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There's a few pundits with egg on their faces this morning, as Apple approves Opera Mini. Against predictions of rejection, the alternative Web browser is now available from the App Store. Initial reviews are mostly positive, bar some fanboi grumbling. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers boggle and try it out.
Cade Metz reports that those with "smart money" are "shocked":
Opera said that its low-bandwidth mobile browser had been approved ... and that it would be available in the Apple App Store. ... Opera ... has always said that it expected approval from Apple. But the smart money was on Jobsian rejection. ... Currently, the App Store only offers third-party browsers that use the same WebKit rendering engine as Apple's own Safari browser. ... Like existing incarnations of Opera Mini ... the iPhone version taps into proxy servers that intercept and compress webpages. ... This speeds download times - making the browser suitable for slower web connections.
Bam! It's Peter Smith:
Apple certainly loves to keep people guessing. ... Just when we thought we knew what to expect out of them, bam! They go and approve the Opera Mini browser for the iPhone. ... Download it yourself: it's free. Now let's see if we can get an iPad version through the approval process. ... In case you're wondering what all the fuss is about, check out the embedded video. Granted the time test at the end has some spin to it, but it still seems plenty quick and has some nice 'tabbed browsing' features.
Robin Wauters' cup is overflowing:
Opera Software claims Opera Mini for iPhone is up to 6 times faster than the native browser thanks to its compression and server-side rendering ... and after having tried it ... myself I have to say its definitely zooming. ... The iPhone app is already showing up for me here in Belgium, how about where youre located?
Greg Kumparak has his first impressions, too:
Today was the day that pigs flew. ... Opera Mini is consistently and considerably faster than Safari. We only saw one site (Facebook) where Opera Mini wasnt the clear victor ... Facebook, where Safari wins by a hair. ...
Scrolling is a bit more sensitive than it is in Safari. ... Im liking it so far. ...
The tabbing system seems really, really great. I prefer it over Safaris, even. ...
If Operas servers go down, so does Opera Mini. ...
There are definitely bugs. Its not terribly broken by any means. ...
The multitouch pinch to zoom here is weird.
Harry McCracken wonders if it'll catch on:
Its possible that some people will prefer Mini to Safarior it least find it worth using on a part-time basis. Isnt nice that theyll get to make that decision? ... I figured the app would make it because well, I couldnt think of a reason why it wouldnt. ... Like Safari, it doesnt do Flash; unlike Safari, it also cant play YouTube videos. ... But ... it has a number of attractive features which Safari doesnt. One of them is ... the ability to search for text within a Web page. Its approach to juggling multiple pages feels more like tabbed browsing; it has a full-screen mode; it can save pages for offline reading; and it ... lets you sync bookmarks among multiple copies of Opera.
Meanwhile, Nilay Patel beats around the bush:
This browser totally kicks safari out of the water, and we're definitely looking forward to updates for Opera Mini. ... It looks to be live in the US now! Hit up that iTunes link and go wild!
Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter, or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: email@example.com.