When Apple simply stuck a touchable version of its ubiquitous Safari web browser onto the iPad it did its revolutionary tablet a disservice, doing nothing to showcase the new gestural way users can surf the web.
"Websites and apps today invite you to interact in new ways, but browsers have been stuck in a keyboard-and-mouse world, Opera's head of Coast, Huib Kleinhout, says on the Coast website. "Why is there a back button on iPad browsers? The iPad is, after all, designed for touch."
Instead of a bulky user interface, chock-full of buttons and text bars, Coast devotes almost every pixel to displaying content. Need to revisit your last page? Simply swipe from left to right. Want to search or browse elsewhere? Pull down the navigation bar with a flick of your wrist. Coast provides a streamlined and more elegant interface without skimping on features or functionality.
Like Safari, Coast's homepage, which resembles an iPad home screen, can be customized to provide easy access to the sites users visit most frequently. Sites take the shape of iOS apps and can be rearranged by pushing down on one until they all wiggle.
Users can browse multiple sites, all of which will continue to update in the background, but can only view one at a time. To switch between them they must first return to the Coast home screen. To make sure users browse safely, Coast comes with an extension called Web of Trust that vets the veracity and safety of every page.
For now, Coast is only available on the iPad. Developers are mum about if and when it will be available on Android and Windows RT-powered devices, but if the internet is really hungry for this new type of touchable browsing experience, Coast or something like it will be available on all platforms in the not-so-distant future.