May 24, 2024
Opera to launch new AI-powered browser for iOS in Europe following Apple's DMA changes

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Opera revealed today that it will launch a new AI-powered browser built on its own engine for iOS in Europe. The Norway-based company announced the change following the news that Apple is going to allow alternative browser engines to run on iOS as a result of the requirements of the European Digital Markets Act (DMA). The changes will allow developers to offer browsers that are not based on the WebKit browser engine.

Apple currently requires third-party browsers to use WebKit, which is the same browser engine that underpins its own Safari browser. In order to comply with the DMA, Apple will begin allowing developers to submit non-WebKit-based browsers, for both web browser apps and for developers offering in-app browsers for displaying web pages within their iOS apps.

Opera says the changes will allow it to provide iPhone users with an AI-powered alternative to Safari.

“As the leading European browser developer, we embrace the changes introduced through the DMA, aimed at fostering competition and offering users a more diverse selection of browsers on iOS,” said Jørgen Arnesen, EVP Mobile at Opera, in a statement. “We intend to deliver on this with the AI-centric Opera One for iOS. Furthermore, we are excited to see the confirmation that Apple will also implement a browser choice screen for iOS, making it easier for users to choose their favorite browser as default also on their mobile devices.”

Arnesen went on to note that Opera is “very excited about the new interoperability request form Apple announced, that will allow developers to submit additional requests for interoperability with iPhone and iOS hardware and software features.”

The new browser is expected to debut in March, which is when the DMA is going to kick in. Given that the changes are only being applied in the European Union, Opera said in a press release that it “strongly encourages Apple to implement these augmented freedoms to iOS users around the globe.”

Opera did not provide any further details about the upcoming browser, but said it will soon be announcing a “major investment” in a key AI infrastructure project in Europe.

Last year, Opera introduced its “Aria” browser AI and redesigned its flagship desktop browser and called it Opera One, which will also be the name of the new iOS browser. At the time, Opera said the new browser has elements that will make it ready for a “generative AI-based future.”

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