ReadWriteWeb was the first of many in my feeds to have this story. I expect that Opera will shoot up by number of downloads, driven by their existing user based and the curiosity of other iPhone and iPod users curious to see how the browser stacks up against Mobile Safari.
I downloaded Opera to my iPod. It seems serviceable if a bit rough. Form input lacks the next button which I am sure I’ve seen in other 3rd party apps. I don’t know whether the absence is Opera’s fault or an exclusion in the iPhone OS’s APIs. The mobile Gmail interface looks like crap though again I don’t know if it is because Opera doesn’t support the necessary HTML5 features for the snazzy version or the user agent for the mini version is so new Google isn’t recognizing it yet. I am sure we’ll see a more elaborate teardown on no fewer than a dozen tech blogs on the minute differences between Opera and Mobile Safari on the iPhone. I am merely grateful that choice has been improved, as suspicious as I am of Apple’s motives.
For me this cements my intuition that the approval process is entirely arbitrary and may as well be random. There is a strong trend of applications being rejected for too closely mimicking capabilities of the bundled applications in the iPhone OS. How on earth does this make sense in lit of that reasoning? I mean other than a blatant bone tossed to the strongest critics of Apple’s approval process.
I don’t agree with Curt Hopkins suggestion in the article that this may herald the arrival of other browsers. I’d love to have Fennec on my iPod (when it is a bit more fully baked, mind you), but Mozilla has made it abundantly clear they will not submit Fennec for approval. I do not blame them in the slightest. Given the removal of the Google Voice application from the app store, I doubt that Chrome will ever make it onto the iPhone. I haven’t even heard any whispers to that effect. That makes sense, Google is wiser to focus on their own competitive platform.
What does that leave? Internet Explorer? What other browsers would make it onto the platform that are anything other than the “browsers” that preceded Opera, just re-skinned versions of WebKit?