While it wasn’t announced in Steve Jobs’ keynote at Apple’s WWDC event, Safari 5 was released for both Windows and Mac yesterday, and is a major update. It boasts improved support for HTML5, a new “Safari Reader” view that makes it easier to read articles online, better performance and (still to come) browser extensions.
While raw speed is important, especially as web apps become increasingly complex, it isn’t everything. Nearly all of the currently available browsers have pretty good performance (even Firefox, lagging behind the others, is no slouch) and support for web standards. Features and stability are just as important as speed. While Safari 5 feels stable, apart from the new Safari Reader view, there isn’t anything really groundbreaking in this update (which is perhaps why Jobs didn’t include it in his keynote).
Even though the new Safari feels very solid, fast and slick in use, it’s not stunning enough to tempt me away from my current browsers of choice: Chrome and Firefox. One of the reasons that I use those browsers is that the both have considerable extension ecosystems. Apple’s decision to include extension support in Safari is a smart one, but until developers start porting the most useful extensions to the browser, I’ll find it tough to switch.
If you’ve had a chance to try it out, what do you think about Safari 5? Share your comments below.
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