Over the past few days, Apple has approved a handful of 3rd party web browsing applications for the iPhone. A number of these new web browsing apps have suddenly appeared with original submission dates ranging as far back as October.

      While Apple has made no official statements, it appears that these applications were likely in a special queue awaiting approval. We have seen other similar “groups” experience delays in being approved as well. The most notable example involved flatulence applications such as Pull My Finger and iFart Mobile. Once Apple decided to allow the category within the App Store, a backlog of apps quickly appeared. Web browsing applications were previously charged with “duplicating functionality” of other iPhone apps and this was felt to be the reason why Opera would never be approved by Apple.

A partial list of these new applications include:

  • Hot Browser (free) – As well as being a normal web browser, it also incorporates a fun little “shake” action to randomly take you to a fun and popular website(when it works).
  • Shaking Web ($1.99) – adds a sophisticated algorithm to compensate for small hand shaking to allow for easier reading.
  • Incognito ($1.99) – Now you can browse without leaving a history of any kind. Simply close the browser and the entire session is erased without a trace. Useful if you want to get rid of your browsing history without losing the URL auto-completion.
  • WebMate:Tabbed Browser ($0.99) – Web Mate simplifies browsing by queuing up all the links you click on, then allowing you to view them one by one when you’re ready.

     Now these are by no means replacements for the, just a few fun and useful tools. This could open the door for mobile versions of prominent web browsers such as Opera and Firefox, though there remain other SDK restrictions that could prevent full-featured versions of those browsers from ever appearing. Still, Apple appears to be loosening some early restrictions they had applied to the App Store approval process.

Partial sources thanks to Macrumors