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Opera teases speedy iPhone browser but denies pact with Apple

post #1 of 64
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Opera this week showed off a new version of its mobile browser created for the iPhone, but the company has told AppleInsider that the software has not yet been submitted to Apple's App Store.

Contacted by AppleInsider Tuesday, Opera spokeswoman Falguni Bhuta said Opera is just showing an exclusive preview of Opera Mini for the iPhone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona only to media and partners. She also specifically disputed a report that claimed Apple and Opera were "working together" on the browser.

"We haven't worked with Apple on it yet," Bhuta said. "We haven't submitted it to the App Store."

Apple has rejected any non-WebKit third-party browsers submitted to the App Store that might replace its own, native Safari application included with all versions of the iPhone and iPod touch. The Cupertino, Calif., company has not indicated that it has changed its policies, suggesting that if Opera were to submit its browser, Apple would reject it.

Apple has not allowed some applications that replicate core features already built in to the iPhone. The most high-profile non-acceptance into the App Store was the Google Voice application, which Apple said too closely mimicked the iPhone's standard software, including management of calls, voicemail and text messages.

Talk of Opera Mini for iPhone occurred soon after the App Store opened in 2008. Even then, it was noted that Apple's rules for submissions kept the software from seeing the light of day.



In its demonstrations of the unreleased iPhone browser, Opera has said its option is six times faster than Apple's Safari when running over 3G. It also restarts with the same session when the browser is closed and reopened.

Opera claims its browser is capable of superior speeds when compared to Safari due to the compression technology used by the company. It noted that Opera Mini has "significantly faster" Web site loading, and can reduce data surcharges for customers. The Opera Mini application also includes the usual features from the browser, such as tabs, Speed Dial, password manager and bookmark syncing.

Officials with the company have said they believe there is no reason for Apple to reject the Opera Mini browser from the App Store. Opera's mobile browser is not based on the WebKit open source project.

"Opera's mission is to bring the Web to the world, and by making Opera Mini available on yet another platform, we are one step closer," said Jon von Tetzchner, co-founder of Opera Software.
post #2 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple has rejected any third-party browsers submitted to the App Store that might replace its own, native Safari application included with all versions of the iPhone and iPod touch. The Cupertino, Calif., company has not indicated that it has changed its policies, suggesting that if Opera were to submit its browser, Apple would reject it.

Apple has not allowed applications that replicate features already built in to the iPhone. The most high-profile non-acceptance into the App Store was the Google Voice application, which Apple said too closely mimicked the iPhone's standard software, including management of calls, voicemail and text messages.

That is an outright lie. I have downloaded over 10 free web browsers from the app store in addition to buying one. I currently use iCab Mobile for $1.99 which is incredibly useful. I use it for downloading and storing offline webpages. It is fully functional and not banned. I hate it when people misrepresent Apple's stance on an issue.

(The only unverified rumor I have heard is that they only allow Webkit based browsers, not other based ones like Opera, but I'm not sure about this.)
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post #3 of 64
Quote:
Officials with the company have said they believe there is no reason for Apple to reject the Opera Mini browser from the App Store.

I'm pretty sure Apple has many reasons to reject any third party browser.
post #4 of 64
I hope Apple accepts it. It seems like a nice browser with some good features. As long as it doesn't try to secretly allow flash I'm sure its fine to have 2 browsers. Although they might try and give Apple shit about a default browser in which case, REJECTED...
post #5 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post

That is an outright lie. I have downloaded over 10 free web browsers from the app store in addition to buying one. I currently use iCab Mobile for $1.99 which is incredibly useful. I use it for downloading and storing offline webpages. It is fully functional and not banned. I hate it when people misrepresent Apple's stance on an issue.

(The only unverified rumor I have heard is that they only allow Webkit based browsers, not other based ones like Opera, but I'm not sure about this.)

Nope, not true. That is just a different UI on top of Safari.
post #6 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by iekozz View Post

Nope, not true. That is just a different UI on top of Safari.

No. You are misrepresenting things here.

Browsers are only allowed if they use WebKit, but that doesn't mean that it's "just a different UI on top of Safari."

If that was true then all browsers except Mozilla and MSIE are also "Safari" including the desktop version of Opera.
post #7 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Browsers are only allowed if they use WebKit,

You know, if that's true, would that mean we could see Google Chrome one here too, because it also uses Webkit?
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post #8 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Opera this week showed off a new version of its mobile browser...

I don't know who wrote this, but this has to be the most slanted article written for AppleInsider in a long while.

First it's a whole article about Opera's new "browser" which isn't actually a browser in the normal sense of the word, that not only doesn't discuss that fact, it doesn't even mention it? What gives? Are you guys purposely trying to deceive here?

Sure it's 6 times faster, but isn't a discussion of the fact that it uses Operas servers to achieve this relevant? How about the security issues of going through some unknown "browsing service"? How about the simple fact that this "browser" is merely showing you jpegs of pages, as opposed to the pages themselves? How can you write an article about this and not include all this stuff?

Secondly, this article repeats things that just aren't true, like "Apple has rejected any third-party browsers submitted to the App Store that might replace its own, native Safari application ..."

The only true fact I get from this article is that the author probably uses Opera.
post #9 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Opera this week showed off a new version of its mobile browser created for the iPhone, but the company has told AppleInsider that the software has not yet been submitted to Apple's App Store.

I say put up or shut up Opera, you pulled this same prank when the App store was announced, but they NEVER submitted it to Apple. It is great and all that you say you can do all these great things. Submit it to Apple and let them decide if it is worth approving, not just posture for months on end and then announce that you have a new version and rinse and repeat.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

No. You are misrepresenting things here.

Browsers are only allowed if they use WebKit, but that doesn't mean that it's "just a different UI on top of Safari."

If that was true then all browsers except Mozilla and MSIE are also "Safari" including the desktop version of Opera.

Mozilla as stated, uses Gecko, IE uses Trident, and Opera uses Presto, not Webkit. Safari would more be a Konqueror clone, as webkit is a fork of KHTML.
post #10 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post

That is an outright lie. I have downloaded over 10 free web browsers from the app store in addition to buying one. I currently use iCab Mobile for $1.99 which is incredibly useful. I use it for downloading and storing offline webpages. It is fully functional and not banned. I hate it when people misrepresent Apple's stance on an issue.

(The only unverified rumor I have heard is that they only allow Webkit based browsers, not other based ones like Opera, but I'm not sure about this.)

They should have clarified more but it's still mobileSafari in all those browser. They're just pulling the framework. Apple hasn't allowed any runtimes not included in the iPhone already.

Luckily for those looking for other options, Opera doesn't violate any of those rules. I had hoped SkyFire would make a debut, too.
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post #11 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xero910 View Post

I hope Apple accepts it. It seems like a nice browser with some good features.

You know, I'm quite intrigued by the concept behind Opera Mobile. It is a terrific idea to render the page on the server and merely send an image of it to the device. I'm not sure if that is exactly how it works (how do you click links?) but such is how I've heard it explained. Also, Apple can never reject it if they don't submit it. I think they're just trying to make a big stink so that when they do submit it, Apple will be "forced" into accepting it. We'll see.
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post #12 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

No. You are misrepresenting things here.

Browsers are only allowed if they use WebKit, but that doesn't mean that it's "just a different UI on top of Safari."

If that was true then all browsers except Mozilla and MSIE are also "Safari" including the desktop version of Opera.

The term WebKit could also be misleading. To be exact, Apple only allows browsers that are based on top of the exact Webkit engine built into iPhone OS. They don't allow any separate copy of browser engines.
post #13 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post

You know, if that's true, would that mean we could see Google Chrome one here too, because it also uses Webkit?

Okay, we should probably define it more clearly.

Browsers that do not use apples Built-in Webkit Engine get rejected.
Googles Chrome does use Webkit, but has its own implementen.

Google Chrome on Mac OS X _does_use Webkit, but not the webkit framework that is built-in in Mac OS X.

So, the whole discussion is not about the browser engine, but rather the frameworks.
if google chrome would use the iphones built-in webkit framework, than it would be fine and apple woudln't reject it (at least not on that ground).
post #14 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

They should have clarified more but it's still mobileSafari in all those browser. They're just pulling the framework. Apple hasn't allowed any runtimes not included in the iPhone already.

You're saying that they're using Webkit (as opposed to a skinned Safari)? Also, how is it that iCab has enabled downloading of files? Is it just that they added a script that tells the browser to store the next linked object into the app's local storage as opposed to the temp storage? I know that iCab has added a lot of features not in mobile Safari and am wondering how that is possible if they can't edit the runtime or add scripting.
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post #15 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by fabiopigi View Post

So, the whole discussion is not about the browser engine, but rather the frameworks.
if google chrome would use the iphones built-in webkit framework, than it would be fine and apple woudln't reject it (at least not on that ground).

Yes, that is more accurate.
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post #16 of 64
One of the things banned in iPhone apps is interpreted code, so a non-WebKit browser with javascript support would fall foul of the rules.

However, Opera does all the execution on its servers and just delivers a compressed image (or other form of static content) to the user, so presumably would pass.

That same server-based execution would of course preclude running of Flash content (usefully).
post #17 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by fabiopigi View Post

Okay, we should probably define it more clearly.

Browsers that do not use apples Built-in Webkit Engine get rejected.
Googles Chrome does use Webkit, but has its own implementen.

Google Chrome on Mac OS X _does_use Webkit, but not the webkit framework that is built-in in Mac OS X.

So, the whole discussion is not about the browser engine, but rather the frameworks.
if google chrome would use the iphones built-in webkit framework, than it would be fine and apple woudln't reject it (at least not on that ground).

Thank you, that cleared up a lot.
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post #18 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post

You know, I'm quite intrigued by the concept behind Opera Mobile. It is a terrific idea to render the page on the server and merely send an image of it to the device. I'm not sure if that is exactly how it works (how do you click links?) but such is how I've heard it explained.

You can try it out on Mac, Windows, and Linux by running the desktop version of Opera and playing with the Opera Turbo feature.

Personally, I think it's something they should have done back in the dial-up days.
post #19 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post

You're saying that they're using Webkit (as opposed to a skinned Safari)? Also, how is it that iCab has enabled downloading of files? Is it just that they added a script that tells the browser to store the next linked object into the app's local storage as opposed to the temp storage? I know that iCab has added a lot of features not in mobile Safari and am wondering how that is possible if they can't edit the runtime or add scripting.

It they go outside the guidelines they will be rejected. My Beejive IM app access a web browser) and downloads files. I don't think I can move those files to the system without first MMS or emailing them to myself.

As I recall, you just call WebKit.framework. It's been awhile since I was pushing through the SDK so I may be remembering incorrectly or things may have changes. I'm sure we have devs here with more detailed and up to date info.
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post #20 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post

You're saying that they're using Webkit (as opposed to a skinned Safari)? Also, how is it that iCab has enabled downloading of files? Is it just that they added a script that tells the browser to store the next linked object into the app's local storage as opposed to the temp storage? I know that iCab has added a lot of features not in mobile Safari and am wondering how that is possible if they can't edit the runtime or add scripting.

File Handling (what to do when opening an URL with .zip) and Page Rendering are two totally different things.

All, the WebKit-Frame work (and therefore engine a little more deeper inside the framework) does, is "convert the HTML code to an image that is displayed inside a WebView". (yes, the insides of a webview is basically just an rendered image, you can see that when zooming you first get a low-res page and after the webkit-framework rerenders the code you get the adapted high-res image).


dont confuse mobile safari with the webkit-framework.
mobile safari uses the webkit framwork AMONG OTHERS.

when you browse a homepage in MS (mobile safari) and click a .zip-link, its not the webkit-framework that says "i cant display this file". its the MS that decides you can't open the file.

another app (iCab e.g.) get the .zip-link and tells you "hey i can't open it, but i could save it".
the "saving-part" has nothing to do with the webkit-framework apart from receiving the URL from the webview.


might be a stupid comparison, but see as it as a car.

The webkit-rendering-engine (the thing safari, chrome, palm pre, etc) use is the engine of the car. just the engine, without the gears, without the transmission, without the other stuff.

the WebKit-Framework from the iPhone OS is the rest of the technical stuff, like the transmission, the gears, the tank, the engine-cooler, etc.

The iCab/mobile Safari app is the rest of the car. How the dashboard looks, how many doors the car has, airconition, color of the chassis etc.
post #21 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jake4223 View Post

I'm pretty sure Apple has many reasons to reject any third party browser.

Such as the $100,000,000 per year from Google?
Yep, that's 100,000,000 reasons right there
post #22 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by fabiopigi View Post

File Handling (what to do when opening an URL with .zip) and Page Rendering are two totally different things.

All, the WebKit-Frame work (and therefore engine a little more deeper inside the framework) does, is "convert the HTML code to an image that is displayed inside a WebView". (yes, the insides of a webview is basically just an rendered image, you can see that when zooming you first get a low-res page and after the webkit-framework rerenders the code you get the adapted high-res image).


dont confuse mobile safari with the webkit-framework.
mobile safari uses the webkit framwork AMONG OTHERS.

when you browse a homepage in MS (mobile safari) and click a .zip-link, its not the webkit-framework that says "i cant display this file". its the MS that decides you can't open the file.

another app (iCab e.g.) get the .zip-link and tells you "hey i can't open it, but i could save it".
the "saving-part" has nothing to do with the webkit-framework apart from receiving the URL from the webview.


might be a stupid comparison, but see as it as a car.

The webkit-rendering-engine (the thing safari, chrome, palm pre, etc) use is the engine of the car. just the engine, without the gears, without the transmission, without the other stuff.

the WebKit-Framework from the iPhone OS is the rest of the technical stuff, like the transmission, the gears, the tank, the engine-cooler, etc.

The iCab/mobile Safari app is the rest of the car. How the dashboard looks, how many doors the car has, airconition, color of the chassis etc.

Thank you very much for your patience and your help. I think I understand it now. I'm fairly new on the technical end of the internet and am striving to learn as much as possible about the general kismet. You have been of much help.
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post #23 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by LTMP View Post

Such as the $100,000,000 per year from Google?
Yep, that's 100,000,000 reasons right there

That's a good one. If Apple lost control over the default search engine in browsers, It would be hard for them to negotiate with any search engine providers
post #24 of 64
Rejected.
post #25 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jake4223 View Post

That's a good one. If Apple lost control over the default search engine in browsers, It would be hard for them to negotiate with any search engine providers

True, but thats not the main complaint.
Apple only has control over the default search engine in its Mobile Safari, but none other available browser.

This would only become a problem, if a 3rd App browser would become so popular that it would effectively hurt mobile safari's share and therefore its search-engine-hits
post #26 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post

That is an outright lie. I have downloaded over 10 free web browsers from the app store in addition to buying one. I currently use iCab Mobile for $1.99 which is incredibly useful. I use it for downloading and storing offline webpages. It is fully functional and not banned. I hate it when people misrepresent Apple's stance on an issue.

(The only unverified rumor I have heard is that they only allow Webkit based browsers, not other based ones like Opera, but I'm not sure about this.)

FYI:

http://www.icab.de/mobileFAQ.html

Quote:
As mentioned above, the WebKit component of the iPhone OS still has some memory issues (Firmware 2.x), it doesn't free all the memory (cache) that is no longer needed, so after a while the device is running out of memory. And when the device is running out of memory, it quits the apps to get more memory back. To limit the memory usage, please avoid open too many Tabs at the same time. Each Tab is creating a WebKit object, which eats up additional memory.

Sometimes it can even help, to switch off the iPhone or iPod Touch completely (hold down the home button and the button at the top of the case at the same time for several seconds, until a slider appears on the screen to switch off the device) and switch it on again.

In case you're still using an older releases of the iPhone OS (firmware 2.x), please update to 3.x, this will fix many bugs and most of the memory issues.

Yes, iCab is built on top of WebKit.
post #27 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jake4223 View Post

I'm pretty sure Apple has many reasons to reject any third party browser.

The main reason is Web Apps, and to a lesser extent, iPhone optimized web sites. If a browser doesn't use WebKit, users likely won't get the same experience accessing these, if they get any usable user experience at all, which is bad for Web App and web site developers, iPhone users and Apple. It's pretty obvious that the Opera iPhone browser will, rightfully, never be approved for the App Store. It's also pretty obvious that Opera know this and are only using this "announcement" to generate publicity for themselves.
post #28 of 64
"Duplicates current iPhone functions"

Rejected.
post #29 of 64
Here's what I don't understand... there is *NOTHING* stopping Opera from releasing a browser on the iPhone. No reason at all. There are several alternative browsers already on the app store that give various levels of functionality including full-screen, tabbed browsing, and web compression. The only issue Apple has is the use of Opera's own rendering engine, which frankly, would offer no benefit at all.

Hell, the only advantage Opera has is their compression engine. Apple is already in the works to build a massive server farm. Who's to say they won't implement their own compression technology into the iPhone? Think about it - it would dramatically lower the strain on the carrier's network and speed up the user's browsing experience considerably.

I like that Opera is around - the more competition out there, the better - but seriously, this is a pointless demo and won't matter to the majority of iPhone users.
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post #30 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jake4223 View Post

That's a good one. If Apple lost control over the default search engine in browsers, It would be hard for them to negotiate with any search engine providers

can't you already change the default search engine?
post #31 of 64
Does anyone know why Microsoft effectively forcing Explorer on the world by bundling it with Windows was considered illegal, yet Apple can force people to use Safari and that is OK?

I'm sure there is a good reason for it, but I don't really know the details of the legal situation that lead to the IE problems.
post #32 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tofino View Post

can't you already change the default search engine?

Yes, you can change the default search engine. What I meant was the 'factory setting' which is Google for now.
post #33 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

Does anyone know why Microsoft effectively forcing Explorer on the world by bundling it with Windows was considered illegal, yet Apple can force people to use Safari and that is OK?

I'm sure there is a good reason for it, but I don't really know the details of the legal situation that lead to the IE problems.

Microsoft had monopoly power in the desktop OS market.

Apple has a tiny market share.

That's the (oversimplified) distinction between the two situations.
post #34 of 64
I don't surf enough on 3G for me to care if it's faster. I occasionally surf via 3G and it's generally to try to find something that I don't care if it takes 3 seconds vs 1. Unless you bring something that Safari doesn't have (compression isn't something new - it's just a different avenue to bringing the exact same internet) I don't care. You put flash in your browser and I'll download - no flash and I just couldn't care less...
post #35 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by iGenius View Post

Microsoft had monopoly power in the desktop OS market.

Apple has a tiny market share.

That's the (oversimplified) distinction between the two situations.

Thing is though, don't Apple have something like 20% of the smartphone market? Now, I know that's nothing like the dominance of Microsoft and Windows, but is there a point whereby their share of the market would make this a problem?
post #36 of 64
Knowing Apple, they will deny the browser because you can watch porn on it, then release a dedicated porn app the next day



Opera's turbo mode server-side compression would be welcome, it would both reduce your bill and increase speed&battery life. I have doubts about Apple letting another browser through though.
post #37 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


Opera claims its browser is capable of superior speeds when compared to Safari due to the compression technology used by the company. It noted that Opera Mini has "significantly faster" Web site loading, and can reduce data surcharges for customers. The Opera Mini application also includes the usual features from the browser, such as tabs, Speed Dial, password manager and bookmark syncing.



1) Apple rejects Opera's browser

2) Apple implements similar compression technology in next version of iPhone/iPhone OS

3) Opera no longer a factor

post #38 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

Thing is though, don't Apple have something like 20% of the smartphone market? Now, I know that's nothing like the dominance of Microsoft and Windows, but is there a point whereby their share of the market would make this a problem?

I don't know the detailed definition of Monopoly Power. But your point is an interesting one. I think that there's a lot of wiggle room in defining the relevant market, and if the market is "X", then Apple might be seen to have sufficient market power to run afoul of various antitrust laws. I dunno enough to give any sort of opinion.

As of now, folks are crowing that Apple is using its market power to damage other companies, like Adobe. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Edit: Right up above, someone is smiling about a plan to use the App Store monopoly as a means to shut out competition and steal their stuff. This seems to me to cross a line. Dunno. Maybe that's just life in the big city.
post #39 of 64
Some people here don't seem to understand how Opera Turbo works.
It does not simple render the page on the server and send it as a jpg to the Browser. That is ridiculous all the CSS Information, Links everything would be gone or would have to be transported otherwise. It would also likely be not a compression in many cases.
Opera Mini is a normal Browser in the normal meaning of this word. All it does is it gets a compressed Website from the Server. The Servers compress the page pretty much like as if you zip it with the difference that zipping jpg or gif doesn't help much thus all pictures on the website are downsized or rendered at a very low quality setting to get maximum compression. This helps a lot especially on pages with lots of small pictures. The full size picture (that Safari Mobile has to load all the time) is only loaded if you switch Turbo off or select the picture.
You are still browsing through the real page, only with lower quality pictures. This makes a lot of sense as the difference is on a small device not really obvious (if you load full size pages and not some mobile Version). When Safari loads a full size Web page created with the detail for a Desktop resolution it loads a lot of unnecessary data.

If they let Opera into the AppStore is something I can only guess. They cannot change the engine to webkit that is not that simple. There might be a little more people using Opera if they had other smartphones before but it will be still only a relatively small percentage. I am pretty sure it wouldn't threaten Apple's search engine deals.
Except bad publicity there is nothing ot gain for Apple when rejecting Opera Mini. Doesn't mean they won't do it. Afterall Apple would be much worse if it were in the position Microsoft is. Fortunately they don't have a significant enough market share and with there product policy probably will never have.
post #40 of 64
I always thought that Opera Mini was a java based application which would rule it out, Opera Mobile on the other hand is a more fully fledged application based on the SDK's of various platforms (Symbian, WinMo etc.).

Maybe what Opera is showing is Safari logged into an Opera account and pages set up for the purpose.

I found Opera Mini was useful in 2G situations but there was no advantage with 3G due to everything being parsed through Opera's servers in Norway.

Advertising was also in Norwegian due to requests coming from an IP in Norway.
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