Home / News / Software News / Safari 4 Beta Launched With Chrome Influences & Cover Flow

Safari 4 Beta Launched With Chrome Influences & Cover Flow

Gordon Kelly


Safari 4 Beta Launched With Chrome Influence & Cover Flow

Sometimes I feel for Safari. Much like Internet Explorer it isn't the best browser around but unlike IE being a native app hasn't garnered it the same undeserved mass market share. So it has had to try harder...

Today sees Apple launch the first public beta of Safari 4, described by the company as no less than "the world's fastest and most innovative web browser for Mac and Windows PCs."

Built on the Nitro engine, Apple boasts Safari 4 runs JavaScript 4.2x faster than Safari 3, 30x faster than IE7 and 3x faster than Firefox 3. It also claims HTML web pages load 3x faster than IE7 and "almost 3x faster than Firefox 3".

Much of this comes from Safari 4's new WebKit based engine - the same as that used by Google Chrome (some Chrome comparisons would've been interesting), Google's Android browser, Nokia's S60 browser and Palm's WebOS. The move also suggests a move to Webkit for mobile Safari on the iPhone is now inevitable.

More than just increased speed, Safari 4 also represents one of the browser's biggest makeovers with a new minimalist Chrome-esque appearance including repositioned tabs and a default homepage displaying most visited pages and a Cover Flow mode for searching through both web history and bookmarks (far more useful in the former, surely?). On top of this Safari 4 takes a leaf out of Firefox's book with a smart URL bar linked to Google search, integrated web developer tools and a full page zoom while Windows users finally get a native appearance to better mimic the look of XP and Vista applications.

Lastly, but by no means least there is also HTML5 support for offline based web applications, compatibility with CSS Effects for sharper graphics and it joins Opera 10 beta in obtaining a 100% pass rate for the Web Standards Project's Acid3 test.

The only surprising absence? A porn incognito mode. So Apple means business this time around if not *cough* pleasure...

Firefox should be next up in the makeovers. One Webkit port please Mozilla...


Safari 4 Beta


February 24, 2009, 10:31 pm

First impressions of the Mac version are good. But what have they done to tabs? It might take a bit of time getting used to the tab changes. Otherwise this may be the version of Safari that finally makes me leave Firefox behind. Oh, and you can get new tabs to open with your home-page - finally.


February 24, 2009, 11:02 pm

I've tried it on Windows and it is extremely ugly, shame considering the Mac versions extremly good simple looks.


February 25, 2009, 12:06 am

I'm disappointed in myself here, I appear to have become one of those people which correct other people, so sorry, but...

1. Safari has always used webkit, as has iphone safari, this may be a slightly newer version with chrome improvements but still webkit.

2. Private browsing in mac Safari >Private Browsing.

I've had a quick go, and like it, if only adblock worked it would be perfect.


February 25, 2009, 12:08 am

I agree with Thomas, it's ugly under Windows. mixing the familiar Safari look with the Windows toolbars and fonts doesn't quite work. It looked much better with the unique Mac brushed-metal UI throughout. But I can understand why Apple have done it, tho it's a little unusual of them don't ya think? It's not like Apple to change the face of their product to suit Windows?


February 25, 2009, 12:28 am

I disagree with Thomas. I think the looks are okay in Windows and it's a big improvement on Safari 3. Apple have clearly taken some layout and simplicity ideas from Chrome and added some iTunes-style views, my first impressions are positive. I wish both Safari and Chrome would implement a very small request of mine - a universal Ctrl-Z to undo close window (from Opera).


February 25, 2009, 12:42 am

Um... Not sure if I'm right and can't be bothered to check but I thought Safari was always based on webkit.

Also, Safari's already had a privacy mode for quite a while.

That said it annoys me no end that Apple is trying to pawn this off as "innovative". They've added faster java, tabs on top and top sites. All blatant Chrome rip offs. It wouldn't matter if they copied if they didn't go on about Microsoft doing it all the time. But on top of copying they're claiming to actually innovate. Are you having a laugh!


February 25, 2009, 5:05 am

Wow, I'm impressed by Safari 4 on Windows. I was using 3 because of the MobileMe sync, but it really paled in comparison to Safari on the Mac. That's what tempted me to upgrade to a beta - and now I'm really glad that I did.

Hamish Campbell

February 25, 2009, 1:07 pm

Yeah its a bit unclear in the article.

Webkit was developed from KHTML, and then open sourced, by Apple (seems amazing I know).

So safari was always Webkit, and seems apple did a pretty good job in first improving KHTML, then open sourcing which lead on to further good development.


February 25, 2009, 2:04 pm

It's sexual chocolate!

been hammering this like a saucy minx and hasnt crashed yet

thats the style stevie


February 25, 2009, 3:21 pm

> The only surprising absence? A porn incognito mode.

Is this the same as private browsing, and are you saying they have dropped this feature in the new version?

Barry Ward

February 25, 2009, 5:28 pm

I downloaded this last night and love it so far, although my favourite plugin, Inquisitor, doesn't work anymore. However, I didn't know about the address bar functionality this article pointed out, and am impressed. Overall, it's still my favourite browser on the Mac. I love it's RSS handling too (especially compared to 3's sluggish response). I just hope a new compatible version of Inquisitor will come out soon.


February 25, 2009, 9:14 pm

The integration with vista is great. Not like the poor firefox native UI. I am seriously impressed with the top-view feature and the ability to edit sites shown there. I thought chrome was my permanent browser, but Safari 4 has simply copied all the best features of Chrome and added some brilliant ideas. A good browser, not original, but definitely my main browser now.

comments powered by Disqus