Safari 4 brings Chrome-like native interface, Cover Flow

If you install the latest version of Apple’s Safari for Windows, you might think you’ve downloaded a new Google Chrome beta by mistake. Apple has completely revamped its web browser, losing the "Mac port" look of previous Windows releases and borrowing Chrome interface features, like tabs that poke into the window title bar and two icons that fill in for the missing menu bar.

The Safari 4 beta for Windows and Mac OS X is available right now from Apple’s website. Aside from revamping the user interface, the company has added a handful of new features: Top Sites, which shows a 3D overview of the user’s most visited sites; Cover Flow, which helps browse bookmarks and history iTunes-style; a new history search feature that can find content inside visited pages; a "smart address field" that looks straight out of Firefox 3; and new phishing and malware protection mechanisms.

There’s also a new JavaScript engine called Nitro, which Apple claims is 4.2 times faster than the previous major Safari version. We took the new browser for a spin in the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark, and it looks like Apple has indeed made some improvements. Safari 4 scored 1777.6 ms, not a whole lot higher than Chrome’s 1526.4 ms. The new Safari almost feels snappier for regular browsing, though.

Oh, and going along with the new, native look, Safari 4 no longer uses Apple’s own text antialiasing system in Windows. Apple has even implemented auto-scroll support, a feature Google still hasn’t added to public Chrome releases.

Comments closed
    • jstern
    • 10 years ago

    It runs smooth, but it’s almost exactly like chrome. It feels as if they discontinued their old browser, and started a new one, that’s based on a competitors. Runs great, but I really hate the fact that it does not feel original or innovative at all. Now instead of there being 5 different types of browsers to choose from, we now have 4.

    • TREE
    • 10 years ago

    What the heck, the thing is 25 MB to download… I get the feeling of Itunes type bloatware here. I hope its as good as you guys say it is and it does not leave any “helper” start up commands in msconfig.

    • bozzunter
    • 10 years ago

    Fantastic, on my MacBookPro with Mac Os 10.5.6 the program crashes after launch. I’ll go on with Firefox, since Safari is in my list of worst programs ever made, along with iTunes and Quicktime (all of them for Mac, I never had the courage to try them on a PC).

      • Hattig
      • 10 years ago

      I’ve been playing with it tonight on my Tiger iBook (1.33GHz, feel the power) and it’s really smooth, best Safari by far. Finally beats Firefox on this platform, and it actually is like night and day.

      • adisor19
      • 10 years ago

      Could it be you have Saft or another Safari add-on installed ? If not, well it is a beta afterall..

      Also, iTunes is not the worst program ever. There are worst examples out there that i can think of. (Ms.Bob comes to mind)

      Adi

        • bender
        • 10 years ago

        Wow…iTunes was just compared to MS Bob. That pretty much sums it up. At least MS had the sense to move on.

    • jstern
    • 10 years ago

    I haven’t tried out the new beta, but even though I only use Safari for Windows maybe 1 once a month, I kind of like its different look. So I wish it would have stayed the same. If I wanted to use something that looks like Chrome, then I would use Chrome.

    • Hance
    • 10 years ago

    Well I grabbed the beta to test it out. Seems fairly fast and a lot like chrome which I like. Now if its just more stable than chrome in windows 7 i might make the switch.

      • indeego
      • 10 years ago

      It basically *[

        • Hance
        • 10 years ago

        I know they are both based on webkit but that doesn’t make them exactly the same. So far with safari I haven’t had a tab die on me and it happens in chrome all the time in windows 7. I am just running it on my netbook right now I will really test it out when I get on my desktop. The coverflow looking start page should be pretty cool on my 26 inch monitor.

    • crazybus
    • 10 years ago

    The titlebar is weird, and tabs don’t close when you middle click on them, but otherwise I’m quite impressed by Safari 4.

    Coverflow history is cool.

    I much prefer Chrome’s setup for tabs. Placing them directly on the transparent titlebar makes the text labels very difficult to read.

    Safari’s finally moved past its weird OS X transplanted into Windows looks. Thank you Chromium.

    Oh, and it’s nice to finally see autoscroll, although I’d prefer its operation to be smooth ala Firefox or IE.

    • tay
    • 10 years ago

    As a web developer I welcome Safari, Chrome, Opera, and FF. Once they have half the market IE will eventually be forced to comply to standards which will work in everybody’s favor.

      • d2brothe
      • 10 years ago

      Yup, you’re right….but your a year or two out of date…that already happened for the most part.

        • indeego
        • 10 years ago

        IE8 still ain’t ready for prime time. Rumors are it’s due to go gold during March or April round of patchesg{<.<}g

    • Hattig
    • 10 years ago

    Had a play around with it (Windows XP version), and it is a definite improvement over previous Safari versions. The coverflow is actually useful in the history. It is better integrated into the Windows experience, although it’s still clearly quite different. You can play around with the font anti-aliasing, the develop toolbar (enable menu bar) has added some nice features, and it supports HTML5 tags as well.

    Also the CSS Animations are neat. Try §[< http://webkit.org/blog-files/leaves/index.html< ]§ and §[<http://webkit.org/blog/138/css-animation/<]§

    • barich
    • 10 years ago

    r[

    • adisor19
    • 10 years ago

    Safari is faster than FF3.x especially when scrolling. That’s like night and day at least on OS X.

    The only reason holding me back from switching from FF is multiple row tabs. I looked for addons but nothing out there allows multiple row tabs in Safari.

    Adi

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      Great stuff, so now that you’re using a screen with a birth defect (widescreen), you want to waste the remainder of that room with more tabs.

        • adisor19
        • 10 years ago

        Birth defect ? Au contraire, i find wide screen displays a better choice. I can can easily places 2 documents side by side when i need to compare them and still get a good width with no left right scrolling needed.

        Adi

          • Meadows
          • 10 years ago

          Guess what, I can easily place 2 documents side-by-side on my large CRT and both of them get to be twice as tall as yours too.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 10 years ago

            Twice as tall? Someone is exagerrating (hint- I mean you.)

            • A_Pickle
            • 10 years ago

            Seriously. My 1920×1200 monitor can… hold more than a 1600×1200 monitor, regardless of how you slice it.

            Mindless tech bashing. It’s mindless.

            “DURR HURR I R NOT SHEEP I HAV A ULD MONTIR AN IT R BETAR.”

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      with the prevalence of widescreen monitors in the world today, wouldn’t we be better off with tabs that go down the side rather than along the top?

        • indeego
        • 10 years ago

        No, because we like to read text (on tabs) in its proper orientation.

        Widescreeners should put taskbar on the side.

        Web designers should quit whining and design content around widescreen useg{<. <}g

          • derFunkenstein
          • 10 years ago

          tabs could still be horizontal and about 100px wide…no reason they couldn’t be similar to current tabs, just placed differently.

        • adisor19
        • 10 years ago

        Sure, that would be even better. But i still need multiple rows given the amount of tabs that i have open at the same time. When this will be implemented in Safari/Chrome i will most likely switch from FF if it proves to be faster as it currently is right now.

        Adi

          • zima
          • 10 years ago

          btw – when it comes to LOTS of tabs, it’s hard to beat Opera – and not only because it can handle it on lesser amounts of ram/UI tends to lock up way later than in other browsers (myself I have only 768mb of ram and Athlon XP 1700+ on a PC which gets the heaviest browsing – and typically few hundred tabs under Opera)

          Also, it has few ways of navigating the tabs, and all of them quite clearly geared towards beeing able to manage large number of them:

          a) typical tabs behave a bit differently when closing or/and (can be turned on in options) opening/middle click opening – they’re not only always visible, but also more more “spatial” in behaviour, so even when there’s “too many” (so that names or even icons aren’t visible) you can still quite accurately pinpoint them (because they open next to “parent” tab, or when you close the current one you’re back to previous one, etc.). Also, you can place it on the side without problems (though “c)” thing might be better for that…)

          b) “window” menu (in menubar, though it has to be turned on in Opera 9.5x and up) – granted, FF also has it now…but it’s horrible/you have to scroll it when tabs don’t fit. The one in Opera behaves like windows start menu (though without hiding :p ) when tabs don’t fit in one height of the screen.

          c) tree of open tabs in the sidebar (across all windows!)

          d) it’s hard to explain this…just run Opera, and with at least few/dozen pages opened, hold down right mouse button and move the scrollwheel – great for accesing last viewed tabs (it groups them by this criteria), for accesing tabs that weren’t viewed/just opened in the background (they’re at the end, highlighted), and also for quick overview of all tabs.

            • [TR]
            • 10 years ago

            “few hundred tabs”?! O_o
            I’m amazed developers even think of including support for this or that at least the browser works, but isn’t that a little too many tabs at once?!
            I don’t think I could even open more than 20 websites without clicking every random link I came across.
            Just out of curiosity, why/how do you manage to open all of those at once?

    • derFunkenstein
    • 10 years ago

    Holy crap the Windows beta is weird. The combined tab/title bar thing will take some getting used to, as clicking on the background window’s title bar in just the wrong place will switch tabs as well as bring it front.

    Otherwise, eh, it’s Safari with the “awesome” bar. woo?

    Oh, and it uses whatever font smoothing you have in Windows by default, rather than Apple’s custom smoothing which matches what’s in OS X. You can change it back, but it was kind of jarring to see text not as smooth as I expected.

      • Scrotos
      • 10 years ago

      “Oh, and going along with the new, native look, Safari 4 no longer uses Apple’s own text antialiasing system in Windows.”

      ? Were you surprised?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 10 years ago

        yes, because that’s not how it was in Safari 3, and I had the beta installed before I saw the news post. :p

    • twizttid13
    • 10 years ago

    Still browses kind of slow. Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 is still the fastest for me. At least it works on Windows 7 unlike Chrome. Safari 4 is a lot like Chrome. I do like the Top Sites page that’s pretty neat.

    • 5150
    • 10 years ago

    Google stole the ideas from Apple!

      • UberGerbil
      • 10 years ago

      Charles Babbage used to cheat off Steve Jobs’ homework at school.

        • DrDillyBar
        • 10 years ago

        The Computer Age could have been here 75 years ago….

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