Print 39 comment(s) - last by Dark Legion.. on Jan 14 at 10:13 PM

Apple is finally allowing browsers, like those shown here, on the iPhone. Wondering why you've never heard of any of them? Apple is only allowing third party browsers based on its Safari webkit, which means no Firefox, Opera, or Chrome.
Apple opens gate to independent software companies to publish browsers with a significant catch

Since the App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch debuted, it has been a runaway hit selling millions of apps and spawning an entirely new software industry.  However, Apple has developed a reputation over the course of last year as a bit of a dictator when it comes to the app store.  Apple was quick to shoot down any applications which it found offensive or which it felt might interfere with its own apps.  That meant competitive internet browsers or music players were less than welcome at the store.

When it comes to internet browsers, Apple has announced that it will finally be relenting, but only somewhat.  Apple is dropping its "duplication of functionality" clause, and as of yesterday has began to approve several "new" browsers that had been gathering dust the last couple months.

The catch -- and it’s a big one -- is that all the browsers it’s approving are based on Apple’s Safari.  For those expecting Firefox, Chrome, or Opera, you are in for a disappointment.

Meet Apple's new browsers:  there's the "Edge" browser, which is a plainer looking browser without Safari's chrome, there's the privacy inclined "Incognito", there's the vibration-countering "Shaking Web", and there's an enhanced tab browser "WebMate".  The apps are all built, though, on Safari's WebKit and are thus Apple-powered.

While it might seem like the new browsers are akin to Safari extensions, unlike extensions, they're considered fully fledged apps.  And that means you can only run one at a time.  Really, the new browsers aren't even that new in a sense as the NYT, AP, and USA Today apps all used the Safari WebKit to improve their functionality.

The only difference is that the change opens the door to new products which could, in a respect replace Apple's base product, the Safari browser.  While Apple will likely get a slice of the revenue if one of them takes off, it will be a smaller slice, and it will have less control. 

With many users reporting the stock Safari to be buggy and glitch-prone, the idea of independent developers being able to improve it, a la Firefox, is a welcome one to many.  Additionally, it seems like it will only be a matter of time before Firefox, Opera and others are fully allowed.  However, Apple is known to keep its users hoping in vain, so that's by no means a sure bet.

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RE: jealousey
By kelmon on 1/14/2009 11:03:50 AM , Rating: 2
Simply because the market for their products is not perfectly competitive - there are barriers to someone switching. If you believe that market share is an indication of product quality then by that standard Internet Explorer must be the best browser and the iPod is the best MP3 player.

RE: jealousey
By afkrotch on 1/14/2009 12:28:31 PM , Rating: 2
For things like IE or an mp3 player, there really aren't any barriers to keep you from switching.

Hell, no one around has been able to tell me that IE is better or worse than any other browser or the iPod being better or worse than any other comparable mp3 player out there.

With an OS, you have a huge laundry list of why OSX blows. Course majority of that list goes with how closed Apple is with OSX or the hardware that's meant to go with it.

RE: jealousey
By kelmon on 1/14/2009 2:11:58 PM , Rating: 2
With all due respect, every platform today has a "huge laundry list of why [insert platform here] blows". I'm not going to pretend that OS X and the Mac is perfect because it's not. However, it is better than anything else out there for what I do and if people can't accept that then that's just their problem.

Note: Apple isn't closed with OS X. The core of the OS is open-source and you can feel free to compile and modify it yourself.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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