Mozilla Firefox launched on Nov. 11 and now all iPhone, iPad or iPod owners running iOS 8.2 or newer can use the popular Internet browser on their devices.
The Cupertino-based company made a habit of releasing its products in several testing phases. That is why Firefox for iOS came out earlier this year in New Zealand, as a first testing ground. The reason for choosing this particular country lies in its limited population whose first language is English.
Although Mozilla initially planned for a gradual expansion, the company ultimtely chose to send Firefox directly to global iOS users, launching the app via the Apple App Store.
Firefox for iOS brings a number of interesting features. With Intelligent Search, users receive suggestions on the search results as well as choices and shortcuts on search providers. If you want to handle a few browser tabs, you can do so easily with Visual Tabs without leaving the main screen. Mozilla loyalists who have a desktop brimming with bookmarks, passwords and important browser history can take that info and bring it to their Apple gadget. Private Browsing does exactly what is expected from it, allowing for anonymous web surfing and recording no browsing history while blocking cookies of visited sites.
In spite of this being the first iteration of Firefox to reach the iOS ecosystem, Mozilla claims that its browsing software will evolve significantly. The developers focus their full energy to delivering "new features" to those who choose Firefox over the competition.
This is a big step for the company, which turned 180 degrees from its former position. In 2013, Mozilla refused to build an iOS version of Firefox because Apple did not permit Firefox to function on its proprietary rendering engine. Gecko, Mozilla's own rendering engine would be discarded in Firefox for iOS and replaced by Apple's renderer.
The fact that Firefox for Android checked 100 million downloads over four years convinced the executives at Mozilla to tap into the popular rival platform, but the competition for browser fidelity on mobile devices remains fierce. Google Chrome and Opera are strong competitors, Opera even more so in developing countries due to its famed data compression technology.
It remains to be seen if Apple fans will renounce using the Safari browser that comes embedded with the iPad and iPhone and go with Firefox for iOS instead.