Apple releases Safari browser beta for Windows

At the World Wide Developer Conference today, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed a launch date for the iPhone—June 29—and showed features from Apple’s upcoming MacOS X 10.5 “Leopard” operating system, as expected. The folks at Engadget have detailed coverage of the keynote here, but one of Jobs’ talking points was surprising: Apple is launching a Windows version of Safari, the flagship browser that’s bundled with MacOS X.

In its Mac-only state, Apple says Safari has already reached a 5% market share, and the company wants it to grow further. To achieve that goal, Apple company has introduced a public beta of the Windows version of Safari. The software can be downloaded from this page, and Apple claims most of the same benefits as the Mac version: fast rendering speed, clean user interface, built-in RSS feed support, pop-up blocking, and so on.

Safari for Windows boasts very much the same user interface as its MacOS X counterpart, which gives it a very non-standard feel in Windows. There is no minimize effect in Vista, the browser window has no edges to grab onto, and features like auto-scroll don’t work. Font rendering is also Adobe Reader-like and doesn’t seem to use the standard Windows ClearType antialiasing. Nonetheless, the browser is quite fast: it seems to be a few seconds faster at loading the TR front page than both Firefox 2.0 and Internet Explorer 7.0. If Apple makes its user interface more complaint to Windows UI standards, this browser may very well catch on.

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