Apple’s WWDC began today with the keynote kick off. Among the items discussed were Snow Leopard, Apple’s new version of OS X, a new Safari, iPhone OS 3 and, of course, the new iPhone 3G S. iPhone 3G S is the third iteration of the device. This seems to be a rather bland update to the hardware. Externally, there are no real changes. Internally, however, there are quite a few. I’m not going to talk too much about the phone, since you can read about that, in greater detail, here. Suffice it to say, the phone now contains video recording, a 3 megapixel camera, a better battery and voice control, which is pretty cool if it works right.
Instead of talking about the phone, I thought I would talk about something that I can and will use: Safari 4. While Apple does not do Windows software very well, Safari is one thing that they have done well. Many, including Apple fans, diss Safari on Windows much like that nameless person dissed Windows 7 during the keynote today. I don’t quite understand why people don’t like Safari on Windows. It actually works really well. And 4.0 is pretty good, so good, that I might use it as my primary browser. I need to use it for a few days, though, to make sure. One thing is certain: it beats Internet Explorer 8.
The one thing that Apple did with Safari 4-and they should have done it with 1.0-is ditch the OS X look and feel. The browser now looks more like a Vista application and it uses the Windows fonts instead of those rather nasty Apple fonts. The browser utilizes the Windows border, title bar and control box buttons instead of trying to mimic the OS X look.
Apple has added a new feature that shows a wall of thumbnails for most visited sites. It looks like the Coverflow view that you see when you switch to the Collections/Show All Bookmarks view. This is one area where I like Coverflow. Apple kind of overuses that feature, but, here, it works well.
Apple’s speed claims seem to hold true. Once the browser loads, it is very fast. It FEELS faster than Chrome and Firefox and it absolutely blows IE 8 out of the water. Hands down, it FEELS like the fastest browser out there.
The rendering problems I had with earlier versions of Safari seem to be gone. Half Byte fully renders, which is something that it was not doing in previous incarnations.
The interface is sparse and, typical of Apple’s philosophy, is attractive. It is also very clean with the tabs facing down and curvy. The minimalist approach also means that the browser loads quicker than either IE 8 or Firefox.
Overall, I’m impressed with the browser so far. I am going to put it through its paces over the next few days, but, so far, it’s looking really good, so good that I think it could become my primary browser. Wow, scary thought…an Apple application in the middle of a sea of Microsoft apps, on Windows 7. Scary, indeed.