But thanks to the threat of competition from other platforms like Android, Apple now accepts most categories of apps from third-party developers.
They have introduced features that Mobile Safari (the included browser) doesn’t have like tabbed browsing, better privacy settings and the ability to modify your browser’s user-agent (the label with which your browser presents itself to the world).
This results in a faster, more cost- efficient browsing experience for your iPhone or iPad.
According to Opera, Opera Mini can help render pages up to six times faster than Mobile Safari when you’re on a slow or crowded network.
Opera Mini also introduces some useful features like Speed Dial and Visual Tabs. Speed Dial lets you access your favourite websites with a single tap while Visual Tabs lets you see all of your open webpages and switch between them easily.
Lastly, if you use Opera Mini on more than one device you can easily synchronise your bookmarks between devices.
As well as Gestures, Dolphin has some other key features that make it the browser of choice for more than nine million users, including Webzines, One Click Share and Speed Dial.
Webzines is a similar feature to the new Reader feature in iOS 5 that gets rid of all the clutter on a web page to let you focus on the content.
One-click share lets you share websites while browsing without leaving the page you’re on.
To share a site you simply click the Twitter icon on the top right corner of the screen and then send the link as a Tweet or post it to your Facebook wall.
Speed Dial is a feature that lets you go to your favourite website really quickly. Think of Speed Dial as a list of your frequently visited websites that you want to get to with one touch.
Terra – Web Browser
It’s not that Safari is a slouch in terms of speed, but it does miss some features now commonplace in desktop browsers.
The biggest and most important feature is tabs. Enter Terra, an iPad browser that lets you have as many tabs as you want, plus some other great features too.
Using Terra is very familiar. Tap the ‘+’ tab in the right hand corner to start a new tab and simply navigate to the page you want. You close the tabs by pressing the cross on the open tab. Terra claim that it supports ‘unlimited’ tabs, but like any iOS app it will need to refresh the contents on the page when memory runs low.
Terra also has a couple of other features I really like. The first is the ability to change the user agent of the browser.
For example, you can get Terra to pretend it’s Firefox or Chrome to the website you’re visiting.
In some cases that means you can access the ‘full’ website rather than the iPad or mobile version the site would rather provide.
Lastly, Terra makes it easy to save web pages for viewing while offline, and will also include images too. This feature is perfect for when you’re away from a network, like when you’re on a plane.