Apple Releases Safari 4 Beta - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Mobile // Mobile Applications
News
2/24/2009
01:44 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Apple Releases Safari 4 Beta

The latest addition to the Web browser wars, according to Apple, is faster and "more innovative" than Internet Explorer, Firefox, and other competing apps.

In an escalation of the Web browser war, Apple on Tuesday released a public beta of its Safari 4 Web browser, claiming that it's "the world's fastest and most innovative browser."

"Apple created Safari to bring innovation, speed, and open standards back into Web browsers, and today it takes another big step forward," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior VP of worldwide product marketing, in a statement. "Safari 4 is the fastest and most efficient browser for Mac and Windows, with great integration of HTML5 and CSS 3 Web standards that enables the next generation of interactive Web applications."

Apple claims that its new Nitro JavaScript engine runs JavaScript up to 30 times faster than Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 and more than three times faster than Firefox 3. It also claims that Safari 4 loads Web pages three times faster than IE7 and almost three times faster than Firefox 3, although it allows the caveat that "performance will vary" based on system configuration, network connection, and other factors.

Such assertions have come to be obligatory with new browser releases. It's a recognition by those fighting the browser war -- Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Opera -- that speed is critical to a good user experience. One need only consider the $66 million that Mozilla earned in 2007 from its Firefox search deal with Google to understand the upside of owning a popular browser.

Last September, when Google boasted about how fast Chrome was compared with other browsers, Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich posted data from a speed test that pitted Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine against Mozilla's new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine, which should appear in Firefox 3.1. According to Eich, TraceMonkey was 1.28 times faster than Chrome's V8 running under Windows XP (on a Mac Mini) and 1.19 times faster when running under Windows Vista (on a MacBook Pro).

Apple did not compare Safari 4's performance against the Windows versions of Chrome, Firefox 3.1 Beta 2, or Internet Explorer 8 RC1.

As for Apple's insistence that Safari 4 is the most innovative browser, that's not easy to prove one way or another. Certainly Safari 4 has some innovative features, but Mozilla also is pushing the envelope with features like its Ubiquity command-line interface for Firefox. And Chrome also deserves recognition.

Even so, Safari 4 includes a variety of new features that go beyond the need for speed.

It's the first browser to pass the Web Standards Project's Acid 3 test, which attempts to evaluate compliance with Web standards like CSS, JavaScript, XML, and SVG.

It extends Apple's popular Cover Flow navigation interface to searching Web history and bookmarks, and it adds a Top Sites visual menu that displays graphic previews of frequently visited Web sites.

Safari 4 also includes drag-and-drop tab management tools, a Smart Address field that offers auto-complete suggestions based on the user's Web History and bookmarks, a Smart Search field that offers suggestions using Google Suggest and past searches, full-page zoom, built-in Web developer tools for debugging and site optimization, and a new Windows-native look for Windows users.

It is, however, still a beta product. This article was written using Google Docs and Safari 4, and it crashed once during the process.


TechWeb's Web 2.0 Expo features business models, development paradigms, and design strategies for taking advantage of this new generation of services and opportunities. Join us March 31 to April 3 in San Francisco (registration required).

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll