Once top dog next to Internet Explorer, Firefox has increasingly been losing its grasp on the desktop browsing experience, and consequently been spending more time paying attention to the possibilties of mobile. Firefox is already available for Android, and now it looks like it might come to iOS as well, but not as a mere port of the browser many of us have abandoned in favor of Chrome: it’s rebuilt for the ground up with iPad browsing in mind.
Called Junior, Mozilla’s iPad browser abandons a lot of the design UI cludge of desktop browsers: the tiny tabs, the location bar, the small buttons hard to prod with a finger instead of a mouse pointer.
Rather, it’s “an iPad browser that makes browsing more fun, more ergonomic and re-thinks browser user experience from the ground up.” The navigation has been reduced to just a few on-screen elements, centered around the thumbs: a button on the left for going back, and a button on the right for pulling up favorites, recently accessed sites, search and history.
In addition, Junior abandons webpage previews as shortcuts in favor of logos. So, for example, if you accessed Cult of Mac in your favorites, you’d see our official mascot, Federico Applefade, instead of a snapshot of what the site looked like last time you were here.
The most intriguing aspect of Junior is, because it’s for iOS, it runs on WebKit, not Mozilla’s own browsing engine. That means that despite Mozilla’s unwillingness to adopt standards like H.264 for web video, Junior will have support built-in.