Apple is now allowing its users to use web browsers other than Safari on the iPhone, in a move that will almost surely trigger the launch of major mobile browsers - Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Opera - for the iPhone.
The Cupertino-based position on the issue has been to block applications that provide with a set of features similar to Apple applications that came by default with the popular touchscreen smartphone.
Some of the new browsers that are available include the Free Edge Browser, Incognito, Shaking Web, Webmate:tabbed browser with the last three available for as little as $0.99.
Macrumours, who broke the news, notes that it is likely that these browsers were approved as a group batch; it is also worth noting that these browsers are based on Apple's Safari - basically a glorified skin.
Apple would need to remove SDK restrictions to allow other developers to code completely different browsers for the iPhone platform; and that might not happen right now.
What's the hidden agenda here? We believe that it is a way for Apple to divide and conquer. By allowing coders other than its own to develop pseudo browsers for Safari, it reduces the need for alternative browsers like Mozilla or Opera. Does that mean that we will not see any other browsers on the iPhone? Only time will tell.
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Back in September 2008, Apple rejected an app called Podcaster because it it duplicates the functionality of the Podcast section of iTunes as it assists the distribution of podcasts; another app, Mailwrangler suffered the same fate as Apple said that "Your application duplicates the functionality of the built-in iPhone application Mail without providing sufficient differentiation or added functionality, which will lead to user confusion"