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Apple does the unthinkable and approves Opera Mini for the iPhone, iPod touch

In what must be one of the most shocking developments in the whole Apple App Store versus the third-party app market comes news that Opera Mini has been approved by Apple for the iPhone and iPod touch. When Opera Software submitted the apps for Apple's prying eyes back in March, no one really took them seriously and thought that they were just showing off to drum up some press.

Well, Apple has shown Opera some leniency and Opera Mini will be available to U.S. iPhone and iPod touch users shortly. Here's the Opera press release in its entirety:

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

Could the walls be crumbling in Apple's heavy-handed approach to App Store acceptance/rejection? Maybe Opera just caught Steve Jobs on a good day. Who knows, but this is at least a good step forward for Apple.

Updated 4/13/2010

It's now available in the iTunes Store.

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By PrinceGaz on 4/13/2010 10:26:42 AM , Rating: 2
...but it turns out Apple Mini really has been approved. It has its flaws, for instance (and quite importantly) Opera Link fails to transfer bookmarks so you have to add those manually very tediously, though it does import the speed-dial links (effectively a top-9 list of favourites). It also always sends a mobile browser string meaning you often get the stripped-down mobile version of websites you visit, unless the site offers an alternative link to force the desktop version to be displayed instead (which can mean changing the bookmark). Zooming is limited to a fixed two-option fully-in or fully-out (unreadable whole-width preview), unlike the far more intuitive and superior smooth any-zoom level of Safari.

Having said that, it loads websites much quicker even on WiFi as much of the work is being done on Opera's servers, so as well as cutting down on network traffic, it is presumably also cutting down on battery usage when loading sites. Despite being version 5.0 of Opera Mini generally, it feels very much like a v1.0 iPhone app in terms of user-experience.

One to watch, and hopefully an update fixing the main problems is on its way, as if the above problems were fixed, Opera Mini could well be a superior alternative to Safari (at present I feel it isn't, despite my using Opera as my preferred desktop browser).

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