In a shock move, Apple has approved Opera Software's mobile web browser, Opera Mini, and the mobile application is now available as a free download in App Stores across the globe.

The approval of the application comes as a very happy surprise to many iPhone users. Apple has been tight-lipped about its approval process for mobile browsers that didn't use the WebKit view that comes standard in the iPhone OS SDK.

The third party app is said to be up to six times faster than Apple's default iPhone browser Safari and provides savings for iPhone users who travel the globe by reducing their roaming browsing costs by up to 90 percent.

"Users of the app will notice an uptake in speed, especially on slower networks such as the 2G Edge network," said Opera Software in an April 13 press release announcing the mobile browser's approval within the App Store.

"This app is another step toward Opera's goal of bringing the Web to more people in more places," added Opera Software CEO Lars Boilesen.

Opera has previously released mobile web browsing applications for platforms such as Windows Mobile, Android, and Symbian platforms and sees in excess of 50 million Opera Mini users on mobile devices each month. Opera's core browser engine is also used for web browsing on the Nintendo DSi.

A demo of the browser in use on the iPhone can be viewed here:

The application can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store here: