Opera Mini for iPhone Submitted to iTunes App Store


Opera PR tells us they've submitted their Opera Mini browser for iPhone and iPod touch to the iTunes App Store. If that reads a tad non-plussed, there's a reason for it. We're posting it because it's "big news" but it smells manufactured. No doubt tons of apps were submitted to the App Store today and there's no way we could post about all of them, but due to Apple's perceived reluctance to approve a "rival" browser to Mobile Safari, and Opera's use of that for their own PR purposes, tech sites all of the internet are carrying the story. So good for Opera.

As to the app itself, I'm sure I'll appreciate it when roaming internationally or when caught on really slow EDGE connections, because Opera's proxy servers probably already have most popular sites pre-cooked and ready to render. I won't be using it for banking or highly interactive sites though, because proxy browsers by their nature break SSL encryption and don't offer real speed boosts for non-pre-rendered content.

I do like the idea of diversity and choice in the App Store, however, so hopefully it gets approved and those who want it can have it. (And Apple really needs to add a similar search-for-text-in-page feature to Mobile Safari already).

(Note: for Jailbreakers who want a proxy browser but don't want to wait, @antonioj points us to UCWEB which he says does pretty much the same thing as Opera Mini but is already available on Cydia.)

Opera Mini video after the break...

YouTube link

[gallery link="file" columns="2"]

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Opera Mini for iPhone Submitted to iTunes App Store


That bar along the top telling you you're in Opera Mini constantly is unfortunate. Makes that top bar take up double the amount of real estate as Safari's. Hope it auto-hides after it's first appearance...

Love the look of the page stacks though. And the speed looks great - hope it lives up to this video! :)

This would definately be great in EDGE areas. I think we do need some choice for browser support on iPhone as I did with my Windows Mobile phone. If Mac users can get the option I think all platforms from Apple should be given the option. It looks great and the speed was amazing.

This will likely get in because it's not really a browser, it's just rendering what Opera servers send it. I doubt we'll see any other actual browsers for a long time because Apple won't allow them to interpret code, meaning no JavaScript, etc. and a non-functional browser for most sites.
Browsers are huge security targets now, and it's counter to Apple's model to leave security in the hands of 3rd party software makers (not that they themselves are speedy in the patch area...)

Really nice! I hope it gets approved.
That page load comparison is kinda BS though. They're zooming and clicking on the next page before the current one is finished loading. They could have done the same on Safari too when it partially rendered while Opera was on Page #2. Instead, they just let Safari keep going while they hurried through 3 more pages in Opera.

Yeah I think there is a chance if it getting approved as technically it is not rendering HTML and only really deals with static pages. Opera are also being very shrewd by showing it off at expos and tech blogs and publicly stating why they think it should be approved before even submitting it.
If it does get approved though I hope Opera are
prepared to beef up their proxy servers. It is likely to be popular and iPhone users are used to browsing the web far more than Symbian, Blackberry, and WinMo users combined (who are currently the biggest users of Opera Mini)

Did anyone else notice that facebook did not load in it's mobile format? I sure hope pages like tipb get loaded to their iPhone version rather than the desktop version.

Well I'm sure I'll download it if it's free and maybe buy it if it's good enough. Opera is one of the best browsers. I hope firefox sees this and makes there own iPhone browser, IMO firefox>opera>ie

Jenny Says:
That bar along the top telling you you’re in Opera Mini constantly is unfortunate.
- On WinMob they AutoHide.
Vnes Says:
it won’t cost more than $1.
- On all other platforms it's free, so I think it will be free.
Chris Says:
That page load comparison is kinda BS though.
- The blue loading bar goes all the way to the right, and disapeares before they press a new link.

I call BS on the whole "it's not a browser" thing. Opera has always said in the past that this is a browser. Now, all of a sudden because they want it on the iPhone they're pushing the "it's not really a browser" because all the rendering happens elsewhere on a server. If it's not a web browser then what is it? A proxy browser, ooops same thing regardless of where and how the pages are being processed or rendered.

Looks great, I will certainly try it out. But I just don't get all the "OMG Apple will never approve a competing browser for the iPhone" business. There are already a number of browsers in the app store. I'm using iCab, for example. (It's good too try it. Its management of tabs is I think more practical (though a little less pretty) than both Safari and Opera (instead if s picture of the page it gives you a list with page titles. This is more useful when they are ordinary and not iconic pages)

Can't see it being much use over Safari. Opera Mini was great, when data was expensive, networks where slow, and devices didn't have desktop quality browsers - that's all changed.

@DarthDirk Currently all the web browsers in the App Store are using web kit just like the builtin Safari browser. The only thing that makes each one different are their individual UI's. Thus no matter which one you use you might as well be using Safari.