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Four third-party Web browsers appear on Apple's App Store

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
After denying entry of rival web browsers into its App Store for quite some time, Apple appears to have had a change of heart this week with the approval of four third-party browsers, each of which are now available for download.

The move is surprising given that the iPhone maker has shown resistance in the past to accepting new applications to its digital software store that replicate any of the core functionalities of its handheld products, such as their built-in Safari web browser or ability to download podcasts over the air.

In each case, the four accepted browsers -- Edge Browser, Webmate, Incognito, and Shaking Web -- are based on Apple's Webkit framework, the same set of libraries that make up the foundation of the company's Safari and mobile Safari browsers.

Firefox and Opera, two other third-party browsers that rely on their own rendering engines and frameworks, have unsurprisingly failed to gain App Store acceptance. The terms of Apple's iPhone SDK, the development kit that allows developers to author apps for the iPhone and iPod touch, specifically forbids applications that call on non-Apple frameworks and languages.

A preview of the four new browsers follows:

Edge Browser

Edge Browser (Free, App Store) bills itself as a Safari web browser that does not sacrifice screen real estate to to address or navigational bars. To enter a URL, however, you must navigate to the iPhone's settings dialog. As such, the app has been met with poor reviews.



Webmate

Webmate ($0.99, App Store) prides itself on delivering a more natural tabbed browsing experience than the iPhone's built in Safari web browser. As any iPhone user can attest, tabbed browsing in Safari is a time consuming experience given that each time you bring a tab into view, the contents of the tab must reload.

Designed specifically for readers of news sites, Webmate mitigates this problem by queuing up the contents of each link you click on into a new tab that loads in the background. You can then cycle through those tabs at any point without having to wait for their contents to reload.



Incognito

Incognito ($1.99, App Store) is an anonymous web browser for the iPhone and iPod touch that lets you browse the web without leaving a history of any kind. When you close the browser, Incognito will erase the entire session. This way, you won't have to clear Safari’s history just to hide a single entry, which renders the URL auto-completion useless.

The browser includes full, anonymous support for linked media files, including all videos and sound files played by mobile Safari, as well as an orientation lock mode and a customizable homepage.



Shaking Web

Shaking Web ($1.99, App Store) was conceived with the idea of making it easy to read webpages when you're moving, such as commuting by bus, train or car. When your hands move due to general body movement, the app senses the movement and applies a slight but opposite movement to the content area, with the goal of keeping the reading "where your eyes are."

The app currently features two modes: Turbo Off, which applies force only on vertical movements, and Turbo On, which applies force on both vertical and horizontal movements. The browser allows only one web page to be viewed at a time and does not support pop-up windows.

post #2 of 31
Well, here comes the folks screaming for Firefox and Opera on iPhone (they'll just be louder now). Those four offerings range from zero utility (Edge Browser) to moderate utility (Webmate). However, the pricing might be a hard sell for a lot of end users when they have Safari right here. I'd like to see how any of these are selling in a few weeks, once the initial fervor has died down.
post #3 of 31
Palm Pre seems to be shaking some feathers.
post #4 of 31
I really wish Apple would be a little more friendly to developers...these abrupt turnarounds only help to highlight the arbitrary nature of Apple's absurd regulations...
post #5 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dueces View Post

Palm Pre seems to be shaking some feathers.

I'm not quite sure how you reached that conclusion. Android didn't create this reaction. The timing has got to be coincidental. If Apple was really worried about the Pre's (eventual) release, they would have been inviting Opera and Mozilla to build and submit their own browsers well before flipping the switch on these four marginal apps.
post #6 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satan Himself View Post

I'm not quite sure how you reached that conclusion. Android didn't create this reaction. The timing has got to be coincidental. If Apple was really worried about the Pre's (eventual) release, they would have been inviting Opera and Mozilla to build and submit their own browsers well before flipping the switch on these four marginal apps.

Yeah, all these browsers were just in the same queue waiting for approval, and have been for a long time. Nothing to do with Palm pre at all.

What I fail to understand (and I don't think the advocates are even thinking clearly here), is why people are so hot for browser alternatives on iPhone anyway. The main differentiating factors of browsers are the engines underlying the project and the UI.

On iPhone, there won't be enough room or processing power for multiple rendering engines for a long time, and none of the alternative rendering engines are not as good as WebKit which is "built in." Also, the UI for all programs on the iPhone is minimal, but most Safari alternatives on the desktop are famous for their unique and rather busy interfaces. Mobile Safari only has one tool bar and a place to put the URL, how can that really be done significantly differently as to be worth installing a separate browser?

Finally, Mobile Safari's appearance and functionality could be easily changed with a plug-in. A developer would have more success, (and the product would be more useful to the end user), if they focussed on developing mobile Safari plug-ins, not trying to reinvent a wheel that already is in the box.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #7 of 31
There are several apps that make use of WebKit for browsing within the app rather than the need to jump into Safari. A WebKit view is a standard Cocoa element and perfectly falls inside the terms listed under the developer agreement. There is no way Apple could ban these applications without changing the terms.

What the terms forbid is for Opera or Firefox developing their own engine and installing it on the iPhone. I believe this falls under the "downloading and interpreting code" clause. Developers also cannot install any run-time systems and a web engine could easily fall under that category as well.
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satan Himself View Post

Well, here comes the folks screaming for Firefox and Opera on iPhone (they'll just be louder now). Those four offerings range from zero utility (Edge Browser) to moderate utility (Webmate). However, the pricing might be a hard sell for a lot of end users when they have Safari right here. I'd like to see how any of these are selling in a few weeks, once the initial fervor has died down.

I don't need it to be Firefox, I just need the functionality I get with FF3 + AdBlock Plus (and maybe element hiding). I'd pay for that, I'd bet a lot of other people would to. The smaller the form factor and the slower the connection, the greater the need.

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

    AT&T believes their LTE coverage is adequate

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   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

    AT&T believes their LTE coverage is adequate

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post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

I don't need it to be Firefox, I just need the functionality I get with FF3 + AdBlock Plus (and maybe element hiding). I'd pay for that, I'd bet a lot of other people would to. The smaller the form factor and the slower the connection, the greater the need.

I'm sure you wouldn't pay what the content is worth, though. AdBlockers undermine the entire economy of the web.
post #10 of 31
I'm in the UK where the edge browser app isn't available on my iPod Touch (UK iTunes) but is available on my US iPhone (US store) which, on the edge browser I'm writing this. I like the bigger screen area of websites. It was slightly jerky and slow to respond on Apples website but is fine on appleinsider- it doesn't work well for posting though.
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We are nurturing a nightmare that will haunt our children, and kill theirs.
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post #11 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

I'm sure you wouldn't pay what the content is worth, though. AdBlockers undermine the entire economy of the web.

The content's "worth" in terms of advertising, is usually grossly overrated.

Also, the web worked perfectly fine in it's original iteration (before advertisements), and doesn't need them to survive IMO. It would be a less flashy, more informational web (as was originally envisioned) but it would still exist.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

I'm sure you wouldn't pay what the content is worth, though. AdBlockers undermine the entire economy of the web.

The person selling the browser and the person buying the browser are not responsible for propping up a (failed, IMO) business model that relies on eyeballs looking at ads or fingers clicking through on ads.

The fact remains that the person implementing something very equivalent to AdBlock Plus and Element Hiding with a WebKit-based iPhone browser is going to make a truckload of money. Its not just about the ads, its also about the faster and more streamlined web experience -- in a small form factor.

What's next, are you going to tell me I can't fast forward through commercials with my DVR?

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

    AT&T believes their LTE coverage is adequate

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   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

    AT&T believes their LTE coverage is adequate

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post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

The content's "worth" in terms of advertising, is usually grossly overrated.

Also, the web worked perfectly fine in it's original iteration (before advertisements), and doesn't need them to survive IMO. It would be a less flashy, more informational web (as was originally envisioned) but it would still exist.

Ads don't bring much money anyway. I don't know if anyone is paying per exposure and if you never click on the ads, then it doesn't matter whether you see the ad because the site won't get paid for clicks that don't happen.

The part that bothers me the most is that the advertising type is miscast, if I can appropriate a term from programming. If I'm looking at text content, I think it's a bit much to make me see animated ads, it's just too irritating and too distracting.
post #14 of 31
I really don't care about web browsers since Safari is working fine so far. However, I am still waiting for iCall VOIP app. They have been in review since mid October!!
post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

... The part that bothers me the most is that the advertising type is miscast, if I can appropriate a term from programming. If I'm looking at text content, I think it's a bit much to make me see animated ads, it's just too irritating and too distracting.

Totally agree.

That's what I find with Safari AdBlock (I use it). The only ads that get through are ones that have been carefully tailored to do so and are usually pleasant, text based ads instead of the rude annoying ones.

If ads weren't so intentionally annoying and deceptive and ugly in the first place, probably people wouldn't mind them so much. I know I wouldn't.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #16 of 31
This article is very misleading.
These are not web browsers; they are just some kind of plug-in like myIE.
So, don't believe this. We are not going to see Firefox on iPhone.
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

I'm sure you wouldn't pay what the content is worth, though. AdBlockers undermine the entire economy of the web.

Great point.

After I disable my ad blocking software, the Tivo is going in the trash!

post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dueces View Post

Palm Pre seems to be shaking some feathers.

While I do agree Apple are paying attention to the Pre, I don't see how this particular story has anything to do with the Pre.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilco View Post

Great point.

After I disable my ad blocking software, the Tivo is going in the trash!


Make fun of me all you want, but someone has to pay for the content. If the advertisers don't, you either won't get it at all or everything will be subscription-based. I prefer banner ads. It would be great if there was a way to pay some company to remove all banner ads from the web and pay out the appropriate amount to each site. Until that happens, though, freeloaders will continue to work against good content on the web.
post #20 of 31
Any browsers supporting auto-fill?
post #21 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dueces View Post

Palm Pre seems to be shaking some feathers.

Pretty funny.
Palm won't even be in business, but pretty funny.
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by ALUOp View Post

This article is very misleading.
These are not web browsers; they are just some kind of plug-in like myIE.
So, don't believe this. We are not going to see Firefox on iPhone.

You need to read up on things a little.
These are browsers, built as apps using normal tools Apple approves of.
A Plug-in can't be done.....

We will not see Firefox on the iPhone any more than we will see Safari or I.E.

We could see someone build an App, like these, and make it look like FireFox.
It just wouldn't support Flash, support plug-ins, or do anything else anyone that like Firefox would want.

People need to just get over it.
Apps are great as far as they go, people just need to realize it's a safe close platform.
You can't build something unsafe because you can't call the levels you need to do what these other things require..... so you ain't going to get other things.
(Flash for example)
post #23 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

Make fun of me all you want, but someone has to pay for the content. If the advertisers don't, you either won't get it at all or everything will be subscription-based. I prefer banner ads. It would be great if there was a way to pay some company to remove all banner ads from the web and pay out the appropriate amount to each site. Until that happens, though, freeloaders will continue to work against good content on the web.

I understand your point of view, but everything you are saying goes against the actual history of the web.

The web was originally ad-free and academically oriented, it was originally supposed to be a way to "free" the worlds information and make it available to all. The commercialisation of the web came later, I remember because there was a huge argument over it at the time that went on for about a year at least. Most of us using the web at the time, and most of those creating the webpages (all the web "intelligencia" if you will), were strongly against having ads on the web, but commercial interests prevailed as they almost always do in today's world.

The advertisements don't actually "pay for the web." The advertisers and corporations that have in a sense "swallowed" the web need the adverts to keep their dominion, but that's still not the same as saying the web relies on them. Without advertising you would see a lot less commercial sites on the web, but also less crap and useless filler. To use a TV metaphor, think PBS and the nightly news, as opposed to the latest Jim Carey movie.

The web doesn't need advertising to run or survive, advertising needs the web (and anything else it can use) to spread it's message.

Edit: I forgot to add that your "freeloader" comment speaks volumes (and is wrong). No one is "stealing" anything by not looking at ads.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
Reply
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
Reply
post #24 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dueces View Post

Palm Pre seems to be shaking some feathers.

I am very excited for the palm it's looking very nice. But every silverlining has it's cloud and the palm pre's cloud is 'sprint' which probably has the least coverage area of any phone service in the US. Even t mobile covers more ground. I would love the palm pre on either at&t or verizon.
post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreakyT View Post

I really wish Apple would be a little more friendly to developers...these abrupt turnarounds only help to highlight the arbitrary nature of Apple's absurd regulations...

You obviously didn't read the article. The decisions aren't arbitrary, you follow Apple's rules or you don't get on... plain and simple. Doesn't seem to be arbitrary to me. If you don't use the stuff in the SDK and follow the rules, you don't get on. I think alot of people and developers would like to think Apple's decisions are arbitrary or self-serving.

Aple's tryingto make sure people follow some standards when coding for the iPhone so that it has a standard look and feel and that it doesn't break.
post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

Make fun of me all you want, but someone has to pay for the content. If the advertisers don't, you either won't get it at all or everything will be subscription-based. I prefer banner ads. It would be great if there was a way to pay some company to remove all banner ads from the web and pay out the appropriate amount to each site. Until that happens, though, freeloaders will continue to work against good content on the web.

Right, and advertising is working FOR good content on the web? Am I missing something? Or are you just connected to that industry?

The fact is, some of the greatest schlock content on the web is created by advertisers (viral video astroturfing, etc), and some of the greatest blights on the web are kept alive by whoring themselves out with tons of ads. Spyware builds much of its revenue stream from the current advertising model on the web -- I guess those anti-spyware freeloaders are almost as bad as the adblocker freeloaders, right?

I don't use an adblocker, but those "losComcast.com" video ads on this site are about to drive me to start (I haven't decided which is worse, the people constantly fidgeting around while I'm trying to read, or me trying to rack my brain to figure out why I'm being targeted for these ads). Web advertising is a broken system. Using more and more disruptive methods to rob people of their attention and concentration -- which are hard enough to maintain in the modern world -- is not endearing us to your product.

Apple has already proved that there are new revenue streams to be found when you step back and rethink things. Shaming people into watching ads isn't going to work any more than suing people who pirate music worked for the RIAA. It's easier to get money from customers without antagonizing them, so if your entire business model is built on antagonizing your customers -- fooling them, distracting them, annoying them -- then there's something wrong with your business model.

There are better ways to make money on the web, and better ways to support good content. Some have been discovered, some haven't yet. I'll stop short of saying that people using adblockers are heroes who are destroying one of the Bad Ways, because in the near term, ads will go to new extremes of annoyance or sneakiness. But adblockers are at least helping to force a long-overdue conversation.
post #27 of 31
Is anyone else having trouble downloading?
I'm on the US store but it says it's unavailable for download
post #28 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel0418 View Post

I am very excited for the palm it's looking very nice. But every silverlining has it's cloud and the palm pre's cloud is 'sprint' which probably has the least coverage area of any phone service in the US. Even t mobile covers more ground. I would love the palm pre on either at&t or verizon.

T-Mobile has recently ranked 2nd overall by (credible) studies such as JD Power & Asscociates & Consumers Union (Consumer Reports mag).

I looked into this after seeing, in a single day Sprint, Verizon and at&t all claim in some form to be best. at&t is the most laughable, since they have finished behind multiple carriers consistently of late their. Their "best coverage" claim based on number of countries in which they have a roaming agreement. Talk about misleading; number of customers using service overseas a fraction of total base. And they all have extensive ways to roam overseas, anyway.

Sorry in advance to everyone if this triggers "I've had XXX company since 1999 and it's been great" posts, but thought I'd add some of the unbiased data to the mix.
post #29 of 31
I'm indifferent to these new browsers as Safari seems fine to me.

What I'm much more interested in is other alternative applications. I hope that we could now see an alternative music player - more specifically an Audiobook/podcast player. Whilst it was really easy to scroll through a long track on a traditional iPod it's very difficult to find your spot in the narrative on the iPhone/iPod touch as the scroll bar is fine for a 3 minute tune but useless for a 90minute podcast - an on-screen click wheel would be relaly neat.


On the aside of web-advertising; it annoys me on nearly every site and I never click on them (except the occasional accident). I do have to conceed that where the advert is properly targetted - i.e. on Facebook where it can access my interests/sports etc, a few adverts have piqued my interest enough for me to purposefully follow them.
post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


While I do agree Apple are paying attention to the Pre, I don't see how this particular story has anything to do with the Pre.

They seemed to be watching them so they could steal the multitasking, just like they stole the whole OS off of Palm OS.

post #31 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dueces View Post

They seemed to be watching them so they could steal the multitasking, just like they stole the whole OS off of Palm OS.

You revived a five year old thread for that?
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