Opera Software announced Monday that Apple approved an iPhone version of its Opera mini mobile browser. By Monday evening in the US, the free browser was available for download from the App Store.

Back in February, Opera announced that it was completing work on a version of its browser for the iPhone and that it planned to submit it to Apple for approval and distribution. The move was widely seen as risky, since Apple has, in the past, been dodgy on the subject of whether browsers that aren't built on Mobile Safari's underlying technology would be allowed on its iPhone OS platform.

However, Opera Mini had several things going for it: for example, it's not a full-fledged client-side app, relying instead on Opera's own server-side functionality to handle much of the content rendering and manipulation tasks, including interpreting and executing JavaScript code, which would otherwise be against App Store policies.

Opera's announcement that it has submitted the browser to Apple for approval on 23 March was, unsurprisingly, met with a fair amount of skepticism; in a bit of App Store mockery, the company even set up a web page to keep track of the amount of time during which the app had been in the approval process. The final tally: a little less than three weeks.

"We are delighted to offer iPhone and iPod touch users a great browsing experience with the Opera Mini App," said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software. “This app is another step toward Opera's goal of bringing the Web to more people in more places."

A free download, Opera Mini works on all iPhone OS devices running version 2.2.1 of the operating system or higher.

Opera for iPhone

Opera for iPhone