Our man Thomas Ricker was just wondering how long it would take before Apple determined the fate of Opera Mini for iPhone, and we've got some good news -- it's been approved and will be available for free on the App Store within 24 hours! Can't say we were expecting that, since non-Safari-based browsers have typically been verboten from Apple's little kingdom, but we're certainly happy to be surprised. We'll do up a full hands-on when we see it in the store, but for now check the demo video after the break.
Update: We're getting reports that UK and Australian readers are already able to download and enjoy this surprising little addition to the app store -- be sure to give this iTunes link a shot and see if it works in your region, mmkay?
Update 2: We just got our hands on Opera Mini for the iPhone, and the first thing we noticed is, in fact, how fast it renders pages. When we open the app, we are quickly introduced to the default Opera Screen, with links to Facebook, Twitter and the like. Opening a new tab is a single touch and loading virtually any homepage is quick. While scrolling through the loaded page, some images don't fully render until you stop over them. Multitouch is enabled to some extent -- you can pinch to zoom, and double tapping only fully zooms in and out, with really no inbetween. Something else we noticed that we'd been looking for in OS 4, is the ability to Find in Page. It works really well, and the words being searched are highlighted for an easy find. This browser totally kicks safari out of the water, and we're definitely looking forward to updates for Opera Mini.
Update 3: It looks to be live in the US now! Hit up that iTunes link and go wild!