A Mozilla browser is coming to iPad, but it’s not Firefox or Fennec. Because Apple requires all third party browsers to be based on Webkit, Mozilla is having to build a new browser from scratch. And it’s willing to do it because it sees its new iPad browser as a chance to rethink how an internet browser should look and act. They want to see how minimal they can get.
That’s not to say that you can’t have multiple windows at the same time, but Mozilla has pushed many of the browser’s functions down into a secondary level in the name of simplicity. Mozilla considers the current design of browsers to be outdated, and see their iPad project as a chance to experiment. So when you’re interacting with the main window of the browser, all you see are two button overlays on the left and right edge of the screen’s lower section (where your thumbs theoretically rest with a tablet in hand). The left side will allow you to navigate back, with a long press revealing added functions (forward/reload/function). The right button takes you into the lower depths of the browser, where you can switch between recently opened pages, launch bookmarks, and search or enter a new URL.
Along with the iPad browser, Mozilla is also working on a new feature for desktops called search tabs, which aims to replace the search bar with a new, left-side navigation bar that allows you to search between search engine everytime you launch a new search. They also have plans for “presence,” which they vaguely describe as letting people talk and share directly from the browser.