To no one's surprise, but perhaps to a few's disppointment, Apple may have denied entry to the iTunes App Store to Opera Mini. Says the New York Times (via Daring Fireball):

Mr. von Tetzchner said that Opera’s engineers have developed a version of Opera Mini that can run on an Apple iPhone, but Apple won’t let the company release it because it competes with Apple’s own Safari browser.

Opera doesn't state what the terms of rejection were, be it "duplicative functionality" like PodCaster, they dared touch Steve Jobs' sacred dock, or whether they were trying to parse JavaScript against the terms of the SDK. Whatever the reason, however, there remains uncertainty for developers and a deafening lack of justification from Apple. (Perhaps even more ironic, given Valley Wag's assertion that Opera was once considered by Apple to be the iPhone browser!)

For those not familiar with Opera Mini, on the Windows Mobile, Palm, and even Blackberry platforms that have been woefully under-served by the likes of Blazer and Pocket IE, Opera Mini has become one of the first things installed in a desperate attempt to get at least something closer to the actual internet on their devices (though this is changing with the likes of Android, and devices such as the Blackberry Thunder). Opera has also found a niche in embedded systems (e.g. video game platforms).

However, Opera Mini pre-crunching all data on their own servers before shipping it to handsets sets off a "Gibsonian response" in my central security core, so while it wouldn't appeal to me on the iPhone, I would prefer to reject it myself rather than have Apple do so perfunctorily on my behalf.

What about you? Anyone seriously bummed there won't be Opera for the iPhone any time soon?