Apple has now approved the Opera Mini web browser for sale in the iPhone App Store. Operas mobile browser was previously available for Symbian, Android, Blackberry, Windows mobile and other phones capable of running Java ME applications. However the iPhone does not support Java, prompting Opera Software to rewrite the application specifically for the iPhone as they have done for other devices which do not support Java.

While this move would appear to be a reversal of Apples position on complete 3rd party web browsers on the iPhone, this will not be the first “web browser” to appear in the App Store. Other developers have produced web browsers for the iPhone that use custom interfaces while deferring Javascript execution and page rendering to the OS itself by relying on the WebKit rendering engine.

What makes Opera Mini significant for the App Store is that it represents, as far as I can tell, the first web browser accepted for sale which does not use Apples WebKit engine for rendering, but rather offloads that job to Operas servers, where pages are rendered and compressed for transmission to a users device. This speeds page load times, saves on data transfer costs, and makes it possible to use technologies on the web which are not officially supported on a device.

Opera Mini should be available in the App Store within the next 24 hours.Opera Mini is now available in the U.S. App Store.

About Opera Software

a Norwegian software company, primarily known for its Opera family of web browsers. Opera Software is also involved in promoting Web standards through participation in the W3C. The company has its headquarters in Oslo, Norway, and is listed on Oslo Stock Exchange. The company also has offices in Sweden, Poland, People’s Republic of China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Czech Republic and the United States.