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Tuesday, March 18, 2008, 05:00 am PT (08:00 am ET)

Apple unleashes new version of Safari web browser

Apple on Tuesday announced the immediate availability of Safari 3.1, the latest version of what the company calls the "world's fastest web browser for Mac and Windows PCs."

According to the Cupertino-based Mac maker, Safari loads web pages 1.9 times faster than Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 and 1.7 times faster than Firefox 2. It's also said to run JavaScript up to six times faster than other browsers, in addition to being the first browser to support the latest innovative web standards needed to deliver the next generation of highly interactive Web 2.0 experiences.

"Safari 3.1 for Mac and Windows is blazingly fast, easy to use and features an elegant user interface," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "And best of all, Safari supports the latest audio, video and animation standards for an industry-leading Web 2.0 experience."

As was reported by AppleInsider earlier this year (1, 2), the new version of the Apple browser is the first to support the new video and audio tags in HTML 5 and the first to support CSS Animations. Safari 3.1 also introduces support for CSS Web Fonts, giving designers limitless choices of fonts to create new web sites.

Safari 3.1 is available immediately as a free download at Apple's Safari website for both Mac OS X and Windows users. Safari software updates will also be delivered seamlessly through Apple's Software Update application, which automatically checks for updates.

Safari 3.1 for Mac OS X requires Mac OS X Leopard or Mac OS X Tiger version 10.4.11, a minimum of 256MB of memory and is designed to run on any Intel-based Mac or a Mac with a PowerPC G5, G4 or G3 processor and built-in FireWire. Safari 3.1 for Windows requires Windows XP or Windows Vista, a minimum of 256MB of memory and a system with at least a 500 MHz Intel Pentium processor.