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Apple

Opera For iPhone To Test Apple's Resolve 292

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the that's-not-gonna-work dept.
Barence writes "Opera is launching a version of its Mini browser for the iPhone in what could prove a landmark decision for Apple's app gatekeepers. Apple has been traditionally hostile to rival browsers, with Mozilla claiming that Apple made it 'too hard' for its rivals to develop a browser for the iPhone. However, Opera remains bullishly confident that its app will be approved. 'We have not submitted Opera Mini to the Apple App store,' an Opera spokesperson told PC Pro. 'However, we hope that Apple will not deny their users a choice in web browsing experience.'" I can't imagine what would motivate them to do that.
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Opera For iPhone To Test Apple's Resolve

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  • First! (Presumably) I wonder how this will play out in EU where MS was forced to include multiple browsers...
    • by Carewolf (581105) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:03AM (#31084976) Homepage

      First! (Presumably) I wonder how this will play out in EU where MS was forced to include multiple browsers...

      Microsoft was forced to do so after being convicted of anti-competitive behaviour. The differences between Apple and Microsoft aside, Apple would be no more forced to apply by the same rules as Microsoft, than you are forced to spent the rest of your days in prison, just because someone else was sentenced that for their crime.

    • by Rhaban (987410) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:12AM (#31085076)

      Difference is, apple does not have the same market-share on smartphone OSes as microsoft has on desktop OSes.

      • by delinear (991444)

        Difference is, apple does not have the same market-share on smartphone OSes as microsoft has on desktop OSes.

        How's their market share on MP3 players?

  • Opera's Motivation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by buruonbrails (1247370) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:03AM (#31084980) Homepage
    Certainly, Apple will reject the app and Opera knows it. Maybe Opera tries to strengthen Apple's "Evil Empire" image and deal with it with the help of EU (just like they did with Microsoft recently).
    • by caffeinemessiah (918089) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:05AM (#31084998) Journal

      Certainly, Apple will reject the app and Opera knows it. Maybe Opera tries to strengthen Apple's "Evil Empire" image and deal with it with the help of EU (just like they did with Microsoft recently).

      My first thought on reading the summary was "where's the leverage?" Either Opera is talking right through their own asses, or they have some serious leverage -- certainly more than just bad PR (which Apple seems immune to anyway). They've invested time and manpower in this project, one can only hope that someone's cojones over at Apple are in a vice grip, and that we will all soon enjoy the big red O on our iPhones.

    • Apple will reject the app

      Apple can't reject what hasn't been submitted.

      "We have not submitted Opera Mini to the Apple App store".

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FlyingBishop (1293238)

      The thing is, this is a high-profile app that Apple can approve and point to, saying "Look, we're letting our competitors in!" even though it doesn't open the platform in any meaningful way. So I actually think there's a very good chance they will approve it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mac84 (971323)
      Apple may surprise you. Apple only got into the Safari business when Microsoft stopped supporting IE for the Mac. There is no real profit in browsers per se, hence only OS developers and open source projects are doing anything with them. If they are smart Apple will see more popularity for Opera as another blow to IE and MS dominance, both of which are good for to Apple.
      • by toleraen (831634)
        No real profit in browsers, wha? So how is Opera operating as a company, and how did the Mozilla Foundation raise $78 million in revenue in 2008? So Apple doesn't have any deal like those two companies for default browser search?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          No real profit in browsers, wha?

          For someone like Google, maybe. Opera is making a piddling amount of profit even in comparison to someone like Red Hat.

          So how is Opera operating as a company and how did the Mozilla Foundation raise $78 million in revenue in 2008?

          By getting paid by Google to make them the default search engine in the browsers. That's how they make the majority of their money.

      • If they are smart Apple will see more popularity for Opera as another blow to IE and MS dominance, both of which are good for to Apple.

        How exactly would letting Opera on the iPhone be a blow to IE and Microsoft dominance? I didn't realize there was an IE for the iPhone nor that Microsoft had any dominance in the iPhone space.

  • by Shrike82 (1471633) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:04AM (#31084986)

    We have not submitted Opera Mini to the Apple App store

    Really? Then what the hell is this story about? I read the article through a number of times, but that sentence really doesn''t make any sense. Are they targetiing this at jailbroken phones? Was that quote from some time ago and was unwisely used here?

    Perhaps I just need some caffeine, or is my confusion shared by others?

    • by gparent (1242548)
      No, I have no damn clue what's going on either.
    • I've had caffeine today, and I also found this confusing.

      It sounds like one schoolkid bully saying to another, "When I see you after school, I'm going to kick your ass." He hasn't yet done the ass-kicking; in fact, the showdown won't happen until some time in the future. But he's showing off his swagger to prove his bravado, intimidate the opposition, and/or try to impress his buddies.

    • by srothroc (733160)
      The sentence in question would probably make more sense if it ended with a "yet."
    • by ectoraige (123390)

      I think the implied missing word is 'yet'.

      They intend to submit it, and are making it very clear that they will stand up to Apple if, when they *do* submit it, it gets rejected. It's a shot across the bows.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:41AM (#31085462)

      Opera is publicly announcing their intention to submit their browser to Apple before actually committing to the process, because they know they stand a good chance of summary rejection for trying to break into the Safari monopoly. Opera hopes to preempt Apple's choice in the matter by raising public support in advance of the submission and raising in conjunction with that support awareness of Apple's monopolistic methodologies, preparing the public to view Apple's coming rejection as the act of an Evil Fascist Corporate Overlord (whether it is or not is irrelevant; we're talking about Opera's intentions here, not Apple's). Their hopes are that, should Apple realize the public has been thus prepared, Opera might be more likely to pass the submission process to avoid the storm of negative publicity that would fall out of a realization and fulfillment of that media preparation. In other words, this is manufactured opinion, and Slashdot is the medium of manufacturing outrage on behalf of one corporation against another (regardless of your feelings towards either company) because Slashdot is a public forum where corporate media services can advertise against one another.

      Opera suffers from a kind of hubris, though: they don't realize that the audience who will listen to them is smaller than they need to generate sufficient public outrage to press Apple on any decision and far smaller than needed to drown out the Apple supporters who will regurgitate or themselves even generate, given sufficient creativity, reasons why Apple Is Right And You Are Wrong. The Opera FanBois are fewer than the Apple FanBois and by a sufficient margin that Opera is not going to win this PR turf war. But Slashdot is a cheap place to advertise, so it doesn't hurt to try.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by huckamania (533052)

        It is true that there are orders of magnitude more Apple FanBois then Opera FanBois.

        However, almost everyone likes choice and virtually no one likes being denied choice. I can't imagine that the EU could be very happy about this lack of choice, product tie in, extreme control and customer lock in. I seem to remember the EU having some tough laws applying to this sort of thing but maybe they only come into effect if MS is involved. I suspect once the numbers reach a certain point, millions or billions,

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hazydave (96747)

        Fanboys aren't the real issue here... Opera's being pretty clever here. They're announcing this, knowing full well that "Apple rejects App" will garner far more publicity than "Opera releases browser". There is a large segment of the electronic computer press, and perhaps even some print media still, that's just crazy obsessed with every little move Apple makes. Google too, for sure, and maybe all this only because Microsoft has been relatively boring lately.. they haven't eaten a baby or kicked a puppy in

    • by Terrasque (796014) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:41AM (#31085476) Homepage Journal

      from a different source I read earlier (norwegian, interviewing a norwegian person from opera), it's not submitted yet, because it's still in beta.

  • If Apple rejects it please post it on Cydia

  • by sznupi (719324) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:09AM (#31085052) Homepage

    At least not in the strictest technical sense. It doesn't understand html, etc. ..."just" it's own, highly compressed format; sent to it from Opera servers.

    Not that it'll make a difference to Apple.

    • by arethuza (737069) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:16AM (#31085124)
      Indeed, and guess where the encrypted connection terminates when you access your bank website?
      • by sznupi (719324) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:26AM (#31085272) Homepage

        It doesn't terminate in the sense that you suggest - connection between Opera servers and mobile phone is always encrypted, on every webpage.

        Yes, when accessing encrypted websites, the pages and data are in an unencrypted form on Opera servers (only there!)...which isn't that big of a problem. You need to only ask yourself whether you trust Opera Software ASA.

        If not...you can still use the advantages of Opera Mini on most of webpages; unless you really limit yourself to visiting your bank website on a mobile device, for some reason.

        • You need to only ask yourself whether you trust Opera Software ASA.

          Or any individual one of their employees, who have access to said servers. And when it comes to financial information, my position is no on both counts. I sure hope most people share my position.

          • by sznupi (719324)

            So why do you trust employees of your bank?

            (not saying that not trusting Opera is not a valid choice; just be carefull how you justify it; also, when running mobile phone with at least some software you haven't written yourself; and taking into account that Opera is a Nordic company...)

            • Because the bank is (presumably) chartered in the country you live in and heavily regulated, and you have recourse if they screw something up. Good luck going after Opera if they mess up.

              • by porneL (674499)

                > Because the bank is (presumably) chartered in the country you live in and heavily regulated, and you have recourse if they screw something up.

                Indeed, Opera won't get trillion dollar bonus if they screw something up ;)

                Opera is publicly traded company regulated in civilised country. They're technologically very competent, which I can't say about my bank which has JavaScript-laden IE-optimized website in 640x480 popup window.

              • by Ma8thew (861741)
                The EU has extremely strict data protection regulations [wikipedia.org]. Transferring data to American companies can be an issue because the USA doesn't have the same protections.
              • by sznupi (719324)

                Naturally. And yet...look at quite recent state of banking mess. Wasn't there also a story not that long ago how most bank security breaches are inside jobs?

                Being not that far from Scandinavia I can also assure you that there's something to be said about their ethics all around (well, at least in comparison to the one I'm used to, in post-Soviet colony...); plus I would be really surprised if access to Opera proxy servers wasn't appropriately limited.

                That said, I agree it still doesn't render not trusting t

              • You've never had a bank lose your money on you have you?
                • Nope. I use a local credit union for all my accounts and loans. They seem to be technically competent. They were unaffected by the financial mess because they were not making stupid loans.

      • by Zebedeu (739988) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @10:30AM (#31086126)

        It's not like it's some big secret. From Opera Mini FAQ (http://www.opera.com/mini/help/faq/#security):

        Is there any end-to-end security between my handset and — for example — paypal.com or my bank?
        No. If you need full end-to-end encryption, you should use a full Web browser such as Opera Mobile.

        Opera Mini uses a transcoder server to translate HTML/CSS/JavaScript into a more compact format. It will also shrink any images to fit the screen of your handset. This translation step makes Opera Mini fast, small, and also very cheap to use. To be able to do this translation, the Opera Mini server needs to have access to the unencrypted version of the Web page. Therefore no end-to-end encryption between the client and the remote Web server is possible.

        And

        Can Opera Software see my passwords and credit card numbers in clear text? What is the encryption good for then?
        The encryption is introduced to protect the communication from any third party between the client (the browser on your handset) and the Opera Mini transcoder server. If you do not trust Opera Software, make sure you do not use our application to enter any kind of sensitive information.

    • by duguk (589689)

      At least not in the strictest technical sense. It doesn't understand html, etc. ..."just" it's own, highly compressed format; sent to it from Opera servers.

      Not that it'll make a difference to Apple.

      At least it should support File Uploading [faqs.org], unlike the cut-down browser from Apple.

      I honestly can't see any logic behind disabling this really simple feature - other than it forces developers to write stupid applications which could be better written in a web-browser.

  • by porneL (674499) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:13AM (#31085096) Homepage

    It could be accepted.

    Apple forbids code interpreters other than Apple's own, BUT this is Opera Mini, not full Opera Mobile. Mini executes JavaScript server-side and only sends rendered result to the phone. There's likely no (turing-complete) interpreter on iPhone side, so it should be fine within terms of SDK.

    Apple has already accepted number of WebKit-based browsers, so browsers in general aren't forbidden.

    And for iPhone users, especially on EDGE, there is very good reason to use Opera Mini: it's going to be faster. iPhones before 3GS are also very low on RAM, and Safari only uses RAM for caching. Presumably Opera Mini would be able to keep many more tabs open and fully cached.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by garcia (6573)

      Big question for me is whether or not you can turn off image loading. If so it would become my favorite app ever. Nothing more frustrating than wanting to load a page full of mainly text and having it take 5 minutes because Apple doesn't want you to ruin your browsing experience...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sznupi (719324)

        Yes, you can turn off image loading in the settings. As well as selecting quality level.

      • by zombie_monkey (1036404) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:31AM (#31085352)
        Not only can you turn off image loading altogether, you have two levels of image compression (with the corresponding reduction in image quality) that the proxy can do for you, or you could it set no compression.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ClaraBow (212734)
        There are several browsers in the App Store that can turn off images! Perfect Browser for example turns off images, has Firefox style tabs, and full screen browsing. It even has a compressed pages option for slower networks!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cerberusss (660701)

        Big question for me is whether or not you can turn off image loading.

        My feeling is that the network speed is not the problem, but rather the iPhone rendering speed is. Safari on the iPhone, plus a heavy JavaScript page, means waiting for me. Graphics, not so much.

    • by hey! (33014)

      It's rather amazing to think that this situation might even be considered by a court of law. The founding fathers would have to have been the equivalent of Mentor of Arisia to have known something like this was coming when they put the Interstate Commerce Clause and copyright clause into the Constitution.

  • Really? Why not Opera Mobile? That doesn't make sense to me. Opera Mini is java based and is for smartphones. Web pages are processed by Opera's proxy servers and stripped down for mobile viewing on underpowered devices. Opera Mobile 10 is an actual web browser, on par with Safari on the iPhone.

    • Re:Opera Mini? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Dan East (318230) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:21AM (#31085210) Homepage Journal

      Hmm. Maybe I can answer my own question. It would be much easier to roll out Opera Mini for iPhone, since it is already implemented in Java (making it OS / hardware independent). If Apple approves Opera Mini, then Opera can begin investing the resources into porting Opera Mobile to the iPhone platform. So perhaps Opera is testing Apple with a low-risk, low-investment browser first. If Apple approves mini, then Opera could perhaps have some legal ground to challenge Apple should they later deny Opera Mobile.

      • If I had mod points I'd mod this insightful. I think you've hit the nail on the head, this is a cheap "toe in the water".
      • Re:Opera Mini? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by quadelirus (694946) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:34AM (#31085372)
        Apple does not allow developers to develop in Java. You can use a cross compiler to compile from java to Objective-C, but I doubt this is why Opera went with Mini. As I understand it, Opera Mini executes JavaScript on Opera's servers, renders the page and sends a rendered version to the browser. If this is true, it sheds light on why Opera is doing Mini. It does it because Opera Mobile would require a full-fledged javascript interpreter and Apple will not allow an app to provide a platform for scripting or arbitrary code execution. Opera Mobile will not be on the iPhone until this policy changes, but Opera Mini might just be able to get around this restriction.
      • by aduzik (705453)
        Apple's developer agreement specifically says that they will not accept an application that contains a code interpreter. So that means they will not accept a web browser because it would necessarily have its own JavaScript engine.Opera Mini may get by because the script execution happens on the server side, not the device.
    • Re:Opera Mini? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Infiniti2000 (1720222) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:38AM (#31085412)

      Web pages are processed by Opera's proxy servers and stripped down for mobile viewing on underpowered devices.

      If Opera reduces the bandwidth to the iPhone, then AT&T [slashdot.org] should be on the front line encouraging Apple to accept the app!

      • by Dare nMc (468959)

        Seams like it would decrease the bandwidth per page viewed. Although this could improve the browsing experience to the point where people browse more sites on the phone (using tabs and such) that it could increase overall bandwidth usage. (must resist car analogy) but much like better fuel economy cars just caused people to drive more, increasing overall fuel use. (sorry)

  • by Rhaban (987410) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:17AM (#31085150)

    Instead of porting opera mini on every existing platform, why not assign more resources to do the same for opera mobile, or at least make opera mini as good as opera mobile?

    I paid to use opera mobile on my windows mobile phone (htc tytn II), and would gladly pay again to be able to use it on my android phone. I have opera mini on it, it is not usable at all.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by quadelirus (694946)
      I think the problem is that Opera Mobile violates the SDK agreements and Opera Mini does not. Opera Mobile requires a full fledged JavaScript engine and Apple will not allow scripting engines to be included with apps.
    • by sznupi (719324) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:39AM (#31085426) Homepage

      Uhm, Opera Mini is primarily an app for more then a billion or so "feature phones" out there, the ones with j2me; it gives them rather nice browsing experience (especially since many have slow data access and/or data costs are very high)

      So of course it will be less featured, that's the point - having a sensible browser on devices which were thought uncapable of running one at all.

      That said, latest Opera Mini 5 beta releases show great progress.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      They're not wasting valuable Opera Mobile time on porting Mini, because Mini doesn't need to be ported. It's a Java app, it goes where the virtual machines are.

      The current Mini beta is in many respects as good as Mobile (the interfaces are indistinguishable for starters), you should give it a shot.

      • by Rhaban (987410)

        Last time I checked the beta was not available for android phones (my wm phone was stolen a year ago).

  • Gomez Addams said it best.

    GREED!

  • It always amazes me how many MS-bashers still bring up the case of MS supposedly unfairly using its monopoly to push IE back in the 90's, yet ignore the fact that Apple and others engage in MUCH more egregious anti-competitive behavior today than MS ever dreamed of doing. MS's big sin was to include IE in their default Windows installation (the same as notepad, media player, and dozens of other standard apps). Never once did they block competing software from being installed on Windows. The whole case is a

    • by Duradin (1261418) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @11:08AM (#31086674)

      Microsoft doesn't make and/or sell their own computers. Windows goes on other companies' machines. Microsoft used agreements with those other companies to their advantage against other OS vendors.

      Apple makes their own computer. Apple only puts their OS on their computers. Apple's app store only sells to Apple's own hardware. Apple allows competition between products. You can easily chose not to buy an Apple product and live a happy Apple free life. Apple does not allow competition within its products. It's Apple's store for Apple's hardware. Why should any other company have say over what is and isn't on Apple's store for its own products?

      If you can't see the difference between Microsoft's dealings with OEMs and Apple wanting control over Apple product lines you must have some pretty hefty blinders on.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Moldiver (1343577)

      The knowledge of what is a monopoly and what's not appears to be not clear for many people...

  • by Eric Smith (4379) <eric@brouhaha. c o m> on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @11:31AM (#31086972) Homepage Journal

    "We have not submitted Opera Mini to the Apple App store,"

    Apple automatically rejects all applications that are NOT submitted. However, they don't notify the non-submitter when this happens.

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