Apple unveils Safari Web browser

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced an Apple-built Web browser, dubbed Safari, during his Macworld Conference & Expo keynote today. Dubbed as the "turbo browser for Mac OS X," it's the first major new browser in five years and "it's sweet," Jobs said.

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Safari is designed to be the fastest Web browser on the Mac. Jobs said was up to three times faster than what most people use, including Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, and, yes, Chimera. Besides speed, Jobs said Apple wanted to create their own Web browser because they wanted to innovate.

"We think there's a lot of innovation left in browsers, and we wanted to do the best browser ever," Jobs said.

He added that it also incorporated Google into the tool bar, a minimal user interface ("so Web page content can take center stage"), bookmarks innovations, and Address Book integration. Safari even has a button that users can click to report Web sites that don't work well with it.

"There are over 10 million Web sites out there, and we haven't had a chance to test each one," Jobs joked.

Safari, which requires Mac OS X 10.2 ("Jaguar") is based on an open source HTML rendering engine. Apple started with an open source base over a year ago and has made some major improvements, Jobs said. Apple will post the improvements to the rendering engine online.

"Some people have problems with open source, but we think it's great," Jobs said.

Safari's features include:

  • Google search capabilities built into the user interface for quick searching on the search engine;
  • SnapBack, which instantly returns the viewer to Google's search results or the top level of a Web site after navigating through a series of links from a Google search results page or the original entry page of any site;
  • Bookmark renaming, which lets you rename cumbersome Web site names to shorter names more suitable for bookmarks;
  • The bookmark library, a single-window interface similar to Apple's iTunes and iPhoto applications;
  • Optional pop-up blocking to automatically block intrusive advertisements;
  • Address Book integration, which automatically incorporates all Web sites listed in the user's Address Book contact database, such as personal sites, into Safari's bookmark library;
  • Support of industry standards such as HTML, XHTML 1.0, DOM, CSS, SSL, JavaScript and Netscape style plug-ins like QuickTime with MPEG-4, Flash, Shockwave and Real;
  • A simplified download process with automatic handling of disk images, file decompression, MacBinary and BinHex conversion;
  • A rendering engine based on KHTML, from KDE's Konqueror open source project.
  • The Safari public beta is available immediately for free download. It requires Mac OS X 10.2, but is optimized for Mac OS X 10.2.3. The final version of Safari will be made available later this year.

    This story, "Apple unveils Safari Web browser" was originally published by PCWorld.

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