Opera submits Mini browser for iPhone to Apple

Australian Macworld staff
24 March, 2010
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Opera Software has submitted the iPhone version of its Mini browser to Apple for App Store approval, Opera said on Tuesday.

That browser version was first shown at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, and Opera has since worked hard at getting the product as much attention as possible.

Opera is convinced that the browser will be approved by Apple, because of the improved speed it offers compared to Safari and the fact that it already has 50 million users, according to Tor Odland, head of communications at Opera. Internal testing shows that Opera Mini will be up to six times faster than Apple’s Safari browser, according to Opera. The increased speed is in large part because Mini uses a proxy server to compress and reformat Web pages before they are transmitted to the phone.

Using compression also helps consume less data, which is a good thing when users are abroad and mobile data costs more, Opera said. This could also be helpful for those with low data allowances or limited network coverage.

Other features Opera hopes will attract iPhone owners are support for tabs and speed dial, a feature that provides direct access to favourites via thumbnail images on the start page.

Not everyone is as convinced as Opera that the browser will be approved. Back in February, Paolo Pescatore, analyst at CCS Insight, said that it’s highly unlikely that Apple will approve the application, and Pescatore hasn’t heard anything since then to make him change his opinion. But in the end, everyone will have to wait and see what will happen next, according to Pescatore.

Given the deluge of iPad apps likely to be submitted over the next few days, we might have a long wait to find out Apple’s decision.

Apple didn’t respond to calls for a comment.

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