It’s math. Most Mac users use Safari as the browser of choice. Why? Safari is good. It’s free, it’s fast, it has extensions, and it displays web pages better than most. What other browsers are available to Mac users?
Yes, there’s the standard names; Google’s Chrome, Mozilla’s Firefox, Opera’s Opera, and even though we live in The Golden Age of Browsers, there are other options because… well, I don’t know why. A browser is a browser. Here are three you’ve likely never used, and two of them are from Apple.
Safari, Safari, Uh oh.
First on the list is a browser from the guy who once ran Opera so he knows something about browsers. It’s called Vivaldi. Here’s what it looks like.
Vivaldi says it’s the browser you can use to customize everything, and while that capability might be useful to some, it’s not for the masses, hence mass adoption isn’t in the cards. Mac power users might like the keyboard shortcuts, and there are many. As everyone knows, keeping your hands on the keyboard and away from trackpad or mouse is more productive and efficient.
Unless you can’t remember the keyboard shortcuts.
Vivaldi has tabs. Lots of tabs. Tabs in stacks. And tiles. And a place for notes. Why? Because no app is feature complete until it can do
I wish Vivaldi well, but I don’t see the business model that would help keep it around for years to come. And, speaking of years to come, what does Apple plan to do with Safari to keep it around as Google takes over the world?
The Safari Triplets
Safari is based upon an open source web browser engine called WebKit. For years WebKit was the foundation of Google’s Chrome, and many third party browsers– Mac, iPhone, iPad, and other devices– use WebKit.
If you have a desire to see what Apple might use in Safari in the future, WebKit is a good place to start. Download it, give it a spin around the block. You can even run Safari and WebKit’s browser side-by-side. WebKit is an ongoing development project so you may encounter a few bugs but that’s pretty much what you get with each new Safari release anyway.
What does WebKit look like? Safari.
Alright, Apple is the kind of company that plans ahead, so what does our favorite Cupertino, CA company have planned for the future of browsing?
Safari. Rather, more Safari. Or, put another way, Safari for Developers in the Safari Technology Preview version. Of Safari.
This is the ongoing development version of Safari for Mac, iPhone, and iPad with a bunch of new tools. For developers. Think of this as the browser that implements all those cool new features in OS X (soon to be macOS) and iOS.
- Shared Links – a way to add link suggestions to shared links feeds
- Content Block – another way to block ads
- Force Touch Trackpad – more interactive capabilities
- FairPlay Streaming – a way to stream media securely
- AirPlay – think HTML5 video from Mac to Apple TV
- PiP – HTML5 video with Picture-in-Picture
- CSS Scroll Snapping – whatever that is
Yes, there’s more going on with Safari Technology Preview but you can download the latest and take it for a test drive, too. Even without being a developer.
The standard caveat emptor perspective applies to WebKit and Safari Technology Preview. Both are ongoing projects, which, translated another way means ‘beta version’ so your Mac’s system might crash and disappear into a time portal and then you’d be forced to use a Windows Surface notebook-tablet hybrid until the space time continuum fixes itself (it always does).