While there wasn't much excitement at this week's WWDC for the Apple Fanboys amongst us, Apple did flip the script and reveal Safari for Windows.The Windows download was available right after the keynote speech and was subsequently hacked about two hours later. Welcome to the Win32 world Safari!
Apple yesterday released the 3.01 version of Safari that address some of the security concerns but there will no doubt be more.
Steve Job's biggest selling point of the Safari browser is the speed -- and it is pretty snappy. It is based on the Webkit framework that Apple went with when it decided to build a browser platform (Which Adobe also adopted in its Apollo/AIR platform) and originally was based on the Konqueror based KHTML engine.
Apple's figures (below) for HTML rendering seem a bit arbitrary and people all over the web have chimed in with varying results. Also touted is Apple's elegant user interface which extends to its very convenient inline find feature.
There are a number of other features that Apple is touting but most of them, like tabbed browsing, pop-up blocking and forms autofill aren't going to impress anyone who has used a modern browser in the last two years.
Still though, it brings up an interesting question...why? Why would Apple put its horse in an already overcrowded race?
One reason could be the much talked about Halo effect theory -- that people who use Apple software and hardware like iTunes, QuickTime and the iPod are more inclined to purchase the Macs next time they have an opportunity.
The halo theory is possible, but the overwhelming thought is that Apple is trying to create a development environment for its iPhone. The iPhone will run a Webkit based browser which will theoretically be able to browse any page that Safari can. Extending the browser share for Safari is of utmost importance to Apple if the iPhone is to become a long term product category for Apple. The best way to expand the browser marketshare for Safari is to make it available on the other 95% of the World's computers.
About the Author
Seth Weintraub is a Paris-based IT management consultant specializing in the technology needs of creative global organizations, including The Paris Times, Omnicom, the FIA and WPP Group. He is also a regular contributor to 9to5Mac.com.