After becoming the first non-webkit based browser to be approved on the iOS App Store, Opera has also become the first non-native browser to be available on the Mac App Store. However, there is a catch. You have to be above seventeen to download it from the App Store. Opera has been categorized as an age restricted download due to “frequent/intense mature/suggestive themes”, to use Apple’s words. Of course, given that Opera is simply a web browser, it should be obvious to any sane person just how ridiculous Apple’s categorization is.
Although insane, this bit of news isn’t exactly surprising. It has been Apple’s long standing policy to categorise any app that allows access to the internet as an age-restricted download, as it’s possible to browse adult themed websites with such apps. Apple had earlier classified Opera Mini for iPhone as a porn app due to the same reason. Of course, every Apple operating system ships with Safari pre-installed, and Safari can also be used to open any website on the interwebs. To be honest, the entire thing reeks of double standard, but being fair isn’t exactly Apple’s strongest suit. In fact, it’s almost unreasonable to expect that from a high-handed company like Apple.
Opera Software reacted to the classification in its characteristically funny way. Jan Standal, VP of Desktop Products for Opera Software, expressed his concern by saying that, “Seventeen is very young, and I am not sure if, at that age, people are ready to use such an application. It’s very fast, you know, and it has a lot of features. I think the download requirement should be at least 18.”
One of the reasons why Opera might not be complaining is because they might be pleased to get approved in the first place. Opera for desktop includes an inbuilt torrent downloader that makes torrent downloading so simple that even my grandma could do it. In the past, App Store reviewers haven’t been too kind to torrent clients, given that Apple views torrents as a vehicle for infringing third party rights.
If you are a Mac user under seventeen, you can always download Opera from the official website, where no one will ask you to furnish your credit card information just to download a free web browser.