Opera Mini for iPhone sits on sidelines due to App Store rules

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
A professionally-developed alternative to Apple's Safari web browser for iPhone already exists in Opera Software's labs; Apple's guidelines for App Store submissions, however, are allegedly keeping it from seeing the light of day.



Opera chief Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner recently told the New York Times (by way of MacNN) that Opera Mini, one of the company's mobile web browsers for smartphones, has already been ported to the iPhone but can't be released as Apple's rules for the App Store preclude software that replicate the core functionality of the iPhone or iPod touch.



The revelation is an unusual one given Apple's official stance on third-party apps as early as March, when the iPhone Software Developer Kit was first released. The Cupertino, Calif.-based cellphone maker specifically bars third-party interpreters that call on non-Apple frameworks and languages, which by definition would include Opera's web rendering engine. This would have left Opera Software converting software unlikely to be released in the near term.



Still, the news doesn't represent the first instance that Apple has rejected apps that would challenge the usefulness of its own code.



Software developer Almerica last month discovered that a submitted podcast download and playback utility Podcaster was rejected for supposedly replicating iTunes -- even though there was no Apple equivalent on the iPhone at the time. However, a recent leak has suggested that Apple may allow podcast downloads in its upcoming iPhone 2.2 update.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 65
    Wrong. It's not a question of anti-competitiveness. It's a question of not allowing apps that run binaries. It's not allowed. Period.



    I don't agree with it either but Opera could run Flash and other binaries...this is unallowed...it's also the reason why NES and Gameboy emulators and interpreters such as ScummVM can't be put on the App Store.



    It has *nothing* to do with challenging Apple's own Safari.
  • Reply 2 of 65
    pxtpxt Posts: 683member
    "Professionally-developed"?



    When it was sure to be rejected, I don't think this work was very professional.
  • Reply 3 of 65
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,601member
    Who would WANT to run Opera mini on their iPhone anyway??? Its shite.
  • Reply 4 of 65
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    The whole "controversy" comes down to the fact that Apple is denying apps that "replicate the core functionality of the iPhone" (i.e. - replacement browsers, email etc.) and that they didn't write that down anywhere.



    So what?



    Is it a reasonable proscription? Of course. Should they have written it in stone? Sure. Is it possible when designing a whole new platform that they forgot a couple of things? Probably.



    Again ... so what?



    Gruber and his cronies and friends that are pushing this story are making mountains out of molehills as is their wont. It makes sense to me that a device with such severe limitations in terms of hardware, battery life and performance would want to reserve core functionality for itself. This is an entirely reasonable position to take.
  • Reply 5 of 65
    apple is making a big mistake here. Competition enables rapid progress in product improvement. I don't see how browser competition will take away revenue. It is still on the iphone and improved browser functionality will allow for increased attention to the iphone. Poor planning on apples part.
  • Reply 6 of 65
    eaieai Posts: 417member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kim kap sol View Post


    Wrong. It's not a question of anti-competitiveness. It's a question of not allowing apps that run binaries. It's not allowed. Period.



    I don't agree with it either but Opera could run Flash and other binaries...this is unallowed...it's also the reason why NES and Gameboy emulators and interpreters such as ScummVM can't be put on the App Store.



    It has *nothing* to do with challenging Apple's own Safari.



    But equally, Opera could _not_ run flash, just like Safari doesn't. Theres nothing that says Opera will have any more functionality than Safari does. Many applications on the App Store download information and interpret it in various forms (to display lists of train times, geocaches, music tracks etc). I'm not sure what point you draw the line at.



    There's nothing magically dangerous about interpreting code. In fact it's generally considered safer - e.g. Java coded is sandboxed from the hardware. We know Apple have these rules, but we'll see that they'll be the first ones allowed to break them, which is, in many ways anti-competitive.



    I can't see Apple's justification for such limits, beyond keeping control over their platform.



    Virgil-TB2: What's to say that Opera Mini can't be better than Safari - less battery life, better performance etc? Why should Apple prevent third parties from improving 'core functionality'?
  • Reply 7 of 65
    johnqhjohnqh Posts: 242member
    This is a one-sided story, without Apple's response.



    More likely, Apple won't any any browser due to the restriction on loading other apps. It was designed as a safe measure against virus and worms. Web browser, by definition, may load and run other software (javascript, java, flash etc).
  • Reply 8 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by johnqh View Post


    This is a one-sided story, without Apple's response.



    More likely, Apple won't any any browser due to the restriction on loading other apps. It was designed as a safe measure against virus and worms. Web browser, by definition, may load and run other software (javascript, java, flash etc).



    Exactly so.



    Apple said there will be no interpreted code allowed other than what Apple decides should be interpreted. Chances are that Opera submitted it's Opera mini and it was judged capable of interpreting code and thus rejected.



    Any emulator or interpreter submitted to the App Store will see this same refusal. If Apple allowed Opera mini, then they would have to allow NES, SNES, Gamboy, PSX, emulators as well as interpreters such as ScummVM. I'd like that very much but as you said, it opens the door to problems.
  • Reply 9 of 65
    Man, Apple is evil. If Microsoft pulled this kind of nonsense the justice dept would be on their case in a heartbeat.
  • Reply 10 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FreakyT View Post


    Man, Apple is evil. If Microsoft pulled this kind of nonsense the justice dept would be on their case in a heartbeat.



    No they wouldn't. Apple created the hardware, it's running their OS, and they run the App Store. They can deny any app they choose. Their practices aren't even remotely related to what Microsoft did. This is a closed system that Apple will let you play in if you follow their rules. There's nothing anti-competitive about what they're doing.
  • Reply 11 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FreakyT View Post


    Man, Apple is evil. If Microsoft pulled this kind of nonsense the justice dept would be on their case in a heartbeat.



    Nokia, Sony E. or Palm doesnt have to let Opera, IE, Camino or Safari on their systems either. Apple and iPhone doesn"t have a monoply on the smartphone or any phone market.
  • Reply 12 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lightstriker View Post


    Nokia, Sony E. or Palm doesnt have to let Opera, IE, Camino or Safari on their systems either. Apple and iPhone doesn"t have a monoply on the smartphone or any phone market.



    You are correct in this but they are providing choices. Right now, Safari is a crash and burn machine. I barely even bother to surf the net anymore with my iPhone as it simply restarts. Safari on the iPhone is rubbish.
  • Reply 13 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DMarrero View Post


    apple is making a big mistake here. Competition enables rapid progress in product improvement. I don't see how browser competition will take away revenue. It is still on the iphone and improved browser functionality will allow for increased attention to the iphone. Poor planning on apples part.



    Apple must have some fundemental new plans for their entire platform (both software and hardware wise) that will make it a "no go" for certain intrusive apps right now. It´s all about the ecosystem!



    Well, the thing is that Apple probably is having BIG plans for the Safari browser. They want Safari to be the platform for all communication and apps (think cloud) in the future. Future Apple hardware products is right now being prepared and constructed to take advantage of this. This in a way so Apple products will have the advantage and edge when compared to competing products. The entire Apple ecosystem will be woven into Safari and vice versa, and thus become impossible to neglect. Important and umatched Apple features (hardware wise and software wise) will be dependant on each other in such ways that Safari becomes THE browser to use and Apple products THE way to use it. Thus the competition will not have a chance. This is what Apple wants



    Apple is in my mind about to evolve their ecosytem BIG TIME and Safari is the "glue" element for this to really happen. Multitouch is implemented as THE way to interact with these new products. Safari and the "cloud" is important here! ...and the new user-experience has to be consistant all the way through. Therefore they are protecting Safari so fiercly and not allowing certain apps on their platform/iPhone. Apple are protecting the new and comming innovations.



    When we se AppleTV 3.0 this will all take speed. The AppleTV will be the center piece in this upcoming and improved Apple eccosytem. From your couch you will surf the web, meet friends over iChat, watch movies and hear music via iTunes/frontRow and last but not least... get access to a fullblown Mac OS via your living room TV aka the Apple TV. All this via your iRemote/iPhone and this with great networking and fast invisible syncing capapillities via Safari and cloud computing. Now you will truly hold the world in just one hand,- Your remote (iPhone)



    Apple wants your living room, your office, your free time and your workspace. The closed and perfectly tailored eccosystem is the way Apple thinks, it will succeed. Mac OS and Safari via the "cloud" is the way they wiil glue it all together There is no place for interfering apps for now! Not while the above process is in the oven and not revealed.



    Just my five cents
  • Reply 14 of 65
    a_greera_greer Posts: 4,594member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post


    Who would WANT to run Opera mini on their iPhone anyway??? Its shite.



    Competition is the driver to innovation



    Safari could stagnate, but if there is competition on the same platform, there could be an arms race of sorts, and Apple doesnt wanna be shown up on their own platform, they dont want a new browser feature to show up on their platform that isnt from them, and as much as Opra isnt that great, they were the first to do tabs, they had the most standards compliant engine for a while, and it Opera mini isnt bad on other platforms like Blackberry.



    they would have done the same with Mac, but that woulda never flown in the 80s.
  • Reply 15 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pdiddy View Post


    No they wouldn't. Apple created the hardware, it's running their OS, and they run the App Store. They can deny any app they choose. Their practices aren't even remotely related to what Microsoft did. This is a closed system that Apple will let you play in if you follow their rules. There's nothing anti-competitive about what they're doing.



    It's the same as Microsoft trying to make IE part of a, as you say, 'closed system.' They wanted to mandate the use of their browser with Windows. Apple is making a dangerously similar choice here.



    In 1984 Apple did the hammer-smashing-big-brother ad. Apple is slowly becoming Big Brother. As they take over more and more market share, they will have to watch their step carefully. Someone may end up having to hurl the hammer at Apple.
  • Reply 16 of 65
    a_greera_greer Posts: 4,594member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lightstriker View Post


    Nokia, Sony E. or Palm doesnt have to let Opera, IE, Camino or Safari on their systems either. Apple and iPhone doesn"t have a monoply on the smartphone or any phone market.



    First, palm is a joke

    now, sony and nokia make feature phones, that is to say toys for teenyboppers. The iPhone is in a differant leauge, it is a premium smartphone, and they brag about their app ecosystem...and they constantly block the cool stuff...



    Watch out Apple, if the first Android phone didnt sting ya, the second or third may...
  • Reply 17 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by a_greer View Post


    Competition is the driver to innovation



    Safari could stagnate, but if there is competition on the same platform, there could be an arms race of sorts, and Apple doesnt wanna be shown up on their own platform, they dont want a new browser feature to show up on their platform that isnt from them, and as much as Opra isnt that great, they were the first to do tabs, they had the most standards compliant engine for a while, and it Opera mini isnt bad on other platforms like Blackberry.



    they would have done the same with Mac, but that woulda never flown in the 80s.



    If Safari on the iPhone was vastly different than Safari on the desktop, someone might be compelled to agree with you. But this competition you speak of is happening on the desktop and trickles down almost instantly to the iPhone/iPod... so calm down, dude.
  • Reply 18 of 65
    I'm kind of on the fence on this one but swaying in favour of Apple's stance. After all, Safari provides core functionality on both the iPhone and iPod Touch which are both essentially closed platforms. The app store and the ability to install apps gives the illusion of openness but it is just that, an illusion. I can completely understand why Apple wants to protect its platform and many other companies do the same with their own technology but it's not as noticeable because third parties in most cases have little to no chance of making any money by offering alternative core functionality on devices like game consoles and other closed software platforms such as the plethora of handheld devices currently on the market. I can't imagine Sony agreeing to an alternative media player on the PS3, for example. Or perhaps TomTom could allow us to install third party codecs for the media players in its sat-nav systems. I doubt it... So why should Apple allow this? Especially when it clearly breaks the rules they laid out after investing so much time, money and effort in developing an SDK and distribution system built precisely to protect its investment in this new platform.



    I was kind of on the fence when I started writing this but all that swaying leaves me in the Apple camp. Sorry Opera.
  • Reply 19 of 65
    tmedia1tmedia1 Posts: 104member
    This is precisely why the ANDROID platform is SO IMPORTANT. It will eventually catch up and hopefully surpass the iPhone ecosystem. At the very least lets hope it will be successful enough to put pressure on Apple to "allow" more core apps and more options when it comes to features. Come on, even the 3G iPhone doesn't have copy and paste, to do lists and many more basic features that Steve doesn't care about. Until ANDROID begins to give some real competition to his Holy Phone, Steve will never give you a complete feature set.
  • Reply 20 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pdiddy View Post


    No they wouldn't. Apple created the hardware, it's running their OS, and they run the App Store. They can deny any app they choose.... This is a closed system that Apple will let you play in if you follow their rules. There's nothing anti-competitive about what they're doing.



    I can't believe you don't recognize the contradiction in your own statement. The situation you have described is precisely what "anti-competitive" means.
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