Opera Mini is coming to the iPhone Or not. The micro browser, so beloved by hardcore mobile fanatics the world over, and owner of a number of mighty impressive download records, has just been submitted for approval to Apple’s App Store. So what, you’re probably thinking? It’s just another app.
Except, it isn’t. This is a browser and therefore something Apple doesn’t want going near the iPhone. It’s already slapped down any plans its rivals might have to try and take on Safari on its own device. So what exactly is Opera trying to prove by unleashing its plans for Opera Mini on iPhone? And what will Apple’s response be?
The answer to the latter should be relatively straightforward. Apple will let Opera Mini stew in the approval process for a few days, perhaps weeks, before saying “no chance”. But will it be that easy now Opera has started to whirr up its PR machine, in what seems to be a bid to make Apple appear foolhardy, at least to seasoned tech watchers and phone fanciers.
Opera Mini for iPhone received plenty of plaudits when it was shown off at Mobile World Congress in February and the general consensus was that this would work a treat on Apple’s bestseller. But everyone knew there was no chance Apple would ever give it the green light.
Except for Opera, that is. On submission of the app last week, Opera’s Jon Von Tetzchner, a co-founder of the software company, said Opera Mini will deliver “more for less” as it compresses data on the server side and therefore cuts down on iPhone roaming charges. It seems a bizarre pitch as the people at fault for high roaming fees aren’t Apple but the networks.
Von Tetzchner also described the browser as “fast like a rocket” saying it was six times faster than Safari. “Opera has put every effort into creating a customized, stylized, feature-rich and highly responsive browser that masterfully combines iPhone capabilities with Opera’s renowned Web experience, and the result is a high performing browser for the iPhone.” And by association, Safari isn’t a high performing browser.
But this is greater than Opera Mini trying to get onto the App Store. If Apple says ‘yes’, then Opera wins. If, as expected, it says ‘no’, then Opera will perhaps look to go down the legal route, touting anticompetitive laws which would see both parties face-off in court. But Steve Jobs isn’t afraid of getting the lawyers involved: just ask HTC.
So what will he, and Apple, do? Well, it’s hard to see beyond a flat refusal. But with newer Android phones putting the squeeze on the iPhone, perhaps Jobs might see sense in it and give it the thumbs up. That would, however, mean relinquishing the tight control Jobs is desperate to have over all his wares. It could happen, just don’t put any money on it. Opera has put Apple in an invidious position. We await with baited breath the results.
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