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Shock: Opera Approved By Apple, Browser Enters App Store

Gordon Kelly


Shock: Opera Approved By Apple, Browser Enters App Store

Now this opens the floodgates...

Apple has one-upped the shock it gave us approving the Spotify app, by announcing it has also given the green light to the Opera Mini browser and made it immediately available in the App Store.

"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)


April 13, 2010, 8:54 am

Just downloaded Opera and had a play about. Found out you can get rid of the space reducing title bar at top of page by going into settings and selecting 'full screen' mode, you then get all the real estate back again. The cacheing is great!


April 13, 2010, 11:17 am

Yeah... em, I guess I was wrong.


April 13, 2010, 12:31 pm

Oh goodie :) does it support flash ?

*ducks and runs for cover*

Stewart Clark

April 13, 2010, 12:36 pm

I have tried it and it is streets ahead of safari, all I need now is to be able to set it as my default browser. Any suggestions?

Kenny ll

April 13, 2010, 12:43 pm

It's not really all that shocking seeing as there are dozens of browser apps (free and paid for) in the app store.


April 13, 2010, 1:07 pm

I can't believe they accepted it! It's certainly fast and provides a good alternative to Safari. There are a few issues mind, some of the pages don't seem to format as well as Safari and you don't get access to the iPhone friendly Google sites such as Reader. It is handy to be able to turn "format for mobile" on or off though and caching the pages is great.

If ever I am out and about and have poor reception I can definitely see me going to Opera first.

Note that tapping on the red bar seems to perform the jump to top of page function.

Don Kanonjii

April 13, 2010, 1:18 pm

Wow, shock indeed. Just downloaded the Beta for Android and it is very quick and rather nice!

Digital Fury

April 13, 2010, 1:44 pm

It works and it's fast, but the fixed two zoom levels are not very practical. The small one is very small, and you have to scroll left/right and up/down all the time with the other one.


April 13, 2010, 2:22 pm

Gordon "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"

You can go into settings and tap full screen. This also reduces the bottom bar to a zoom out/back button and the settings pup-up button.


April 13, 2010, 2:32 pm


1. The UI is clunky.

2. There are no zoom levels, just double-tap zoom in and single-tap zoom out.

3. The page rendering is not consistent.

4. Using it feels like regressing to pre-iphone era


1. Tab browsing

2. Saved pages

3. Cache

4. Search within webpage


April 13, 2010, 2:32 pm

It's indeed fast and the speeddial is nice, but other than that... I cant seem to import my bookmarks, something which is trivial with mobile safari. And certain pages will either not load the mobile version as I am accustomed to automatically happen, or will not load at all. It sure has some nice ideas, but overall maturity seems to lack a tad...

Digital Fury

April 13, 2010, 2:32 pm

@WestHej, found out too how to switch to "full screen" mode, however it's not very intuitive and the default mode leaves a negative 1st impression.


April 13, 2010, 2:35 pm

Apple are continuing to gain respect in my eyes. Has Steve declared a new policy of Glasnost?


April 13, 2010, 2:37 pm

@KMJB - Google are famously quick to respond to things like this, so I'd expect the iPhone friendly versions of Google sites will be available on Opera Mini soon - surely it is little more than a case of Google recognising the Opera Mini user agent string and piping out the appropriate version of their sites, possibly with minor tweaks.


April 13, 2010, 3:31 pm

Maybe Apple have a new Mobile Safari version in the pipeline along with OS4 and the new iphone hardware, and they're confident that it'll trump this? Just guessing.

Still, this news flies in the face of 'The regime's' normal way of behaving. I smell a rat!


April 13, 2010, 3:53 pm

Unfortunately at the other end of the scale, Apple seem happy to upset all the small developers -> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/...


April 13, 2010, 4:03 pm

@MrGodfrey - Hardly, the wall around the garden is as solid as ever:



April 13, 2010, 4:38 pm

I bet MS has no interest putting IE on iphone.. anyone?


April 13, 2010, 4:47 pm

Just gave it a shot. Not quite as fluid as Safari but a lot quicker from where Im at just now. Not that I was expected this in the slightest but I had a sneaky hope that Napster would work - it doesnt, boo!

I know flash is buggy and the source of numerous crashes but I want!


April 13, 2010, 4:56 pm

it is a good alternative to safari until you get to a page where you want to enter a password, because the way opera browser works by processing your info in the cloud I wouldn't be using it for any sensitive data


April 13, 2010, 4:59 pm


HuH? You not read about Apple and Flash?? - Such a rich internet experience on apple iphone!

Respect? -For their needs as a platform, not the consumer in this case. Apple are being narrow minded methinks, to the point of obsession.

But on topic, good for Opera, its my main pc browser and a good one too.


April 13, 2010, 6:24 pm

Have to say I'm quite surprised that Apple approved this but I'm, glad to be proved wrong. Although I don't think it's the slickest browser on mobile it really is quick and is great for saving bandwidth and battery life.


There's a great article on Ars Technica about this. Apple are using the pretense that not allowing private APIs and restricting the code used will lead to better apps. They're really just trying to limit the potential to create cross platform apps which benefits them and hurts all other mobile platforms.

Ala Miah

April 13, 2010, 7:37 pm

Just wait for Firefox and dare I say Chrome to Join the table!


April 13, 2010, 8:28 pm

Ebbesen: That is disappointing, sadly not surprising though.

Chocoa: I know all about Apple and Flash - along with the myriad other reasons they've given me to dislike them. That's why I used the "Glasnost" analogy - because they weren't exactly starting from a good place when it comes to openness. So any progress is good - although it seems that where they give with one hand, they take away with the other...

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