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Apple Quietly Launches Safari 5

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Yes there's still some Apple news to be had today because while Steve Jobs didn't see it as important enough to announce during his WWDC 2010 keynote the company has quietly released Safari 5.

Coming almost one year to the day since Safari 4, version 5.0 comes with a whole host of features we've long seen in its Webkit based rival Google Chrome and it certainly looks set to make up for lost time.

The headline news is Safari 5 is fast with Apple claiming it is twice as fast as Firefox 3.6 and surprisingly three per cent quicker than Chrome 5.0 which all equates to a 30 per cent boost over Safari 4. Note these tests are all conducted on an iMac running OS X (Chrome runs faster on Windows and Chrome 6 is faster again), but the overhaul it is impressive none the less.

On top of this Safari 5 finally brings support for third party extensions , something Chrome introduced over a year ago and took the beta tags off in January. Safari desperately needs this to compete with the functionality of Firefox and Chrome (we'd say Opera, but sadly its market share continues to be well under one per cent). Like Chrome all Safari extensions are sandboxed so if they crash the browser won't.

Next Safari 5 introduced 'Safari Reader' a tool which takes single and multipage articles and presents them in a new scrollable view "without any additional content or clutter" (below). From a not-going-bankrupt point of view we'll have to reserve judgement since this pulls away all advertising and may well affect page views.

Lastly Apple gets around to practicing what it preaches by adding 12 new HTML5 features including full screen playback and closed captions for HTML5 video, geolocation and WebSocket. And yes, Safari does still sport Adobe Flash.

Safari is immediately available for download and will soon be (mischeviously) bundled into iTunes 9.2 which is going to be released in the next few weeks in preparation for iPhone 4. Will you be converted?

Link: Safari 5

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