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Apple greenlights third-party iPhone browsers

updated 09:25 am EST, Wed January 14, 2009

3rd-party iPhone browsers

A slate of new third-party web browsers has unexpectedly appeared at the App Store, reports indicate. The browsers were all published within a short space of time, and include titles such as the 99-cent WebMate, which queues up multiple links without switching to them, and the $1.99 Incognito, which deliberately omits any history tracking. Apple has not made any special notice of the software's existence.

The apps' presence remains significant however, as Apple has traditionally rejected third-party browsers at the App Store, accusing them of "duplicating functionality" offered by Safari. The approval of simple browsers may potentially pave the way for more comprehensive Safari alternatives, such as Opera Mini, or a mobile version of Firefox. An iPhone version of Opera Mini has already been completed, in fact, but has sat in limbo for months due to Apple's official restrictions.

by MacNN Staff



  1. kdogg73

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Madness Method

    It's easier to loosen the reins than it is to tighten them. Apple's strict control over the app store is to protect the consumer. Maybe the browser restrictions wasn't so much frivolous feature dup law as it was part of research of phone performance. I expect the future to continue with more options as competition keeps the heat on. The users will benefit.

  1. beyere

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Could this signal the future availability of Flash on the iPhone?

  1. exca1ibur

    Joined: Dec 1969


    RE: Flash?

    God, I hope not.

  1. gskibum3

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Maybe we will finally get a browser that isn't so darn crash happy as Safari.

  1. afaby

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Flash

    Considering how sluggish Safari seems to render regular HTML, I can only imagine how slow it would be while loading Flash. No thanks.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Madness method

    Right, it was all part of research. But apps to pretend you're using a light saber, or pretend you're drinking a beer, or one to make cheap f*** sounds, those don't need research or performance checks. But a browser. Yes, I can see where Apple would need to investigate those fully before allowing any new ones in.

  1. Dez

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I'm guessing these apps use Webkit to do the rendering, which make it easier for Apple to accept. If I'm right, then the existence of these do not suggest Opera and Firefox will follow.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Yep Webkit based...

    Yeps. right on about webkit.. so essentially themed safari... I hate safari. Crash happy is right... Can't wait for my Pre to come in, or Jobs to let my iPhone off of his leash.

  1. macuserssmelllikebum

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Oh please!!

    More farting apps!! I just can't get enough...

    15000 apps, sounds great. 90% s***, not so great. While I appreciate the fun and games associated with the iTouch devices, if I want to play games I use my PSP or DS. Give me apps to make my device, and therefore me, more productive and useful. If a new browser is better, then dammit Apple, get out of my way. I'm busy!! Bring on the mobile Firefox, bring on something to work with MS Office files like XLS and DOC. Why not let me edit a PDF on here? Come on!! Bring it!!

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