Apple releases Safari 4

At the World Wide Developer Conference today, Apple announced that they have made their browser, Safari 4, publicly available as a final release. The browser packs some rather handy new features over the old version, so we'll go over them below.

First, Safari 4 is around about 4.5 times faster than the previous iteration; Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, said, "The successful beta release helped us fine tune Safari 4 into an even better, faster version that customers are going to love. Safari is enjoyed by 70 million users worldwide and with its blazing fast speed, innovative features and support for modern web standards, it's the best browser on any platform." The speed boosts come from Safari 4 being built on the Nitro javascript engine, which means it runs javascript code just about eight times faster than IE 8, and nearly four times faster than Firefox 3, according to Apple's tests.

The final version of Safari 4 has a few UI changes; these include (according to AppleInsider):

-- Top Sites, offering a visual preview of frequently visited and favorite pages
-- Full History Search, to search through titles, web addresses and the complete text of recently viewed pages
-- Cover Flow, to easily flip through web history or bookmarks.
-- Smart Address Fields for automatically completing web addresses from an easy to read list of suggestions
-- Search Fields, to fine tune searches with recommendations from Google Suggest or a list of recent searches
-- Full Page Zoom, for a closer look at any website without degrading the quality of the site's layout and text.

If you wish to get a hold of Safari 4, please head to Apple's download page to get it as a free download for Mac OS X, or Windows.

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I'm personally finding it a lot slower on both my Macs than Firefox 3. And by the sounds of it FF 3.5 will be even faster when it comes out

Okay, so was very skeptical about using Safari 4.0 on my Vista 64 bit machine, but after reading the side-by-side results of speeds compared to IE8, FireFox, and Opera, decided to give it a try. Let me first say that if you use iTunes, you will be very comfortable with this application. It does have some very cool interface techniques that are absolutely unique. Also, for the first time, the interface blends perfectly with Vista. Frankly, it just looks beautiful. And, better than all of that, the browser is incredibly fast; without any data to back it, would say that it feels about twice as fast as IE7.

So, it's a great, cool, fast, good-looking, browser. Now let me tell you why I will not being using Safari 4.0: There is virtually no plugin support for the Windows platform for this browser. Not only will you not find the standards such as Adobe Flash, Acrobat, and so on, but even the most basic Java Scripts are unsupported. You are prompted repeatedly to download the plugins, only to find out that they do not exist. Thus, your pages do not always render properly. The whole experience is truly frustrating.

It is a shame that a browser this good is really not entirely available to the Windows user. Sure, you can download and install it on your computer, but without solid plugin support, it just isn't worth the time.

EVANK said,
Been using the beta for a while and I must confess, I actully like it will be installing today.

Hope you didn't like having the tabs at the top. They are gone in Safari 4 final. :'(

Problem i've been seeing is that with the new colour profile management when a web developer has exported an image for use in a website if they haven't turned of colour profiles in export options then Safari renders it in a different shade.

From what i've researched this is going to become common place in all browsers, so don't be surprised if some of your fav websites start to look a little odd!

Soldiers33 said,
ill stick to ie8. never liked apple


Not that I don't like Apple, but I don't really. I think I'll pass on this also.
I'll stick to IE8, K-Meleon, Opera 10b, and Seamonkey!!

satanist said,
Neowin is completely infected with windows fanboys here.Someone please clean them up!!

lol. I don't think they're going to be "cleaned up", but this is primarily a Windows fansite.

Jugalator said,
lol. I don't think they're going to be "cleaned up", but this is primarily a Windows fansite.

It's a thing to be a fan of a company and it's another thing to talk ****.

I honestly like MS products. I own a 360. I own a legal copy pf Vista Home Premium (not OEM but boxed retail). I owned a MS mouse in the past and liked it (curently own a Logitech g7). I use hotmail.

MS improved IE a lot lately and for everyday use like reading news and getting it's mail from Hotmail it's a nice browser.

But when someone write that it is the fastest browser it's where i draw the line between a blind fanboy and a fan.

I'm a web developper i have to deal with JS and content heavy web pages. We have a web page here with lot of content (cause the client doesn't want pagination *roll eyes*) and simple optimized JS dealing with this content and the web page is around 20 secondes slower to draw in IE 7 than Opera. And it's not a joke.

I must admit thought FF is becoming slower and slower and IE is catching up. There's still work to do for MS.

satanist said,
Neowin is completely infected with windows fanboys here.Someone please clean them up!!


Windows fanboys are not the infection here, don't forget this site started as a windows fan site. It is you arrogant MAC Fanatic are the real infection here always bashing Windows... Even your GODLY MAC is not PERFECT.

nyolc8 said,
They took down the tabs from top... I viewed into the exe, and it looks like it's completely removed.

It appears that way. :'(

Zagor, interesting site, thanks!
On WinXP:

1. IE8 : Total: 6239.6ms +/- 4.8%
2. FF3.10 : Total: 3419.8ms +/- 2.0%
3. Safari4: Total: 884.2ms +/- 2.5%
4. G.2.180: Total: 736.6ms +/- 11.4%

Reverse order, making Google the fastest on this system. Might not be fair since all with the exception of Safari, run their cache from a virtual RAM drive partition thus no hdd screeching and churning. If anyone knows how to relocate Safari's cache please post, there is a lot of hdd activity (per Process Explorer) each time Safari finishes loading a website - if this can't be fixed, I'm back to IE8

Don't install Safari 4! There is incompatibles with BB. Wish I had know this before blindingly hitting the software update. I guess this weekend I will have to reformat!

I been testing this browser since it was available to download, tested it on xp, vista, and 7 all with the same results on 3 different pcs. its a god dang memory whore. It starts out at around 35 to 40mbs of ram, and once you start hitting up web sites it sky rockets into the 100mb range, open history add another 50 to 75mb. Open the top list, add another 25 to 75mb. I had safari 4 topping in at almost 450mb of ram, my WOW runs at 700mb of ram.. this browser has terrible memory management going on.

edit, current ram usuage from test I'm doing now, I'm currently at 331mb of ram for safari on my notebook with opening my history and closing it. my wow on my 7 box is consuming 520mb of ram.. very bad memory management...

hmm...this is funny...Safari using %30 CPU when it is idle! Nahh, I dont see a compelling reason to switch to Safari..well. maybe next time Apple...try it harder!

zagor said,
hmm...this is funny...Safari using %30 CPU when it is idle! Nahh, I dont see a compelling reason to switch to Safari..well. maybe next time Apple...try it harder!

I dont like Apple much, but I think you have page open that auto refreshes or has a lot of activity going on for that to happen. RU on a blank screen or do you have a site loaded?

oh wow, never really noticed how much of a memory hog Safari is; i only have one page open and it's taking up 144,500kb of memory, compared with firefox 3.5beta is 50,000kb and chrome 3.0 is 44,000kb

tested on same page for all three browsers

jblazea50 said,
oh wow, never really noticed how much of a memory hog Safari is; i only have one page open and it's taking up 144,500kb of memory, compared with firefox 3.5beta is 50,000kb and chrome 3.0 is 44,000kb

tested on same page for all three browsers


Yes, and check out the memory increase by time as well. It can easily go up to 400 MB here. This is my only major complaint about Safari, really. I was hoping it would be fixed in Safari 4 since Safari 3, but no.

I'm not sure I'll install it as after that shoving Safari down people's throat via a Quicktime update I've banned this browser until further notice...

But I wonder how useful that cover flow idea for history really is. It looks like it could be very cumbersome and time consuming when searching through your history (as, for me at least, the text matters more than the look as I'll forget the look).

lol I dropped installing anything apple when they shoved Safari down our throats via the Quicktime update. That was a terrible business move. (moderators, those were his words that he used, so don't remove my comment like you did last time)

I dropped installing anything Apple when they shoved automatic updates down the throat WITHOUT it doing anything at all. Eff that!

Juan4Ever said,
testing it right now and I have to say I love the new GUI... looks similar to chrome BTW

Because that's basically all it is, chrome with a bit of cover flow.

Just tested against Chromium (my default browser). Chromium is %10 faster. Funny how Safari 4 looks a lot like Chromium!

roadwarrior said,
Gee, ya think? Especially since Chromium is based on the core code from Safari.


That has nothing to do with it. The rendering engine code doesn't affect the browser design style.

Really? on my machine Safari 4 blows everything I've thrown at it out the water, Opera/Firefox/IE8 (Vista x64) leaves them for dead. I still prefer Firefox but there is no doubt Apple have made great strides with Safari 4 and I sure hope it rubs off on iTunes and QuickTime [in Windows]!

Xerxes said,
Really? on my machine Safari 4 blows everything I've thrown at it out the water, Opera/Firefox/IE8 (Vista x64) leaves them for dead. I still prefer Firefox but there is no doubt Apple have made great strides with Safari 4 and I sure hope it rubs off on iTunes and QuickTime [in Windows]!

Safari 4 is definitely faster than IE8 when it comes to Javascript. But it is slower than Chromium (latest build) on my system. Chromium took 716.4 ms to complete the test whereas Safari completed the test in 774.2 ms. For the javascript benchmarking you may use http://www2.webkit.org/perf/sunspider-0.9/...der-driver.html

zagor said,
Just tested against Chromium (my default browser). Chromium is %10 faster. Funny how Safari 4 looks a lot like Chromium!

It doesn't look much the same to me now that they moved from Safari 4 Beta's tabs on top?

Now Safari 4 looks a lot like Safari 3, actually.

zagor said,
Safari 4 is definitely faster than IE8 when it comes to Javascript. But it is slower than Chromium (latest build) on my system. Chromium took 716.4 ms to complete the test whereas Safari completed the test in 774.2 ms. For the javascript benchmarking you may use http://www2.webkit.org/perf/sunspider-0.9/...der-driver.html

Yes, I agree with this too, Safari and Chrome seem to follow each other pretty well in the benchmarks I've run and seen. IE 8 is pretty good at HTML and DOM rendering speeds that helps balance things up a bit, but Javascript was never its strong card.

No one ever doubts javascript benchmarks? considering this popular one is hosted on ... WEBKIT.org...

Anyway my opinion is that javascript benchmarks mean nothing in real life scenarios, I use firefox but I still think that the fastest browser that renders pages is Opera followed by IE8.

zagor said,
Funny how Safari 4 looks a lot like Chromium!

Safari has looked like this since its initial release. The mayor interface tweaks you see today were introduced around Leopard's release.

Xerxes said,
Really? on my machine Safari 4 blows everything I've thrown at it out the water, Opera/Firefox/IE8 (Vista x64) leaves them for dead. I still prefer Firefox but there is no doubt Apple have made great strides with Safari 4 and I sure hope it rubs off on iTunes and QuickTime [in Windows]!

That would be more interesting if version numbers were listed. FF 3.5 b4 and the pre-rc beta 99 are very fast...

yakumo said,
That would be more interesting if version numbers were listed. FF 3.5 b4 and the pre-rc beta 99 are very fast...

I can accommodate that, tested were Opera 10 Beta and FF3.5 Preview, Safari 4 just blitzed them. I'm not talking about benchmarks here, I'm talking about general real world use. I don't care how many milliseconds they can run a script etc I care about how well they perform in real world applications.

dagamer34 said,
Any way to get the tabs back on top? I rather likes that feature.

I am switching back to Chrome until I find a way to do that

I'm rather happy they aren't up there anymore. Chrome did it perfect, though Apple's was ... eh...no. Especially if your using on Windows with a different theme, there was problems with 99% of the themes I use.

It's on par with Chrome's speed and standard support, both are excellent here and way ahead of Firefox 3.5 and IE 8. However, it lacks the elusive extension support that is at least on the roadmap for Chrome (and doable even now although it's annoying), and does not come with integrated ad blocking, just pop-up blocking.

I'm not sure how fast the latest builds of Chrome go, but Safari 4 blows pretty much everything else away and Apple have even added support for showing download progress in the superbar in Win7 which is a nice touch. The UI still needs some work, still feels a little messy (not sure how to explain) but it's Apple's first real attempt at conforming with the look and feel of an OS that isn't their own and I hope this new approach catches on with their other cross-platform products

You don't attempt to conform to the look and feel of an OS, you just do by making use of the provided toolkits for the platform.
I mean, it isn't THAT hard.
How is turning the windowborder into a huge tab, thus placing the tab title into the window glass, something which is clearly advised against in the interface guidelines conforming to the OS?

k7of9 said,
You don't attempt to conform to the look and feel of an OS, you just do by making use of the provided toolkits for the platform.
I mean, it isn't THAT hard.
How is turning the windowborder into a huge tab, thus placing the tab title into the window glass, something which is clearly advised against in the interface guidelines conforming to the OS?

Till recently Apple found that very hard! they would throw all Windows GUI conventions out the window (pun intended!) and go out of their way to make their Windows apps look, feel and behave like an OSX app.

I'm still not going to install it on my PC. If it's anything like iTunes (bloated and terrible design), then it's not gonna come near my elegant Windows 7 PC.

simon360 said,
Safari 4, unlike safari 3, is in fact quite refined and well done on windows.

I know it runs better than before... but I'm always suspicious at Apple software for windows, safari 4 without QT is 28MB, which is alot compared to any other browser (including the other webkit chrome) and I just never understood why.

simon360 said,
Safari 4, unlike safari 3, is in fact quite refined and well done on windows.

Not that I'm planning to install it but that's good to hear. They went a long way to improving iTunes on Windows earlier in the year.

andrewbares said,
I'm still not going to install it on my PC. If it's anything like iTunes (bloated and terrible design), then it's not gonna come near my elegant Windows 7 PC.

It still is terribly designed. Apple wanted to copy Chrome's tabs, err I mean innovate, by turning the entire windowborders into huge tabs making it look ridiculous and unusable. But hey, it's Apple so everybody not loving it must be wrong.

andrewbares said,
Idk, I'm happy with IE 8, and the Opera beta is way faster with Turbo, which is good for my slow connection.

If you don't care then why do you post here ???

Seems to me like you actually care a lot ...

k7of9 said,
It still is terribly designed. Apple wanted to copy Chrome's tabs, err I mean innovate, by turning the entire windowborders into huge tabs making it look ridiculous and unusable. But hey, it's Apple so everybody not loving it must be wrong.

isn't that gone now...

Even then the UI looked too much like a copy of Chrome, even down to the positioning of the menu items.

The new tab page did look quite fancy, I'll give them that.