Updated: 5/27/2010 at 10:10am PT with a few more details that redirect some of our speculation.
Well, this is interesting. On Wednesday, Mozilla gave us a heads-up that it was releasing an iPhone app that would "let Firefox users open their favorite Web sites on their iPhones." We assumed this mystery app would be similar to the Opera Mini browser, which dives through a loophole in Apple's notoriously restrictive non-compete clause that keeps developers from supplanting the Safari browser.
Instead of going the proxy browser route, as Opera Mini does, Mozilla's forthcoming app, Firefox Home for iPhone, is based on Mozilla's sync technology. Firefox Sync--previously Weave Sync--lets Web surfers carry over their history, bookmarks, and open tabs across computers and smartphones. The addition of the self-dubbed "Awesome" URL bar in Firefox Home should fast-track the search for sites by remembering your previous and automatically saved searches, even those typed into, say, your desktop browser.
Firefox Home for iPhone presents an intriguing twist on the problem of Apple's SDK. Rather than trying to create an exact replica of the Firefox browser on the iPhone, Mozilla is offering a window to your open Firefox tabs, and an encrypted one at that. A Mozilla spokesperson confirmed that Firefox Home is not a proxy browser. Rather, the app will launch pages in either a Webkit Web viewer or in Safari.
While Mozilla hasn't yet submitted Firefox Home for iPhone to the App Store, it's interesting to see Mozilla adopt the Webkit route to bring its brand, if not its own version of open-source browser technology, to the iPhone.
If accepted, Firefox Home will follow Opera Mini as one of the well-known browser brands to hit Apple's device. We expected to see Skyfire jump into the App Store first, especially in light of Skyfire announcing this past April its intention to follow Opera Mini's example just a day after Opera Mini emerged for iPhone. Skyfire promises to streaming Flash video through its proxy servers, but so far we've only seen Skyfire's video-streaming browser
operational on Android.