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Opera submits iPhone browser to Apple for App Store review

post #1 of 123
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Opera on Tuesday revealed it has submitted its mobile browser, which relies on server-side compression to offer faster mobile Web browsing, to the iPhone App Store, where it now awaits Apple's review.

"The Opera Mini for iPhone sneak peek during MWC told us that we have something special," Jon von Tetzchner, co-founder of Opera Software, said in a press release. "Opera has put every effort into creating a customized, stylized, feature-rich and highly responsive browser that masterfully combines iPhone capabilities with Operas renowned Web experience, and the result is a high performing browser for the iPhone."

The company has advertised that its server-side rendering allows compression of data by up to 90 percent.

Nick Bilton of The New York Times used the latest version of Opera Mini for iPhone, and reported Tuesday that the browser "loaded pages extremely quickly." He also said the browser offers features unavailable in Apple's own Mobile Safari, including the ability to search the content of a Web page.

But Opera Mobile also lacks one defining feature of the iPhone: pinch-to-zoom capabilities. The feature could reportedly be added in a future release of the software -- if Apple allows.

Last month, Opera began touting the speed of its mobile browser, which uses a special form of compression to render Web pages more quickly. Before its official unveiling, talk of Opera Mini for iPhone occurred soon after the App Store opened in 2008.



Until now, Apple has rejected any browsers that are not based on the WebKit engine built into the iPhone OS. The Cupertino, Calif., company has not indicated that it has changed its policies, suggesting that Apple could reject Opera's submission.

Officials with Opera 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 iPhone browser reportedly achieves speeds up to six times faster than Apple's Safari when running over 3G. The alleged superior speeds are achieved through compression technology used by the company that allows less data transfer by using the company's servers.
post #2 of 123
It will be rejected and the Fanboys will rejoice.
post #3 of 123
I say let it through. I wouldn't mind having an alternative to Safari to use.
post #4 of 123
I really hope that this one will get through, although chances are little to none. :-(
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post #5 of 123
If it does not get through - the European Union will make them let it get through. At least in Europe.
post #6 of 123
No pinch-to-zoom, and there *will* be page-rendering issues.
post #7 of 123
Yes but in any low signal/bitrate situations it will be great, opera has no equal in that in moblie tec, long time in the game.
post #8 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Until now, Apple has rejected any browsers that are not based on the WebKit engine built into the iPhone OS.

Have they? I wasn't aware any had even been submitted for approval.

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post #9 of 123
From the Opera mini browser FAQ

Quote:
Is there any end-to-end security between my handset and for example paypal.com or my bank?

No. If you need full end-to-end encryption, you should use a full Web browser such as Opera Mobile.

Opera Mini uses a transcoder server to translate HTML/CSS/JavaScript into a more compact format. It will also shrink any images to fit the screen of your handset. This translation step makes Opera Mini fast, small, and also very cheap to use. To be able to do this translation, the Opera Mini server needs to have access to the unencrypted version of the Web page. Therefore no end-to-end encryption between the client and the remote Web server is possible.

I'll pass.
post #10 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_cazorp View Post

From the Opera mini browser FAQ



I'll pass.

Whoops. The Opera Mini wagon just lost a wheel.

Will stick with iCab Mobile, thanks.
post #11 of 123
I'm not an iPhone owner myself, so I'll have to ask you guys: Are there any other browsers available for the iPhone in the App Store today, other than Apple's own mobile Safari?

I thought it was generally understood that Apple won't accept competing browsers to Safari?
post #12 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garion View Post

I'm not an iPhone owner myself, so I'll have to ask you guys: Are there any other browsers available for the iPhone in the App Store today, other than Apple's own mobile Safari?

Apple does allow competing browsers-such as iCab-just not alternate rendering engines (which, presumably, can fall foul of the "no apps that can execute arbitrary code rule"). Firefox runs on Gecko, so it doesn’t get on. Opera runs on Presto, so it didn't get on - yet. iCab runs on WebKit, and so Apple says "fine".
post #13 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Opera on Tuesday revealed it has submitted its mobile browser, which relies on server-side compression to offer faster mobile Web browsing, to the iPhone App Store, where it now awaits Apple's review. ...

I hope they allow it, but force them to call it something else besides a web browser.

I know at least four or five people with an iPhone that would have no idea why the Opera "browser" is faster than anything else and what the downside is to that. I don't think it's fair to put it on the same shelf as other browsers when it uses a completely different technology and say it's the same thing.

A technology with a huge downside to the consumer that Opera never talks about much and that the average consumer has no way of knowing about unless they are a techie.

Edit: The more I think about it, Opera will probably refuse the idea that they have to put scary warnings on it and make it obvious to the end user how insecure the thing is, so they probably won't ever be approved. There are more reasons to dis-allow this based on consumer "expectation" and safety than half a dozen other things that weren't approved so maybe it will just be rejected after all.
post #14 of 123
Opera drives down the lane, no weakside help, for the dunk and rejected!
post #15 of 123
The problem is that a browser engine provides a javascript runtime, and runtime environments are specifically banned by the iPhone developer agreement.

This is why webkit browsers are allowed. You link to the browser engine provided by Apple. A browser that included it's own statically linked version of webkit would also likely be disallowed.

There have been some strange apps that have fallen through the net. Sega has released some of its classic games on the iPhone using emulation, which is also against the iPhone developer agreement. However these apps do not provide an interface for the user to run their choice of software on the emulator.

I think this rule comes from Apple's fear that another company will develop a way to produce iPhone apps that doesn't use their system. Unfortunately the same rule prevents certain other types of software being sold on the app store.

I think Apple should allow the Opera browser onto the iPhone. They need to point out that the app is against the rules and is specifically being granted a one-time exception.
post #16 of 123
I'm a little surprised that 3G wireless carriers don't already implement compression of all data that gets sent over their networks. Wouldn't that speed up everything? Or is that too complicated? Or is it already done but this is something different??
post #17 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacApfel View Post

If it does not get through - the European Union will make them let it get through. At least in Europe.

Yeah, rejection of Opera for no good reason other than to restrict competition will expose Apple to a complaint for breach of EU Competition Law. Personally I don't see why Apple should say no. They don't ban Firefox or Chrome from running on Mac OS X and this should be no different. A bit of healthy competition is a good thing and will keep Apple on their toes.

I'd like to give this Opera browser on iPhone a try: it looks quick and neat, plus the browser history and tab navigation look like they stomp all over Safari.
post #18 of 123
The video is very impressive, it's clearly massively quicker than Safari.
If Apple reject this, as they presumably will, I hope Opera will kick up a massive stick.
post #19 of 123
Duplicates functions of the iPhone. Rejected.
post #20 of 123
The only thing that I am concerned with is that I hope you aren't using the unencrypted version of the webpages. That means you couldn't use this for sensitive transactions such as online purchases and banking, otherwise, you have some explaining to do.
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post #21 of 123
I would easy pay 10 USD or more for this tech on the iPhone! If Steve does not accept this app then he has lost it. Is there any reason not to accept this outstanding app? If it is rejected I would support any legal case against Apple and convince all I know to do the same.
post #22 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

Duplicates functions of the iPhone. Rejected.

Couldn't you say the same thing about the other third-party WebKit-based browsers?
post #23 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I'm a little surprised that 3G wireless carriers don't already implement compression of all data that gets sent over their networks. Wouldn't that speed up everything? Or is that too complicated? Or is it already done but this is something different??

Application level compression is most effective, especially given latency and processing limitations of different software and hardware.

What I don't understand is why mobile safari doesn't support gzip compression built into most web servers.

Server-side compression is something I still miss from my blackberry, although better rendering makes up for it generally.
post #24 of 123
Apple rejected Google Voice and outside tech forums on the web, no one really gave a damn. It did invite some higher-up scrutiny but nothing ever came of it. Apple just went on to break their own iPhone sales records.

Just sayin . . .
post #25 of 123
No pinch to zoom. No security. No integration with other apps. Who would use this??

The only use case I can think is somebody in a rural area with no wi-fi, that could actually benefit from the transfer speed improvements on a regular and consistent basis.
post #26 of 123
as an iPhone user knee deep in "EDGE" territory, I would use Opera Mini for websites that are just a bit too much for the slow wireless network to deal with. For any serious browsing, however, it's Mobile Safari, since it allows for adding home screen bookmarks.
post #27 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

Duplicates functions of the iPhone. Rejected.


Well I would surly agree if that were the truth but since Opera isn't a full fledged web browser Apple might be accused of over abusing that oh so useful reason for rejection.

This 'thing' Opera is releasing isn't a web browser at all (however it does let you 'view' web sites... Confused? Yea well I don't blame ya... but here's how I think their product works..


1 - User opens Opera
2 - User selects a site to 'visit' (using that term loosely)
3 - Site address GETS PASSED TO the Operas developers.

4 - Operas corporate servers get the site in full... process it as needed .. formulates a page that can then be rendered by their 'web viewer'.

5 - The 'package of the page' is then displayed on your iPhone, etc.

Now first things first... As already mentioned....

THIS PRODUCT IS NOT GOOD FOR SECURE COMMUNICATION!

So what's the point of this software?

Well I guess for sites that are too complex for many of the web browsers found on other smart phones this might be beneficial, but for phones like the iPhone, Android, etc... I'm not seeing much of a reason to give up your privacy and have each and every web site you visit processed by Opera Software. Now if this had some way to make flash content viewable... then maybe they'd have something but I'm pretty sure they don't do that.

They might also have something going for it in compression... but many web sites do that on their own now don't they?

So what is the point???

Not really seeing one...

Okay here's ONE handy use...

Say your at work and on the company WiFi however, the corporate pinheads have deemed certain web sites as 'off limits' and are banned from viewing them if you use their fast pipes... Well this will solve the problem (most of the time) since most of the blocking is done by the web sites URL that you visit... HOWEVER, using this browser you visit one of Operas web sites and then instruct THAT SERVER what web site you REALLY want to see.... Operas servers retrieve the page 'fix it up and package it' and then sent it back to you so your phone can display the actual page.

MAGIC you've just foiled thousands of dollars of gatekeeper software and subscription services without so much as lifting a finger.

Corporate IT departments are one of the biggest wasters of corporate money it isn't even funny and I haven't even touched on them paying 50x - 75x the going rate for server storage.
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post #28 of 123
Cool- Does Opera allow FLASH plug-ins?
post #29 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Well I would surly agree if that were the truth but since Opera isn't a full fledged web browser Apple might be accused of over abusing that oh so useful reason for rejection.

This 'thing' Opera is releasing isn't a web browser at all (however it does let you 'view' web sites... Confused? Yea well I don't blame ya... but here's how I think their product works..


1 - User opens Opera
2 - User selects a site to 'visit' (using that term loosely)
3 - Site address GETS PASSED TO the Operas developers.

4 - Operas corporate servers get the site in full... process it as needed .. formulates a page that can then be rendered by their 'web viewer'.

5 - The 'package of the page' is then displayed on your iPhone, etc.

Now first things first... As already mentioned....

THIS PRODUCT IS NOT GOOD FOR SECURE COMMUNICATION!

So whats they point?

Well I guess for sites that are too complex for many of the web browsers found on other smart phones this might be beneficial, but for phones like the iPhone, Android, etc... I'm not seeing much of a reason to give up your privacy and have each and every web site you visit processed by Opera Software. Now if this had some way to make flash content viewable... then maybe they'd have something but I'm pretty sure they don't do that.

So what is the point???

Not really seeing one...

I would suggest that the point is that for any non-secure sites you are visiting, i.e. AI, tech blogs, news, etc, it might be worthwhile using in order to significantly reduce load times.

For me, I would guess that roughly 90% or more of my browsing is 'non-secure' sites. For those sites that I do want more security or privacy, it really isn't a big deal for me to close one browser and open another. I read a lot of tech, sports and general news sites and blogs. Sometimes they are very graphics heavy and take a while to load on the iPhone when I am not on wifi (my office recently decided personal devices that are not paid for by the company are not allowed on our wifi, so during the day I am on 3G). Having the option of improving the page load times for these sites seems like a no brainer for answering 'what is the point'.

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post #30 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Apple rejected Google Voice and outside tech forums on the web, no one really gave a damn. It did invite some higher-up scrutiny but nothing ever came of it. Apple just went on to break their own iPhone sales records.

Just sayin . . .

What are you saying? The ends justify the means? Success means right? If no one complains, or the right people don't complain, then it must not have been wrong? How very Microsoft.

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post #31 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

What are you saying? The ends justify the means? Success means right? If no one complains, or the right people don't complain, then it must not have been wrong? How very Microsoft.

It's just not a big deal.
post #32 of 123
There is nothing sadder than killing creativity !
post #33 of 123
I'm all for choice on my hardware.

Opera Mini would make a decent and fast browsing browser for underpowered devices.


If I want security I would use Firefox then Safari.


I use Firefox on my Mac and indeed one happy camper.

After all haven't us Mac users been fighting the good fight against Microsoft's IE monopoly on the internet so we can have CHOICE?

Apple has a tough decision to make, if they are going to be as open as they say they are, or just another monopolist like Microsoft.

If you want a example of no choice, just go and stay in Disney World for a few days and try to find anything other than Coke products. Watch parents fight over the last cartons of milk or apple juice for their kids in the cafeteria. Quite a sight to see.
post #34 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by neondiet View Post

Yeah, rejection of Opera for no good reason other than to restrict competition will expose Apple to a complaint for breach of EU Competition Law. Personally I don't see why Apple should say no.

There's been speculation that opera is trying to bait Apple into a trap here.

Quote:
They don't ban Firefox or Chrome from running on Mac OS X and this should be no different. A bit of healthy competition is a good thing and will keep Apple on their toes.

I'd like to give this Opera browser on iPhone a try: it looks quick and neat, plus the browser history and tab navigation look like they stomp all over Safari.

Apple doesn't have full content distribution control over OSX. There quite a few people that are concerned that if the App Store ever came to the Mac that Apple would really tighten up what can or cannot be on the platform.
post #35 of 123
I personally have mixed feelings about this. I think user choice is great and all and their is some utility to Opera Mini in a bandwidth constrained environment. On the other hand, I work at a carrier and as someone who builds web apps that have to support multiple browsers on a device, including Opera Mini, it can be a major pain. Many, many less sophisticated users have no idea why there are multiple browsers and when they should use one over the other. Supporting them is twice as hard. And there seems to be a long list of sites that Opera mini can't handle and has to bump them into the handset's native browser, confusing them further. I'm honestly not sure its worth the trouble. Still, let the market decide.
post #36 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by senjaz View Post

... I think Apple should allow the Opera browser onto the iPhone. They need to point out that the app is against the rules and is specifically being granted a one-time exception.

The point is however, that Opera is *not* "against the rules" that have kept other browsers out. It uses a completely different technology that is hard to even call a browser.

So on the one hand it should be allowed because it doesn't violate those rules, but on the other it's a dangerous "mock" browser that could lead users to thinking they are using a regular web-browser even though this one doesn't provide any of the standard protections people expect to be there and essentially isn't a web browser as they know it at all.
post #37 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

... Okay here's ONE handy use...

Say your at work and on the company WiFi however, the corporate pinheads have deemed certain web sites as 'off limits' and are banned from viewing them if you use their fast pipes... Well this will solve the problem (most of the time) since most of the blocking is done by the web sites URL that you visit... HOWEVER, using this browser you visit one of Operas web sites and then instruct THAT SERVER what web site you REALLY want to see.... Operas servers retrieve the page 'fix it up and package it' and then sent it back to you so your phone can display the actual page.

MAGIC you've just foiled thousands of dollars of gatekeeper software and subscription services without so much as lifting a finger. ...

Great argument.

I think if Apple does manage to keep it off it will be security issues that will be blamed.

Just to add a further irony. I'm pretty sure that some of the folks arguing it should be approved here, are the same ones that went on about getting the "full" internet from Apple and how duplicitous they felt that was.

With Opera mini, you're not only not getting "the full internet," you're getting compressed renderings of web pages filtered through internet proxies you have no control over. You might as well be behind the great firewall of China.
post #38 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

There's been speculation that opera is trying to bait Apple into a trap here.

Opera knows this app will be rejected because the app violates the iPhone SDK agreement. Everyone knew that since the first public release of the app store.

"An Application may not itself install or launch other executable code by any means, including without limitation through the use of a plug-in architecture, calling other frameworks, other APIs or otherwise. No interpreted code may be downloaded or used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple's Documented APIs and built-in interpreter(s)."
post #39 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

The point is however, that Opera is *not* "against the rules" that have kept other browsers out. It uses a completely different technology that is hard to even call a browser.

So on the one hand it should be allowed because it doesn't violate those rules, but on the other it's a dangerous "mock" browser that could lead users to thinking they are using a regular web-browser even though this one doesn't provide any of the standard protections people expect to be there and essentially isn't a web browser as they know it at all.

I'd be completely and utterly shocked if it were approved because a) it is in fact a browser, regardless of how that functionality is implemented, that violates the terms of the developer agreement, b) it is, as you point out, "dangerous" because it, "doesn't provide any of the standard protections people expect to be there," and c) Opera are clearly baiting Apple, in a rather childish manner, in fact.

I think this is a slam-dunk rejection for violating the developer agreement and for undermining the iPhone user experience and security. Apple should just put this on the fast track, reject it, and be done with it, preferably by the end of the day. It's not like more than a handful of people care about Opera anyway, and it's not like it offers anything useful without also bringing huge downsides with it.
post #40 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by neondiet View Post

Yeah, rejection of Opera for no good reason other than to restrict competition will expose Apple to a complaint for breach of EU Competition Law. Personally I don't see why Apple should say no. They don't ban Firefox or Chrome from running on Mac OS X and this should be no different. A bit of healthy competition is a good thing and will keep Apple on their toes.

As others have said, Opera Mini is unlike other browsers in that it is a proxy.

Here's why it should be rejected: http://counternotions.com/2010/02/18/mini/
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