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Opera Mini Not Rejected From iPhone (Yet) 202

Posted by kdawson
from the fat-lady-sings dept.
danaris writes in to inform us that John Gruber has done some digging on the reported rejection from the App Store of Opera Mini, and has written up his findings. Some choice excerpts: "My understanding, based on information from informed sources who do not wish to be identified because they were not authorized by their employers, is that Opera has developed an iPhone version of Opera Mini — but they haven't even submitted it to Apple, let alone had it be rejected. ... If what they've done for the iPhone is [to get] a Java ME runtime running on the iPhone — it's clearly outside the bounds of the iPhone SDK Agreement. ... What Opera would need to do to have a version of Opera Mini they could submit to the App Store would be to port the entire client software to the C and Objective-C APIs officially supported on the iPhone. It could well be that even then, Apple would reject it from the App Store on anti-competitive grounds — but contrary to this week's speculation, that has not happened."
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Opera Mini Not Rejected From iPhone (Yet)

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  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman.gmail@com> on Saturday November 01, 2008 @09:49PM (#25599451) Homepage Journal

    ...would they port the JavaME version? Doesn't that seem a bit circuitous when Apple provides a sophisticated toolkit to compile their Mac codebase down? It's not like the iPhone is underpowered.

    Something doesn't quite seem right here.

    • Re:Why... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by farnsworth (558449) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @09:57PM (#25599503)

      ...would they port the JavaME version? Doesn't that seem a bit circuitous when Apple provides a sophisticated toolkit to compile their Mac codebase down? It's not like the iPhone is underpowered.

      Something doesn't quite seem right here.

      I know little about Opera, but:

      it works like this: You request a URL in Opera Mini. Opera Mini makes the request to a proxy server run by Opera. Operaâ(TM)s proxy server connects to the web server hosting the requested URL, and renders the page into an image. This image is then transmitted (in a proprietary format called OBML â" Opera Binary Markup Language) to the Opera Mini client. Opera Mini displays the rendered image on screen. This may sound convoluted, but apparently the result is very effective â" itâ(TM)s faster to transmit, because only OBML (a compressed binary format) is transmitted to the mobile device over the phone network, and far faster to render on slow mobile processors.

      Opera Mini is probably a Java app, so it can run on the most number of phones. Porting a JVM that only needs to support a few select bits is vastly easier than porting a full-blown rendering engine from c/cpp to obj c.

      • Porting a JVM that only needs to support a few select bits is vastly easier than porting a full-blown rendering engine from c/cpp to obj c.

        Hm? C++/Objective C mixing is pretty straightforward, I've never had any problems at all using pre-existing C++ libraries in iPhone projects, there are just little things like making sure you're using the right forms of standard library calls and stuff like that.

      • porting a full-blown rendering engine from c/cpp to obj c.

        The point of Opera Mini is that it doesn't have a "full-blown rendering engine" in it - that's why it works on pretty much any J2ME-enabled phone out there, even 5-year old models.

      • "it works like this: You request a URL in Opera Mini. Opera Mini makes the request to a proxy server run by Opera. OperaÃ(TM)s proxy server connects to the web server hosting the requested URL, and renders the page into an image. This image is then transmitted (in a proprietary format called OBML Ã" Opera Binary Markup Language) to the Opera Mini client. Opera Mini displays the rendered image on screen. This may sound convoluted, but apparently the result is very effective Ã" itÃ(TM)s fa

        • by hkmwbz (531650)
          Your ISP sees everything you are doing, and I'll be willing to bet that your ISP is located in a country with far worse privacy laws than Opera Software, located in Norway, which has some of the world's strictest privacy laws.
      • by tyrione (134248)

        ...would they port the JavaME version? Doesn't that seem a bit circuitous when Apple provides a sophisticated toolkit to compile their Mac codebase down? It's not like the iPhone is underpowered.

        Something doesn't quite seem right here.

        I know little about Opera, but:

        it works like this: You request a URL in Opera Mini. Opera Mini makes the request to a proxy server run by Opera. Operaâ(TM)s proxy server connects to the web server hosting the requested URL, and renders the page into an image. This image is then transmitted (in a proprietary format called OBML â" Opera Binary Markup Language) to the Opera Mini client. Opera Mini displays the rendered image on screen. This may sound convoluted, but apparently the result is very effective â" itâ(TM)s faster to transmit, because only OBML (a compressed binary format) is transmitted to the mobile device over the phone network, and far faster to render on slow mobile processors.

        Opera Mini is probably a Java app, so it can run on the most number of phones. Porting a JVM that only needs to support a few select bits is vastly easier than porting a full-blown rendering engine from c/cpp to obj c.

        Correct. However, seeing as Qt 4.5 with Cocoa is now in Beta, one would surmise that it makes sense to port Opera to that code base and re-use much of it for the iPhone (even if it's not an Opera Mini, but a subset of it).

        Then again Opera hasn't ported Opera to Qt4, yet.

    • Re:Why... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman.gmail@com> on Saturday November 01, 2008 @09:59PM (#25599521) Homepage Journal

      Having read the article in greater depth, I see that the author has made a few incorrect assumptions. One of them appears to be that if it's not Opera Mini, it is therefore Opera JavaME. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      Not only does Opera have their Opera Mobile [wikipedia.org] product that is designed to run on a variety of non-Java smartphones, but they also have products like the Wii Internet Channel [wikipedia.org]. The Internet Channel is a stripped down version of the desktop browser running in an environment that's not too dissimilar to the iPhone.

      So take the information in the article with a large grain of salt.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) *

        Correction to myself. I misunderstood what the author was saying. He was saying that Opera Mini is a JavaME browser, not that anything other than Opera Mini is a JavaME browser. My mistake.

      • by hkmwbz (531650)
        Opera Mini was ported to C/C++ [opera.com] more than a year ago.
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @10:03PM (#25599539)
    Why exactly is Apple worried about people making different browsers/media players for the iPhone/iPod touch? They already paid the ~$250 for Safari/iPod player so why does it matter if they want to use VLC instead and use Opera to browse? They bought the hardware. I could understand them rejecting such projects as an Amazon MP3 store or something, but media players and browsers? Come on Apple, we already gave you our $$$ for that.
    • by MBCook (132727)
      I'm not sure about media players (could be iTunes related), but remember that Mozilla gets quite a bit of revenue due to the Google search in Firefox. Ignoring how Apple likes to control things in general, it's a fair assumption they get a little bit of money when someone searches for something and then clicks an ad, just like Mozilla does.
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mysidia (191772) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @10:13PM (#25599617)

      Because Opera / VLC provides a different user experience than Safari / iTunes.

      And Apple cares about apps attempting to allow the user to change their usage experience.

      This isn't about what the end user wants, it's about what Apple wants.

      If VLC users have to get used to iTunes, and Opera users have to get used to Safari to use the iPhone...

      They will be more likely to get rid of their PCs, get Macs, get iPods, and buy all their music from the iTunes store.

      Apple is selling a package, and they want all their users to buy into that package.

      Anyone pushing a different media player, browser, or alternative to a base Apple product (even a free Apple product) is a threat to the Apple vision and... sales in the future.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by onefriedrice (1171917) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @10:19PM (#25599635)

      Why exactly is Apple worried about people making different browsers/media players for the iPhone/iPod touch? They already paid the ~$250 for Safari/iPod player so why does it matter if they want to use VLC instead and use Opera to browse? They bought the hardware. I could understand them rejecting such projects as an Amazon MP3 store or something, but media players and browsers? Come on Apple, we already gave you our $$$ for that.

      The point of the article is that we don't know whether Opera will be accepted or not. I'm inclined to think that Opera will be accepted (or at least the concept has been previously approved by Apple), so this is probably a pointless conversation.

      What I mean is, I hope the Opera people aren't stupid enough to put resources toward developing an iPhone version of their browser without getting pre-approval from Apple that such a thing would be accepted. To my knowledge, nobody has yet tried to submit a browser to Apple, so it seems premature to thrown Apple under the bus until we really have a clue.

      • It won't be accepted if the program downloads and runs code on its own. That might even apply to interpreted languages like javascript, which would seriously screw a browsers chances of being useful if it couldn't do JS.

        • by bhtooefr (649901)

          And that specifically is why it's plausible that it's Opera Mini, not Mobile.

          Opera Mini has no support for client-side JavaScript - to do anything using JS, Opera Mini has to make a round trip to the Opera servers in Norway, and the JavaScript code runs on those servers.

          On Palm OS, there's basically two legal choices for browsers (and one of them is only semi-legal.) Blazer, which sucks ass, but is a native Palm OS app, and can handle JavaScript without round trips, and Opera Mini, which requires the rather

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Well, the one that I've heard they ACTUALLY rejected (as opposed to haven't gotten a chance to reject yet) was that podcast manager. Apple had already built something similar to put in the new firmware.

      Perhaps Apple remembers the flak they took when they released Dashboard and doesn't want that to happen again?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mpcooke3 (306161)

      If current trends continue then more and more developers will develop apps to run on a browser instead of directly on the Operating System.

      If Apple don't ban a browser like Opera or Chrome, then opera or google could keep adding features to their browsers until any app could be developed to run within the browser thereby bypassing the need to get "permission" to run apps on the phone through the app store.

      To ensure they can keep making money from the app store and maintain their agreements with the phone co

      • by Lars T. (470328)

        If current trends continue then more and more developers will develop apps to run on a browser instead of directly on the Operating System.

        So why did Apple get so much flak when they released the iPhone and said "no software developer kit is required for the iPhone".

    • by Lars T. (470328)
      Maybe I missed something - but which phone can run VLC?
  • Vapor (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Henriok (6762) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @10:06PM (#25599565)
    Or.. It _could_ be that the Opera rep is just stating something which no one can verify. In the end Opera gets goodwill and great press while Apple gets the opposite. Opera has allegedly built cool stuff which and Apple probably would have rejected. Either way.. FUD and vapor all over.
    • Re:Vapor (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lysergic.acid (845423) on Sunday November 02, 2008 @12:41AM (#25600353) Homepage

      if it's FUD it's all based on Apple's already accrued bad reputation.

      first, they lock down the iPhone and prevent 3rd-party apps from being run on it. then when they finally open it up they require all applications to be approved by them and distributed through the App Store. then they reject 3rd-party applications that might compete with their own software. and finally, then they make all developers sign an NDA that prevents developers from speaking about App Store rejections.

      but if you want to assume that this is all an elaborate Opera PR stunt designed to spread FUD about Apple then go right on ahead. it's not like this so-called FUD isn't based on what people already think about Apple as a result of their own recent actions.

    • by hkmwbz (531650)
      Considering that Opera Mini was ported to C/C++ ages ago [operawatch.com] it's already verified that they would easily have something for the iPhone. Where's the FUD?

      Apple fanboys...

  • by BBCWatcher (900486) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @10:06PM (#25599567)
    There's no question that Apple's iPhone/iPod touch behavior is anti-competitive. As Apple gains market power, rising toward #1 in the smartphone market, such behavior might also be illegal in at least some jurisdictions. Apple needs to tread very carefully here.
    • Good thing for Apple they are not even close to dominating the smartphone market.
      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        No, but I'd bet they put a lot of smartphones in the hands of people who wouldn't have otherwise purchased them thanks to their marketing.

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      #1 in the smart phone market still only gets you a few percent market share... they needn't worry anytime soon about anti-trust.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by earlymon (1116185)

      There's no question that Apple's iPhone/iPod touch behavior is anti-competitive.

      Educate me, please. I question that - in fact, I'm not sure what you're referring to. I'm not baiting you, I am assuming that you know what you're referring to - so please help by way of explanation.

      I'm trying to decide if it's the patented (not sure if that went through or not) side of their touch interface or not.

      Apple never promised a netbook - they promised what they promised and they delivered on it. They are very competitive w.r.t. Blackberries, et al.

      Stretching my imagination further, iPods are an

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JonathanBoyd (644397)

      There's no question that Apple's iPhone/iPod touch behavior is anti-competitive.

      This would be the behaviour of which there is evidence? Sounds like plenty of questions to me.

      As Apple gains market power, rising toward #1 in the smartphone market, such behavior might also be illegal in at least some jurisdictions.

      Why? What exactly are they doing that is remotely close to being against the law?

      Apple needs to tread very carefully here.

      Why?

  • Not Allowed (Score:3, Informative)

    by hax0r_this (1073148) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @10:07PM (#25599571)
    The SDK Agreement fairly explicitly disallows third party web rendering engines:

    No interpreted code may be downloaded and used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple's Published APIs and built-in interpreter(s).

    On an unrelated note, I wish Apple would spend less time making absurd rules like that and more time making their developer site actually work. It took me nearly 20 minutes just to manage to log in to view the SDK Agreement.

  • "My understanding, based on information from informed sources who do not wish to be identified because they were not authorized by their employers,

    Big surprise. More cowards who are too afraid to state their names but want to talk to act like big shots even though they aren't authorized to talk to anyone. I'd love to find people like that to fire them if I was a manager at a company like that. It was probably loose lips like that which caused this rumor to get out in the first place.

    • you're absolutely right. they're complete cowards for risking their jobs to share information with the public. i mean, how dare they try to preserve their anonymity, not like you of course Mr. glitch23--i assume that's your surname?

      btw, why do you have your e-mail address hidden? trying to act like a big shot on /. even though you don't have the guts to let people know how to contact you?

      • by glitch23 (557124)

        you're absolutely right. they're complete cowards for risking their jobs to share information with the public. i mean, how dare they try to preserve their anonymity, not like you of course Mr. glitch23--i assume that's your surname?

        There are people in companies who are authorized to talk to the press about these issues. They are there for a reason. Those who are not authorized are doing almost exactly what you said, they are risking their designated job for which they were hired to do. They were not hired to leak information to the press. These same people could be responsible for leaking the incorrect information in the first place. I'm not going outside my realm of responsibility by leaking information about my company so my identif

  • by AardvarkCelery (600124) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @11:45PM (#25600053)

    The article says...

    ... Apple won't let the company release it because it competes with Apple's own Safari browser.

    That's totally different from saying it was rejected. It may well be the case that they read Apple's agreement and understood that Apple would not allow them to release it... and thus they didn't need to submit it.

    In the same way, I already know that the US Government will not allow me to sell marijuana-laced brownies. I don't need to apply to the FDA to find that out, since it's already well understood from the law.

    I'm surprised nobody pointed this out earlier.

  • Gruber will come up with a justification even if Steve Jobs urinates in his face and shits on his head. Among all fanbois, John is fanboi par excellence.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ubernostrum (219442)

      Gruber will come up with a justification even if Steve Jobs urinates in his face and shits on his head.

      Hmm... this would be the same Gruber who wrote that the App Store's exclusion of applications which "compete with" Apple's own offerings is "seriously wrong [daringfireball.net]"? The one who said (same link) that "[i]f this is truly Apple's policy, it's a disaster for the platform"? The same Gruber who said, of Apple's policies, "they shouldn't be doing this [daringfireball.net]"? The same Gruber who said of Apple's inscrutable rejections of

  • Get a G1 and run android [google.com]. You get Linux, an open source implementation of Java called Dalvik [wikipedia.org], and source code to the base applications, plus access to registering your app in their application market, and freedom to publish your own app and let people download it.

    And it has a keyboard.

    • by Lars T. (470328)

      Get a G1 and run android [google.com]. You get Linux, an open source implementation of Java called Dalvik [wikipedia.org], and source code to the base applications, plus access to registering your app in their application market, and freedom to publish your own app and let people download it.

      And it has a keyboard.

      But you won't get Opera Mini - how evil is that?

  • by bytesex (112972) on Sunday November 02, 2008 @02:40AM (#25600851) Homepage

    It's about Opera having thought of a innovative way to get a browsing-experience into a phone where (apart from the screensize) the network is a bottleneck. Doing the browsing at the server-end, transferring images to a phone instead of HTML is kind of elegant and, given that you trust the provider to anonimize you, can even have nice privacy implications; you can parse text from HTML, but you can't parse text from an image easily.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Much of John Gruber's site is an apology journal for Apple's less reasonable activity. When he doesn't have a concrete argument, he resorts to specious hand-waving; when his hands are tired out, he resorts to whispers from "sources". He's the worst sort of evangelist - he's on full warp not when he's giving praise for Apple, but when he's insulting some individual or group he disagrees with.

    I am typing this from my primary workstation, an iMac. I think OS X is a fine mainstream operating system. But I don't

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ToasterMonkey (467067)

      Well, is he right? Has Opera even been submitted yet? What does anything else he has written matter? Oh noes, do we believe the first unconfirmed blog posting, or the second? Slashdot, please tell us what to think!

  • If what they've done for the iPhone is [to get] a Java ME runtime running on the iPhone

    Opera Mini has already been ported to non-Java version(s), stated by haavard here [opera.com], referring to a Opera press release [opera.com] from as far back as 2007. Gruber speculates [daringfireball.net] that it's because a JavaScript intepreter would clearly break with the SDK Agreement, however as seen in this interview [linuxdevices.com], Opera Mini doesn't have to interpret JavaScript at all, nor render web pages - this can all be done on the servers.

  • by dkf (304284)

    It's Darth Jobs all over again.
    "I find your lack of Objective-C... disturbing."

  • It could well be that even then, Apple would reject it from the App Store on anti-competitive grounds -- but contrary to this week's speculation, that has not happened.

    What is "anti-competitive" about allowing Opera to release their browser on Apple's phone?

    This is a complete misunderstanding of the term "anti-competitive" -- or a lack of the most basic English skills, take your pick.

    The action of Apple's rejection of the browser on Apple's phone would be an example of Apple behaving anti-competitively -- a

  • Maybe I'm just silly, but iPhone needs a simpler language. Objective C is freaky. We need something like Python with a simplified group of graphics and communication classes.

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