Opera's iPad-only Coast browser gets 2.0 release

Opera has rolled out a new version Coast, its tab-less, URL bar-free browser for the iPad.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Norway's Opera has updated its iPad-only browser Coast, adding a few music and reader features that enhance its promise as browser for leisure.

Three months after launching Coast for the iPad, Opera has released a new version of the app, which ditched the URL bar and tabs and ushered in touch and gestures in place of the usual 'back' and 'forward' buttons.

While most of the recent updates to Coast have ironed out bugs in version one, "Coast 2.0" delivers several new features that play to "lean-back" browsing that it has been highlighting for Coast and Opera for Android tablets.

New features in Coast include the ability to change the background image of the homescreen, previously limited to a generic image of the New York skyline. Users can select their own image or one from Opera's catalogue.

The new Coast also comes with better iBooks and PDF integration, allowing the user to open files from the browser in iBooks, other PDF readers or Dropbox.

Playing to its credentials as a leisure browser, Opera has added music visualisation to its home screen so that when a page is opened that plays music it displays a graphic equaliser in the website's icon. Opera also says music delivered through a web page can be controlled from the iOS lock screen.

According to Opera, the new version brings faster page swiping and improved tile detection. Opera introduced tiles based on a website's icon as a way to replace tabs, but the icons rely on websites adding a few lines of HTML to suits its standard image size for web apps.

Opera also flags changes to Coast's security engine (now based iOS 7 JavaScriptCore), which the company uses to provide security information instead of what it deems "obscure symbols", such as the padlock that appears in Safari on iOS for HTTPS sites. Users can check such details by clicking on the "i" icon. Opera employs its own symbols for unsafe sites in the form of a big red and white striped cross splashed across such pages. 

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