Mozilla is finally bringing Firefox over to iOS

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Despite initially opposing the idea of releasing Firefox on iOS because of Apple’s requirement that third-party browsers to use its own JavaScript engine and WebKit framework, it looks like Mozilla can no longer ignore how popular iPhones are. The organization has released the first public preview of Firefox for iOS, which is currently limited to users in New Zealand but will eventually expand to other countries before it fully launches later this year. 

What a difference two years makes. You may recall, back in 2013, a SXSW round table where then vice president of product at Mozilla, Jay Sullivan, made it pretty clear that the Firefox browser would not appear on iOS as its rendering and JavaScript engines wouldn’t work on the platform. Mozilla blinked first in the distinctly one-sided standoff, and within a year had changed its tune. Mozilla’s then release manager Lukas Blakk backtracked in a tweet last December, accepting that his company had to “be where our users are”. The culmination of that plan is here. Well, if you’re in New Zealand it is – if not, it’s “nearly here”. In a blog post, Mozilla has detailed the limited preview of Firefox for iPhone, which the company plans to “extend to a few more countries prior to a full public launch,” which should come “later this year”. So what is the purpose of the test? Mozilla is particularly interested in three features: “Intelligent Search”, “Firefox Accounts” and “Visual Tabs”.

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