Opera Submits iPhone Browser to the App Store, We’re Still Skeptical You’ll Ever See It

Less than six weeks after announcing– to much skepticism– that it was developing a browser for the iPhone, Opera has submitted Opera Mini for iPhone to the App store.

At a time when everyone and their mother knows the slogan “there’s an app for that,” Opera’s announcement was still ballsy in that Apple has yet to approve a third-party browser. While iPhone users can currently download skins to personalize the iPhone’s default Safari browser, they can’t sub in a new browser altogether.

We got a sneak peak at Opera Mini for iPhone last month at Mobile World Congress. While we weren’t permitted to film or photograph the demo (Opera was skittish about letting more than a select few actually see the app before finalizing it), we were able to share our first impressions. The browser, as we saw it, was indeed faster than Safari and had a sleek, tabbed interface. Opera decided not to support multitouch gestures, which we think was a mistake.

When we met with Opera last month, a company representative said Opera was confident it was complying with the SDK. However, Opera wasn’t– and still isn’t– saying why Apple should stray from its precedent of blocking third-party browsers.

Moreover, it’s unclear if Opera would have any legal recourse if Apple did reject it. Is Apple’s “one browser” policy anti-competitive when Apple owns the IP for the iPhone OS and has the right to keep it closed? Can’t Apple control its storefront the same way Walmart can decide not to sell items it deems unacceptable?

What do you think? Will Apple approve Opera Mini for iPhone? Sound off in the comments below and in our poll.

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