Windows/Mac: Apple's new Safari 5 browser isn't quite an adventurous leap forward, but it is a solid update focused on speed, readable pages, speed, better tabbed browsing, speed, future extension support, and, oh yeah, speed.
Apple's got an official What's New in Safari 5 rundown, but it is, as you'd imagine, full of effervescent hyperbole and not a lot of nuts and bolts. Let's run down what's new and worth noticing in Safari 5:
The major new thing you can actually use in Safari 5 is Safari Reader, a tiny little button that appears in the Smart Address Field. It appears while browsing certain web pages, mainly blog-style posts that have long blocks of text. Go ahead, click it.
Click image below for a larger view.
You get a text-focused, centre-aligned, print-friendly view of the main article/post text, with its own scroll bars and email/print buttons. Yes, it's a pretty direct grab from bookmarklets and services like Readability or Instapaper, but it's also a smart offering to build into a browser. And, as you'd imagine, Apple does a good job with text layout and fonts.
Search-able Address Field
Can't remember anything about that site you were browsing earlier, but know it related to Magnetic Fields' discography? Just type in any part of the URL, blog title, or page you can remember, and Safari will match it up from your history or bookmarks. Helpful stuff — but keep that kind of Everything You've Ever Seen reach in mind if you're sharing a computer, and adjust your retention settings accordingly.
New Tabs by Default
Apple finally gives into its users' demands and offers a setting, inside the "Tabs" section of Preferences, to make all new windows open up inside tabs, regardless of sizing or layout. With "Open in New Tab" set as your default, Command-clicking will open a tab in the background with or without focus, depending on another setting on the page, and Command+Shift-clicking opens windows in new windows.
Robust HTML5 Support
All kinds of new and web-improving HTML5 functions are supported in Safari 5 — too many to get into, really, but you can test them out at Apple's HTML5 section. Oddly enough, it requires Safari, which isn't all that open-web-oriented, but part of its heart is in the right place.
Extensions to Come
A few other items of note in Safari 5 that either can't quite merit a screenshot, or aren't fully available to everyone:
- Bing offered as search option: In case Google or Yahoo weren't your thing.
- Hardware Acceleration for Windows: Web videos and other heavy content can now use your graphics card for smoother performance.
- Better Web Inspector: For those building sites and wondering how their site could run better.
Dig the new stuff in Safari? Got a particular extension you'd love to see made to make Safari your one true browser? Gather 'round the judges' table in the comments.