Mozilla, a non-profit organization behind the Firefox browser, is prototyping a brand new web browser for Apple’s iPad.

It’s called Junior and aims to replace a “miserable Safari experience” with “something entirely new”, an app which looks to “reinvent the browser for a new form factor”

These bold claims are credited to Mozilla’s Alex Limi who demoed the prototype app during Mozilla’s Product Design Strategy team meeting this past Thursday.

While Mozilla is unable to bring Firefox’s rendering platform called Gecko to iOS due to Apple-imposed restrictions (all third-party web browsers must use WebKit) and only has a Firefox syncing app available on the App Store, it says Junior’s innovation is its minimalism.

According to The Verge, and confirmed in a blog post by Mozilla, Junior is “an iPad browser that makes browsing more fun, more ergonomic and re-thinks browser user experience from the ground up”.

This entails a couple of interesting design trade offs. For example, Junior has no tabs and instead focuses on a full-screen experience.

Rather than sticking an address bar (and tabs) at the top of the app, Junior’s predominant user interface consists of two buttons placed about a third the way up the iPad’s screen.

First is a back arrow, and that does exactly what you’ve come to expect. On the right side of the screen is a plus symbol, and that’s how you’ll be interacting with the browser most often.

Tap the plus symbol and you can do three things: access recent pages at the top, visit your favorites/bookmarks or bring up a unified search/URL bar at the bottom.


Blurry screenshots? Talk to CNET.

Another useful feature: swipe to the left to access a password-protected login menu supporting multiple accounts (useful for sharing iPad with family members) and other things like private browsing.

The browser is still rough around the edges and it wasn’t immediately clear when Mozilla intends on shipping the final version.

Check out Mozilla’s quick video walkthrough right below.

Yahoo recently released an iOS browser called Axis and Google is rumored to be at work developing a native Chrome experience on the iPad. A popular Android browser called Dolphin got ported to iOS last August, offering a smooth experience and a host of interesting features.

Apple of course isn’t standing still either. The company unveiled several Safari enhancements in iOS 6. For example, Safari in iOS 6 feels a lot zippier compared to iOS 5.

It also supports media uploads and brings a number of little tweaks, like full-screen browsing in landscape, iCloud Tabs that auto-sync open tabs across devices, Offline Reading List and Smart App Banners that act as subtle reminders that a website you’re visiting has a native iOS app available.

For more on Safari in iOS 6, check out Jeff’s video demonstration.

And if you’re still wondering what else is new in iOS 6, make sure to check out our laundry list of enhancements in iOS 6.

Is Safari too good for your iOS browsing needs?

We’d love to hear about your favorite Safari alternatives down in the comments.

  • maurid

    It sucks.

  • M_AlO

    I think Safari is awesome, best web browser for the iPad. And the best third party web browser is Dolphin.

  • sjah07

    I used Dolphin for several months after it was reviewed here last year, but then after updates made it increasingly slow and buggy I switched back to using Safari (gasp!), this time with the FSS (FullScreen for Safari) jailbreak tweak installed.

    • you soon could get rid of that you can do fullscreen in iOS 6!!!

      • sjah07

        If it is still compatible in iOS 6 I think I’ll keep it because I really enjoy the gestures support. (double tap to close, etc)

  • i bet safari in ios 6 is way better with all those cloud tabs etc…………..and for the record…………mozilla u guys seriously suck in presentation compared to apple……………….

    • totally agree, safari is way better than firefox mobile

  • DomPerignon1

    It was about time to have.
    Anything is better than Safari. Dolphin is a lot of fun but this one looks very interesting.

  • Winski

    IF this version is anything like Firefox Regular, RUN AS FAR AWAY as you can get from this piece of junk. As soon as the Moziller guys started thinking that releasing something every four weeks or so regardless of whether it’s broken or not, the quality of ANYTHING that comes out of the Moziller group IS JUNK.

    Don’t waste your time…

  • Falk M.

    “[…]
    For example, Junior has no tabs […]”

    Stopped reading right there.

  • I’m just curious to know when they gonna make a browser that fully support flash, none of these are real flash browser, all a waste of time

  • Dont care really safari is great

  • SimonReidy

    This new browser from Firefox looks like junk. Minimalism can somtimes be another way of saying “no genuinely useful features” and that looks to be the case here.

    Mobile Safari’s a good browser once improved upon by a few jailbreak tweaks and various javascript bookmarklets, but it still lacks a lot of usefull features. I use it on the iPhone for quickly looking up things, but on the iPad its too lacking.

    I like a few alternative browsers on the App Store, but my 3rd party browser of choice is iCab Mobile. After trying nearly every iOS browser out there, I can say that it’s hands down the most feature-packed, customisable browser on iOS. It comes with many-usable selectable plugins, supports downloading, Dropbox, bookmark syncing, user agent faking, interface customisation and hundreds more useful options.

    A handy tip for some people that may not know: If you are jailbroken all good quality 3rd party browsers can be paired with the excellent “browser changer” tweak to make whatever browser you want replace Safari as the default browser (even comes with an SBSettings toggle 🙂 )

  • Well it about time! I definitely love the look of the UI. Way to go Mozilla for bringing a new lighter feel and look to Firefox. Amazing

  • I’m a HUGE FireFox / Mozilla Fan – I would love to have this on my iPad – so, I’m looking forward to seeing it soon!