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Safari 4 beta (Windows).

Late yesterday Apple released a public beta of version 4 of their Safari web browser for Mac and PC, which apparently has 150 features. Sadly i haven’t yet been able to try any of the fancy new ones like Top Sites (think Chrome’s startpage) or Cover Flow (think iTunes), since my work PC doesn’t appear to be good enough1.

The new “native” Windows look makes a striking, immediate difference and with the new title-bar-positioned tabs actually reminds me of Chrome. The new tab positioning means screen “real estate” for the webpage isn’t pinched when you have more than one open but does feel a little odd at first. The highlight so far for me though has been the performance – Safari 4 plain flies. With the net connection at work webpages seem to render, well, instantly. Could be something to do with the new Nitro Engine2 but frankly i’m not too bothered about specifics. It’s very fast, so i’m very happy.

I’m looking forward to trying it on the Mac later though – seeing it with its proper skin on and trying out the fancier new features in all their glory. I’d better not to get too excited though because i know i’ll probably end up sticking with Firefox since i’m just not happy about the way Safari deals with website logins3.

PS. Something else has just sprung to mind… Why does Safari still exist for Windows? The Windows version first appeared at around the same time that the iPhone was announced and since Apple wasn’t allowing third-parties to write software for the iPhone they were told they’d have to write web-apps for it. So the general consensus was that Safari for Windows was to help non-Mac developers produce stuff for the iPhone. Only, that’s all fallen by the way-side since Apple “opened” the iPhone to software developers and created the App Store… so why should Apple keep working on Safari for Windows? The only answer i can come up with is that there is a reasonable profit made from the revenue they get from Google (from searches done from Safari’s search bar). Anything else would be a step down the road to a conspiracy theory, no?

  1. Top Sites, Cover Flow, etc just don’t exist as options – odd, given that Cover Flow in iTunes works ok on the same PC. 

  2. Obviously the Marketing people didn’t like “SquirrelFish” as a name. 

  3. I want my browser to remember my usernames but not passwords – little ol’ Firefox happily does this but spoilt-child Safari wants all or nothing.