Opera Mini for iPhone: Will Apple Approve It?

The ball is in Apple's court with the Opera Mini Web browser for the iPhone, which is now pending approval

The ball is in Apple's court with the Opera Mini Web browser for the iPhone, which is now pending approval in the iPhone App Store.

Opera began hyping its iPhone browser in February, claiming that Opera Mini can load Web pages significantly faster than the iPhone's native Safari browser, while cutting down on data use by 90 percent. Opera Mini has some other perks as well, such as a home screen filled with your favorite links and the ability to find text within a page.

It sounds like a great experience, but most iPhone users - save for some journalists and industry folks - won't get to use it unless Apple gives the okay.

As Macworld's Dan Frakes noted when Opera first announced the browser for iPhone, there are two reasons Apple might reject the app, along with reasons Opera Mini might slip by: It duplicates core functionality of the iPhone, and it's not based on the Webkit engine, which all third-party browsers currently use to avoid Apple's ban on apps that download and execute code.

A rejection for duplicate functionality is unlikely; the presence of other browsers show that Apple won't reject Safari competitors outright. As for not using Webkit, Opera argues that its browser doesn't download and execute code, because Opera has a server downloads content and processes scripts before sending the result to the user. Essentially, Opera Mini handles all of Apple's no-nos in the cloud instead of on the phone proper. That's what Opera says is behind the browser's superior speed and data efficiency in the first place.

The result is a unique challenge for Apple. It's not as if approving Opera Mini would open the door to all non-Webkit browsers, but at the very least it would invite some serious competition to mobile Safari into the App Store. Opera is daring Apple to do it.

I kind of like the offbeat theory Engadget proposed in February: Opera knows that Apple's going to reject Opera Mini, and all the hype around the app is just a marketing stunt for the browser on other devices, such as Android and Blackberry phones. If that's true, Apple can get its revenge by putting a Google Voice-like freeze on the app, "continuing to study" it for eternity.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags operating systemiPhonebrowserssmartphones

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?