Bundled with the loveable Apple Mac range, and at home on the super-sexy iPhone – Apple’s Safari web browser has slowly been building market share. But with the PC market still dominated by the unwieldly Internet Explorer, which continues to require work-arounds by web designers, Safari is third behind Mozilla’s Firefox. Google’s excellent Chrome browser is still in beta, and still not available on the Mac so will Safari’s 4th incarnation become a real challenge to the dominance of IE and Firefox?

New features in Safari 4

Apple proudly boasts around 150 improvements in the new version but we’ll start with one of the first you will site.

1. Safari Top Sites.

iTunes and iPod Touch/iPhone users will instantly recognise the layout of their top sites function which automatically displays your most visited sites. A similar feature exists on other browsers we know – but Apple always do it that little bit cooler than anyone else.
Safari Top Sites Image

2 (and 3). Cover flow for History AND Bookmarks

Even more reminiscent for hardcore Apple phones.  (If you want it to) Safari will store thumbnails for all your bookmarks and visited sites.

You can then quickly browse through these to find that page you remembered looking at a while ago.

Cover Flow Safari Browser

4. Improved Developer Tools

Got my ‘work-hat’ on now. From what I saw of Chrome some of the debugging features were excellent for designers such as myself. The occasional missing div and span being closed, load times and responsiveness of javascripts on loading.  Safari look to have improved the field even further on this.

5. The ‘Nitro Engine’

Apparently it makes Safari run fast. Very fast.  Claiming nearly 3 times faster than Firefox, which is some achievement.

Safari also takes advantage of the webkit standards which help designers develop even better looking websites than before. All in all it looks great, feels good, and as someone who ‘shock horror’ uses Firefox on a Mac – Safari have raised the bar.

In my humble opinion, this is the best internet browser available at the moment.

Download it yourself at the Apple website and let me know what you think.

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