For such a long time Mozilla rejected the idea an iOS version of its Firefox browser, mainly because Apple, as far as Mozilla was concerned, placed unacceptable restrictions on the way it wanted to build its mobile browser.
But with so many iPhones and iPads out there, the group could never really ignore the platform, and when the arrival of iOS 8
offered new possibilities, the group last year decided the time was right to start knocking something together.
In fact, the first public preview is already here – if you happen to live in New Zealand.
In a seemingly tentative but perfectly understandable step toward its goal of releasing Firefox for Apple devices, Mozilla on Thursday offered its first public preview to iPhone and iPad users in the Pacific nation, population 4.5 million.
Commenting on the move in a blog post this week, Mozilla said the aim is to “create a great browsing experience for iOS with Firefox,” adding, “With this first public preview we will be collecting feedback in one country, before we extend availability to get feedback in a few more countries prior to a full public launch.”
It said the responses will enable it to build and refine new features before launching the software for iOS users in the rest of the world some time “later this year.”
If you’re unhappy with your current crop of iOS browsers – Safari, Opera Mini, Chrome, and Dolphin among them – then sign up here and Mozilla will let you know precisely when it’s available.
Oh, and if you happen to be in New Zealand and you’re already trying out the first public release of Firefox for Apple’s mobile devices, what do you make of it?