Apple approved Opera Mini for iPhone. Wait, what?

I can’t believe this actually happened.

Opera today announced its popular mobile browser, Opera Mini has been approved for iPhone and iPod touch on the App Store. Opera Mini will be available as a free download within 24 hours, depending on market.

Opera Mini, with more than 50 million users worldwide, enables fast mobile Web browsing by compressing data by up to 90 percent before sending content to the device, resulting in significantly improved page loading. Users of the app will notice an uptake in speed, especially on slower networks such as the 2G Edge network. Surfing the Web with the Opera Mini App on iPhone and iPod touch will also help users save money because of its data compression capabilities. This will hold especially true while the user is incurring roaming charges.

“We are delighted to offer iPhone and iPod touch users a great browsing experience with the Opera Mini App,” said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software. “This app is another step toward Opera’s goal of bringing the Web to more people in more places."

The Opera Mini App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at



Why is this exciting?

It means Apple will approve browsers that don’t use the built-in WebKit engine.

Because no one thought in a million years that Apple would approve a browser that would compete with Safari. They don’t like to approve apps that duplicate built-in iPhone features.

What was Apple’s reasoning before, other than being dicks?

It’s also exciting for OG iPhone users as EDGE surfing will be faster (albeit with some concerns). Opera mini works by putting all web requests though their proxy, and then they send the pre-rendered page down to the device. They claim 90% reduction in browsing size.

But yeah, Apple approving a rival browser is a good step forward.

Also, this allows Apple to tell everyone, “See, we let competitors products into the App Store.”*

*As long as it’s not from Google, Microsoft or Adobe.


EDIT: Apparently it’s already out in the European store… or one of them, I suppose.

To what, exactly?

Wonder if they will now make a version for the IPad? I like Opera a lot myself.

I’m surprised people are surprised. The way Opera submitted this, they were almost begging Apple for a rejection so they could go to the EU like they did with IE. Apple knows nobody is going to use this, so they have more to lose by rejecting it and opening themselves up to high-profile media and legal shit than they do by approving it and letting it rot.

Yeah, you can’t set it as the default browser, so, unless you’re bookmarking stuff on Opera it’s of limited value as a Safari replacement.

Available now in the US. I…don’t love it. It’s fast, yeah, but having to zoom in to see text is not awesome for me.

Yeah it’s pretty underwhelming. I wish they’d release real Opera, but that’s probably still unapproveable.

Great. They approved it.

Now let me tell you what: I’m betting this sucker is based around the browser Opera built for Archos’ media tablets and related stuffs. And let me tell you further: that mini Opera browser ran like Rosie O’Donnell with a piano on her back.

I use this. Well, the Pro version for 99 cents.

So, it’s extremely fast, and the features are neat, but the rendering engine needs a lot of work. Tons of weird errors rendering Digg and many other common web sites.

It’s not the download speeds I’m impressed with though, it’s the speed and “lightness” to the app. I don’t have a 3GS, “only” a 3G, and Safari just seems so bogged down, so bloated, so slow to load or do anything. Just bringing up a keyboard takes 10+ seconds sometimes.

Pages in Opera, on the other hand, are literally finished loading in a couple seconds, fully readable and browsable.

Hopefully an improved rendering engine won’t drastically reduce performance. Maybe Opera just kinda shat this version out figuring it wouldn’t be approved?

I’m on the other side-pages render faster and smoother with webkit on my 3gs.