iPod touch users a great browsing experience with the Opera Mini App," said presumably stunned Opera CEO Lars Boilesen. "This app is another step toward Opera's goal of bringing the Web to more people in more places."
How is it? Well early impressions are pretty good. The main benefit is speed with Mini using its famed compression technology to shrink webpage data sizes up to 90 per cent meaning super quick loading times (as seen in the demo above) and significantly reduced data charges should you be roaming abroad.
On top of this Opera Mini fixes one extremely annoying trait of mobile Safari: it caches pages meaning you can surf backwards and forwards between previously opened pages instantly. There are also multiple search engines available and highlighted text can be searched for directly with them. These are two surprising flaws I would have expected to see fixed in iPhone OS 4.0.
On the downside Opera Mini has a needless bar telling you the name of the site you're on which wastes precious screen retail estate and, strangely, you can't scroll to the top of the screen by tapping the iPhone's grey status bar along the top (something which works in every core and third party app I've used to date). Perhaps more crucially, however, all links opened in email or third party apps open Safari not Opera by default and there is no way to override this (perhaps why Apple was so happy to give its approval).
That said, for a version 1.0 Opera Mini for iPhone gives mobile Safari (and Apple) a lot to think about. It also potentially opens the door for Firefox Mobile and... this may be pushing it... Chrome.
Opera Mini for iPhone (iTunes Link)