Firefox for iPad: What to Expect

In this digital era, people depend on a browser to do a web search, go to any website, which includes accessing one’s most favorite social media site. And when talking about the arena of browsers, Mozilla Firefox is one of the leading options by users. This is because it became a game changer for many internet users when it launched in the early 2000s; Mozilla gave people a new option for accessing the web. It started the tabbed browsing, supported more applications, and just practically gave users a faster and a more secure browsing experience with its feature and Firefox for iPad will be no differtent. And in no-time, it has been embraced by millions of users worldwide.

But from that point until today, a lot of things have already changed in technology and the way people access the internet. Desktop PCs and laptops, which used to be the primary machines for browsing the internet, have been replaced by iPads. People have become more mobile and have relied on their iPads to access the internet, they would most likely prefer to also have a reliable browser for their devices.

And because Firefox had so much following in terms of using desktop PCs and laptops, people would want to know if they can have the Firefox experience on their iPads. Right now, no, not yet. But possibly, in a few months’ time.To-date Mozilla’s only app in the Apple App Store is the “Sync for Firefox” app – which lets users sync bookmarks and history across different devices. Following this trend, people have also been clamoring to have that Firefox for iPad experience on their iPads.

 Expected plans with Firefox for iPad

Plans and features for the Firefox Junior, the touted Mozilla Firefox browser for iPad, have first been talked about in 2012 when Firefox’s executive Alex Limi talked about the prototype the company was building for the iOS. Mozilla Firefox planned to present simplicity and ease of use with the Firefox Junior browser for iPad. This is of course, to attract iPad users to want to have that Firefox experience on their iPads.

In the company’s earlier presentation of the prototype, one of the glaring difference in the Firefox for iPad is the absence of the address bar and tabs, because Mozilla wanted to give iPad users a full-screen browsing experience. Thus, it only has two buttons: the back button and a plus sign button. The back sign would be something familiar to many, the one button people practically use to go to a previous page. Meanwhile, the plus sign button will lead to the other browser functions.

Because the company aimed for simplicity, Mozilla’s Firefox Junior designer has tailored the iPad browser app in a way that the plus button would expand and lead to a multitude of other functions. Mozilla earlier said that the 2012 prototype would have six functions to be included in the plus button, which was not finalized at that time.

In addition, it has also planned a function where a user would be able to create separate user accounts, which would allow 2 persons or more to access one browser app in one iPad, and yet use their own accounts.

In another development into the entry of Firefox to Apple’s iPads, after around two years following the prototype reveal, during December 2014, Mozilla has underscored its need to be on the iOS platform and announced that it is officially working on experiments for it to be available on iPads. Mozilla’s Lukas Blakk has stated in his Twitter account that the company found that it is important for a tech company like them to be “where the users are.”This would only mean that the talked-about Firefox for iPad Junior could possibly on Apple’s App Store this year.


Before the matter: The Mozilla-Apple Story

But while Firefox for iPad is only in its experimenting stage at this point, other browsers such as Chrome or Opera, among the others have been in the App Store for so long now. And most people might be wondering why Mozilla has just decided to jump into the platform just now – around 10 years after Mozilla has launched a revolutionary browser for the PC and around four years after the first iPad has been out in the market – there’s an answer to that.

Firefox for iPad didn’t want to be behind the loop, matter of fact is, they have been continuously releasing newer versions every now and then to provide better browsing experience to their users. Firefox also has an app for Android users and has been giving its users updated versions,too.

But for Mozilla, being on Apple’s App Store and launching Firefox for iPad was a different case altogether. Apple’s iPad was launched in the market in 2010, but in its earlier years, the giant tech company has shunned other browsers to enter its App Store, only allowing users to access the web through Safari and giving less options for its users.

Later on, Apple began allowing third-party browsers into their platform. Other competing browsers to the Safari have made their way to the App Store, and so people thought, Firefox for iPad would be launched, too. However, it did not at that time. And no one has used the browser on their iPads until today.

The reason behind that is, there’s a condition upon Apple’s approval of third-party browsers into their App Store: Apple will only allow third-party apps if the browser will use Apple’s own web engine. This is where Firefox’s entry into the iOS platform had a conflict, because Mozilla wouldn’t allow its browser, Firefox for iPad, to be handled that way. Mozilla’s former CEO Gary Kovacs highlighted that Firefox’s web engine is unique, they wanted to use their own and refused to use Apple’s web engine.

The Apple third-party app condition stands still until today, but it looks like, Mozilla is now going into the Apple direction. So what has changed from then and now? It looks like having a new CEO changes Mozilla’s take on the matter. And if it does, it will be only a matter of time, as avid followers and users of Firefox can have this browsing experience through the Firefox for iPad app.

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