Two years after Opera first attempted to get their browser on the iPhone, and it's here. Sort of. Wired UK has seen it, gushed over it, and proclaimed it as being fast, yet missing that all-important pinch-to-zoom.
Instead, users have to adopt the double-tap method to zoom in on web pages, which will be a sore point for iPhone owners I'm sure - although Wired says, "we didn't find ourselves missing the feature at all".
"Scrolling through webpages is silky smooth, with nary a glitch or stutter regardless of the size of the page. The interface is instantaneously responsive as well, just as you'd expect from the iPhone."
Unlike Opera on other platforms, such as Symbian, the iPhone version actually remembers which website you were browsing last - it's not news to non-Opera users, but the legion of fans will obviously want that feature incorporated on their phones.
While the hands-on experience seems to be overwhelmingly positive, they do acknowledge that there's a good chance Apple will never allow it onto the App Store. It's seen as a competitor to Safari, yet Opera told Wired "we are confident that Opera Mini will meet the requirements", due to issues with their compression technology not rendering "rich, content-heavy documents like Safari does", and because it doesn't render HTML, instead using "a custom binary representation of the website".
It sounds like they're saying it could co-exist quite comfortably with Safari on the iPhone, with the user choosing between the two based on what site they want to visit. Until Apple actually allows Opera onto their handset though, this is just the stuff of dreams sadly. [Wired UK]