Last Thursday, Mozilla released the first public preview of its brand spanking new version of its Firefox web browser for iOS.
But don’t anybody go diving for the download button just yet….
While the Firefox browser has finally decided to make an appearance on iPads, iPhones, and iPods, unless you happen to be based in New Zealand, you’re out of luck. New Zealand is the only country in the world where Firefox for iOS is currently available.
But if you can hang on just a few months more, then Mozilla hope to have the iOS version of Firefox ready for a worldwide release by December. The not for profit company’s aim is to collect feedback from the Kiwi nation, make improvements, and add some features before the worldwide release.
Aims and features of Firefox for iOS
Mozilla’s primary aim is to create “a great browsing experience for iOS with Firefox.” Anyone feeling a compulsive desire to be in the loop when Firefox for iOS come to your iTunes store can sign up to be notified here.
The preview release available to our Antipodean cousins will be used to gather feedback from three key features, most interesting of which is the “Intelligent Search,” which allows users to enter a search term and then choose from a range of search engines to answer their query.
A dramatic change of heart
It was only 2 years ago that Mozilla rejected the idea of a Firefox browser for iOS unless Apple’s closed iOS environments were made more hospitable for 3rd party software, such as Mozilla’s Firefox. Apple’s strict requirements meant that Mozilla were unable to use their own rendering engine, which was a major sticking point.
The company though signaled it may have changed its mind in an announcement made last December, possibly in reaction to reduced market share on Android powered devices, and desktops.
Firefox for iOS comes just weeks after Mozilla announced that it would be possible to run Chrome “like” extensions in the new version of Firefox, also due out later this year.