Hell freezes over: Apple allows third party browsers on iPhone

Hell freezes over: Apple allows third party browsers on iPhone

Summary: Yesterday Apple began approving third party Web browsers for distribution via the iTunes App Store reports MacRumors. Previously to this sudden about-face iPhone Web browsers wanting to compete with Mobile Safari, Apple's bundled and pre-docked Web browser, were considered off limits because they "duplicated functionality" already on the iPhone.

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Yesterday Apple began approving third party Web browsers for distribution via the iTunes App Store reports MacRumors. Previously to this sudden about-face iPhone Web browsers wanting to compete with Mobile Safari, Apple's bundled and pre-docked Web browser, were considered off limits because they "duplicated functionality" already on the iPhone.

Some of the new browsers available in the App Store include:

- Edge Browser (Free) - No loss of screen real estate to the address or navigation bars. - Incognito ($1.99) - Now you can browse without leaving a history of any kind. - WebMate:Tabbed Browser ($0.99) - Web Mate simplifies browsing by queuing up all the links you click on, then allowing you to view them one by one when you're ready. - Shaking Web ($1.99) - adds a sophisticated algorithm to compensate for small hand shaking to allow for easier reading.

MacRumors notes that this is the second major shift in Apple's approval policy for iPhone software. The first was last month's admittance of flatulence applications (i.e. Pull My Finger and iFart Mobile) that were previously denied entry due to “limited utility.”

Now that the backlog of Web browsers is starting to appear where are the two heavyweights, Opera and Firefox? What's next? Microsoft Office for iPhone? Amazon MP3? Don't hold your breath.

What app do you really wish Apple would allow into the App Store?

Topics: iPhone, Apple, Browser, Mobility

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20 comments
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  • They had to budge eventually

    I'd say they finally realized how much developer backlash and defection was happening due to their anti-competitive(1) behavior with 3rd party iPhone apps.

    But this may be a partial about-face, because I haven't heard any news about apps like Podcaster or MailWrangler get approved.

    (1) Apple fans, please keep in mind anti-competitive is [b]not[/b] the same as monopolistic. You don't have to be a monopoly to block competitive innovations.
    Tony Agudo
  • Flash?

    Anything but flash, apparently
    paulaaa2
  • It's just the SAME BROWSER, nothing new

    Nothing to get excited over.

    These are not third party browsers. They're just simple apps using the Safari HTML component inside their window.

    Ho hum on any phone. Have you never seen a tabbed pocket IE app on WinMo before?
    kdarling
  • Like anyone would use them.....

    Most iPhone users will not use these as they will always use the Apple product over any other even if it is better. I wouldn't be developing a browser for anything Apple, its just not fruitful really. Heck almost any software Apple includes on their devices is almost a waste of time to develop since the macheads will always use Apple's product. Its a crapshot if you do.
    OhTheHumanity
    • I wouldn't say that

      Almost every iphone owner I know doesn't have a Mac computer at all, and most of them have jail broken their iphones.
      Suicida|
      • I have no Mac's

        I'm strictly a PC user and don't have the need for any Mac's. And I would use Amazon MP3 in a heartbeat, cheaper prices most of the time and at higher bit rate and no DRM. I can't even remember the last time I bought anything from iTunes store.
        nothingness
        • iTMS music is now DRM free.

          It's also a better encode than Amazon (256 bkit AAC).

          Having said that, it's still not worth 20 more cents.
          nix_hed
    • I use a Mac...but I made it myself.

      While the nightly build of WebKit is my current browser
      (think Safari's alpha or beta), and the iLife suite and Final
      Cut Studio are my media creation and management
      programs, that's really about it. Also, the only Apple
      hardware I currently own are a MacBook Pro, Wireless
      Keyboard, and Mighty Mouse.

      I use Microsoft Office for what you would use Microsoft
      Office for. I have iWork installed, but I don't use it that
      much.

      I use Adobe products for touching up my photos instead of
      iPhoto or Aperture. I still use iPhoto to manage my picture
      collections, however.

      I also have Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and the 7 Beta
      installed in VMWare Fusion, instead of using BootCamp or
      Parallel's Desktop (which is Apple's preferred virtualization
      software). I don't have anything Apple installed inside of
      the virtual machines, except drivers for the webcam and
      bluetooth on the XP virtual machine on the wife's laptop.

      My router is a Linksys WRT54G. I've thought about buying
      an AirPort Extreme since my wife has a MacBook Pro, but I
      don't need it yet.

      My Mac is...home built. I used InsanelyMac's hardware
      guide to put something together, and it works beautifully.
      It was also cheaper for what I have to build it myself than a
      comparable iMac (3.0 Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, GeForce
      8800 GT) and I have a larger HDTV instead of a 24"
      monitor.
      nix_hed
    • I own an iPhone...

      ... that is jailbroken - one jailbroken by quickpwn on my Dell XPS 400 (not a mac or even using mac-emulation software) running Windows XP SP3. Most of the people I know that have iPhones also own wintel machines or even one of each. As for the browsers, I'm waiting (not holding my breath BTW) for Firefox to be available in the app store. I'm NOT paying for what is essentially a safari redux. Don't get me wrong I do like safari but I like Firefox much better for a variety of reasons.

      You are of course going to have your diehard Apple/ Mac fanbois just like you have the diehard wintel kool aid drinkers - and each camp is going to stick to their brand but to paint the majority of iPhone users with that broad brush is just not accurate.

      I am happy to see a bit of softening of Apple's stance concerning 3rd party apps that have the same functionality as their own in house apps - I just hope that trend continues and expands to eventually include the ability to change themes within the official sanctioned OS as well as being able to use major browsers such as Firefox or Opera.
      athynz
  • RE: Hell freezes over: Apple allows third party browsers on iPhone

    Surfing the web without Flash?!? One of the iPhones best features ("Full Browser Support")gets stuck in the mud without this important plug-in?
    EgoDust
  • Need plugin like flash, if it takes new browser so be it

    Do any of the new browsers add plugins or features like flv support?

    Of course I would prefer cut and paste, common functionality that existed in almost all platforms created since oh, Xerox Parc.
    Osiramon1
  • RE: Hell freezes over: Apple allows third party browsers on iPhone

    I'm waiting for IE for iPhone. IE will dominate another platform! [malware to follow!]
    Gis Bun
  • RE: Hell freezes over: Apple allows third party browsers on iPhone

    I want two things - the impossible, specifically. Firefox and Flash. Until recently I was under the DELUSION that the iPhone had MUCH more RAM than it actually does (which is probably *why* Apple doesn't allow Flash or even Flash Lite on it). 40mb of RAM for $600? (Original price, mind you). Good god...
    khorsia
  • Microsoft could easily do an Office Mobile for iPhone/iTouch right now

    and Apple would let them. That's just on Microsoft to
    decide if they want the Windows Office team or the Mac
    Unit to do it.

    As far as other software goes, I'd like to see MSIE for
    iPhone/iTouch as well (which is something I'll probably
    never say again), since there are still a lot of webapps in
    the corporate world that only work with the MSIE engine.
    I'm sure a Gecko-based browser and an Opera-based
    browser will also make it to iPhone/iTouch.

    I'd also like to see additional mail apps, like an Outlook (or
    Entourage) for iPhone/iTouch.
    nix_hed
  • Flash???? Really????

    Flash is a festering pus oozing wound of malware and virii....

    While there isn't a "real" virus yet for any mac, (nor are there any real trojans)... There are exploits and attacks that use social engineering to trick mac users into installing bad software... But the iPhone is locked tight as far as that goes.

    Flash is the number one choice for those devient @ss clowns right now. Adobe needs to do some serious work on patching security or rewrite the code. Currently, anyone with flash on thier website is a fool.

    Just because Apple is allowing other browsers, it doesn't mean flash will install.... I don't see any company with a brain looking to add flash to any device. And no one with a brain would design a web site that doesn't reach maximum compatibility with non flash browsers....

    Surfing the web without flash is a good thing... It's like watching TV without comercials.
    i8thecat
    • Geeze.. Going overboard, are we?

      [b]Flash is the number one choice for those devient @ss clowns right now. Adobe needs to do some serious work on patching security or rewrite the code. Currently, anyone with flash on their website is a fool. [/b]

      So.. That would include pretty much EVERY web site around that has any sort of advertising on it. Including ZDNet. DOH!

      [b]<snip>I don't see any company with a brain looking to add flash to any device. And no one with a brain would design a web site that doesn't reach maximum compatibility with non flash browsers.... [/b]

      You're talking out your back end here guy... As I mentioned above, Flash is heavily used in advertising on web sites. As such, web site operators want to have advertising - as in many cases, it's their SOLE form of income. As such, there's a few BILLION reasons why Flash is something that can be useful. (Dollars, that is..)

      Secondly, there ARE plenty of web sites that can ONLY reach their maximum potential with Flash.

      http://www.rockstargames.com - home of the GTA series, Bully, and a number of other games is pretty much entirely done in Flash.

      http://www.coraline.com is a site dedicated to a new movie coming soon from the guys who did The Nightmare Before Christmas that is likewise pretty much 98% Flash based. The downloads page is done in HTML.

      The list goes on. The bottom line - Flash is a fairly ubiquitous technology. The fact that unscrupulous douche bags have glommed onto the technology is a testament to that. That Adobe should be working double time to fix the potential issues - I agree, with that 100%. But to say it should never be used, that's just going way overboard.
      Wolfie2K3
      • Get a clue....

        "So.. That would include pretty much EVERY web site around that has any sort of advertising on it. Including ZDNet. DOH!"

        Get a clue dude... Not all sites use flash and not all advertising uses it either. Yeah, the sites that do can be easily owned and are contributing to the problem... There was advertising on the web way before flash jumped into that arena... Advertising is not locked into flash, nor are games locked into it. There is also a reason that some browsers have built in flash blockers and settings to ignore or not allow flash. Flash is seriously flawed in it's current state.

        "Secondly, there ARE plenty of web sites that can ONLY reach their maximum potential with Flash."

        Really... You list a flash based game site as one of those??? Duh.... Kinda goes without saying.... Makes me wonder... does your career primarily revolve around flash? Did you put all your eggs in the wrong basket? News flash for you (pun intended)... Flash is not required.. There are other formats they can use to create thier lameware games and do advertising.

        "The bottom line - Flash is a fairly ubiquitous technology. The fact that unscrupulous douche bags have glommed onto the technology is a testament to that. That Adobe should be working double time to fix the potential issues."

        So It's all up to Adobe? And if your PC get infected... It's adobe's fault... Adobe should have to fix your PC... Hmmm... Insert the word Herpes for Flash and Medical Science for Adobe your statement works just as well....

        Herpes is ?fairly? ubiquitous... The Studies all prove that. Medical Science should be working double time to fix it... But that doesn't mean we all sit around and don't use caution. And yet some unscrupulous douche bag, knowing he or she has Herpes, will probably have sex with someone else and never tell them... Thus spreading the joy even further.

        Those unscrupulous douche bags are counting on you to do exactly what you are doing.... Nothing but sitting there and claiming Flash is "fairly ubiquitous", followed by, "Hmm... Adobe better do something to fix that, Flash is necessary to lame game programmers and advertising."

        If people stop using Flash, the "unscrupulous douche bags" will have to try something else. Adobe will get the picture a little faster and the "unscrupulous douche bags" will have a far fewer victims. Less money and sucess for them, less harm to the rest of us. I'd rather chalk that extra point to the rest of us.

        If you want to try some lame rationale about money and the economics of advertising, you can stop.. Companies will still advertise if Flash falls by the wayside and the dollars will continue to flow... A child could figure that one out.
        i8thecat
    • Flash fud

      "Flash is the number one choice for those devient @ss clowns right now."

      Apparently the world of streaming video including Google disagree's with you. But go ahead live in your Quicktime dreams.

      Kidding aside, just having a browser, email and network connectivity on a device opens it up for vulnerability. The Iphone has all 3 of those things. If the Pre comes with flash support and more I'm sure Apple will follow.
      jimk_z
      • Get it straight

        "just having a browser, email and network connectivity on a device opens it up for vulnerability. The Iphone has all 3 of those things."

        The iPhone is running OS X... Not windows Mobile... Again.. It is also locked down fairly tight.... It's not running an Exchange client... So you are dead wrong... It is not like other devices and it's not vulnerable like that.
        i8thecat
  • Pre effect

    Between the Pre and potentially Android pressure is on to open up. Always requires force of competition.
    jimk_z