Strange things are afoot at the Circle K, or in this case, the app store. In what some might consider “strange,” several 3rd party web browsing applications for the iPhone were approved by Apple yesterday. The original submission dates for some of those apps go back as far as October. That’s a helluva approval period, right there. I wonder why it took so long…

Odds are that these web browsing apps were awaiting approval in a special queue of some sort that just now got approved. Of course, Apple has made no official announcement – so we don’t really know for sure. Why the sudden approvals? Why the long delay?

This wouldn’t be the first time there was a delay for a group of apps. If you’ll recall, there was a time when the app store was free of fart apps. Then Apple got off it’s high horse and approved the stupid, immature category. And BAM – A half dozen fart apps suddenly appear. Yes… there was a backlog of flatulence apps waiting for approval. (Speaking of fart apps, click here for a full roundup of the available offenders.) Sigh.

What makes this all so surprising is that 3rd party web browsing applications were never expected to see the light of day on our lovely iPhones. Apple claimed that they were “duplicating functionality” of their iPhone apps, thus rejecting them on anti-competitive grounds. (At least, that’s the rumor as to why Opera has never appeared on the iPhone.)

Maybe someday we’ll see our old friend Firefox make it’s iPhone debut. One can dream anyway. There’s still other restrictions keeping full featured versions of Firefox or Opera from appearing. But this is a promising start. Apple seems to be opening the door… slowly.

Here’s a quick list of the new web browsing apps I could find. I included a short description- but I have a feeling reviews won’t be far behind.

WebMate: Tabbed Browser v1.0 | Published by RPA Tech, INC | Via App Store | $.99 | Released: 01-13-09

 

Web browser that queues up all the links you click on, then allows you to view them one by one when you’re ready. The closest you’ve got to tabbed browsing on the iPhone.

 

Incognito v1.0 | Published by Dan Park | Via App Store | $1.99 | Released: 01-12-09

 

 

Web browser that doesn’t track your history- so you’re free to look up porn without worrying about someone finding those nasty sites on your browser’s history. Phew.

 

Squeaky – The Clean Web Browser v1.0.0 | Published by Jesse Lane | Via App Store | $3.99 | Released: 01-13-09

 

Basically the same thing as Incognito. People must really value their privacy when it comes to what they’re looking up online. Perverts.

 

Edge Browser v1.0 | Published by Mobile Productivity, Inc. | Via App Store | FREE | Released: 01-13-09

 

Web browser that gives you the WHOLE screen in both landscape and portrait mode. There is no navigation bar in your way anymore. Live free!

 

Shaking Web v1.0 | Published by Salvador Ponticelli | Via App Store | $1.99 | Released: 01-13-09

 

Web browser that counteracts shaking to give you a stable image when you’re moving. It senses movement and applies a small and opposite movement to the viewable content. Rad.

 

[Via MacRumors]