Thanks to Apple's Draconian policies against App Store offerings duplicating any functionality that's built into the iPhone OS, most developers have shied away from porting Mozilla and other web browsers to the iPhone as a possible alternative to Safari, for fear that they would invest a tremendous amount of work only to be shot down by Apple immediately. Although there have been some other browsers approved into the App Store, these have all been fairly simple repackagings of Apple's own Safari/Webkit engine into a different app - they weren't truly independent browsers.
When Opera announced its plan to submit an iPhone version of Opera Mini to Apple for App Store consideration, they insisted that they weren't duplicating built-in functionality since they feel that Opera's functionality is different from Safari's - but nonetheless, many people perceived this action as Opera offering Apple an app with the potential to be very popular, and essentially daring Apple to reject it.
Well, Opera today announced its popular mobile browser, Opera Mini has been approved for iPhone and iPod touch on the App Store. Opera Mini will be available as a free download within 24 hours, depending on market. (The US version is available now.)
Opera Mini, with more than 50 million users worldwide, enables fast mobile Web browsing by compressing data by up to 90 percent before sending content to the device, resulting in significantly improved page loading. Users of the app will notice an uptake in speed, especially on slower networks such as the 2G Edge network. Surfing the Web with the Opera Mini App on iPhone and iPod touch will also help users save money because of its data compression capabilities. This will hold especially true while the user is incurring roaming charges.
The initial release of the Opera Mini App has some rough edges, but it definitely shows great potential, not only to become a great browser but maybe even to force the App Store approval process to become fairer and less monopolistic.