Safari 3.0, Mac or Windows, is evolutionary, not revolutionary. The browser is fast, mature, uncluttered, highly useable, and free.
So far, a few million people have given Safari a try. What’s not to like? For some, plenty.
For me, there’s plenty to like. I’ve installed Safari on three Macs with zero problems to date. I’ve installed it on two PCs so far, with more scheduled. So far, no problems. Nada. Zilch. None.
See the pattern? It works. Yes, your mileage may vary, and your speed and status on the TechnoElite™ Meter may cause you to think otherwise, but Safari is more than just decent.
From my perspective as a very long, long time Mac user, and from a guy who collects browsers on Macs, Windows PCs, and Linux PCs, there’s lots to like in Safari—but not so much that Those In The Techknow™ find much to like.
Safari is lean on features and Safari 3.0 is no exception, but there are enough new ones to make the upgrade worthy. Not enough to call it a full version upgrade, but I’m quibbling.
The features I like best are straightforward. You gotta love those moveable tabs. Sweet. There’s even a warning from Safari when you’re about to close a browser page with multiple open tabs.
Hello? Apple? How about some session saving to go along with it? Other browsers have that.
Search. Did I mention inline page search using Safari 3.0. Say it again, please. Sweeeeeet. Select Find and Find from the Edit menu. A little drop down banner comes to the top of the web page.
Enter your text to search and the screen dims, but highlights the search results. It’s beautiful. No other browser does something that cool. There’s more features, too.
Just as cool is the fact that Apple made Safari 3.0 for Windows PC users, XP or Vista. I’ll sidestep the strategic issues regarding why there’s going to be a Safari everywhere, but Windows users should rejoice. Finally, there’s a fast, elegant, pleasant-to-use browser that makes Firefox look like a kludge.
Says who? Even the LA Times says Windows users should try Apple’s Safari browser. The writer admits to not being a power browser user, but found Safari to be worth. And fast.
Computerworld says much the same thing. Safari on Windows looks like Safari on Mac and it’s fast. Obviously fast.
The general consensus is that Safari is a welcome addition to the Windows world, and may take more market share away from Microsoft’s improved Internet Explorer.
I doubt if there’ll be much market share taken away from Mozilla’s Firefox. Why? Firefox is loved by the geeky community, the anti-Microsoftian community, and those in love with the gazillions of Firefox extensions, which are not available anywhere else.
Jeff Smykil of ArsTechnica, part of the Techknow Elite Community™ appeared to diss Safari in a note about the number of downloads by Windows users.
He compared Apple’s 1-million downloads of Safari for Windows to Mozilla’s 2.5-million downloads of Firefox 1.0 during the same time period. Context is important—a point not mentioned by Jeff.
Firefox had been publicly available as a beta for many months before the final 1.0 release and publicity was very high. Apple’s release of a Safari for Windows, still in beta, was a complete surprise. Ars isn’t comparing apples to Apples, but implies a poor comparison. Jeff says:
Oh, how so? Did such a release of many public betas of Firefox hurt their final download numbers? No. Why should it matter with Apple’s release of Safari.
Silly points do not an argument make. Jeff says:
The assumption is that Safari for Windows users are Firefox users, yet the vast majority of Windows browser usage comes from Internet Explorer. Safari stands to gain from average users trying out a new browser from Apple, more so than some of the never-satisfied-ever geeks at Ars.
Were Firefox early adopters turned off by the many bugs and interface issues in the early versions of Firefox?
Everyone has an opinion. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. This one is mine. Safari is very good. Fast. Stable (so far on both Mac and PC). Elegant (not cluttered with a bucket of mind-numbing features that only the techno-elite use). It’s free. Mac. Windows. iPhone.
And, perhaps coming to an AppleTV soon.
Update – More news today regarding Apple’s ambitious plans for Safari. For example, another Computerworld article says Apple’s venture to Windows will leave Safari battered and bruised. Why?
Writer Mike Elgan seems to forget Apple’s experience with software on Windows. Can you say, “iTunes?” It would appear that 100-million Windows users enjoy using Apple’s iTunes with their iPods. No clash of cultures there.
Mozilla is already feeling the heat of Safari’s entry into the Windows world. John Lilly, Mozilla’s COO, takes a bi-polar approach to Safari, both castigating Jobs “duopoly” thinking, and welcoming Safari as another choice for users.
Of course, Mozilla was enjoying a “duopoly” of their own with Firefox the only clear challenger to Microsoft Internet Explorer. Now it’s a triopoly and you’re unlikely to see Firefox on the millions of iPhones and AppleTV desktop sets any time soon.
One of the things I like about the internet is that everyone has a voice that can be heard, so we’re hearing many perspectives on Apple’s Safari strategy. Another thing I like is that on the internet no one forgets. We get to revisit authors and their statements in six months, a year, two years, to see how good they were at predicting the future.
Most technopundits and prognosticators are not very good at such predictions.