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Apple releases Safari 4 as "world's fastest browser"

Apple on Monday released a finalized version of Safari 4, which the company is billing as the "world's fastest and most innovative web browser."

Available for Mac and Windows PCs and introduced as a beta in February of this year, Safari 4 features the Nitro engine which runs JavaScript up to 4.5 times faster than its predecessor.

"The successful beta release helped us fine tune Safari 4 into an even better, faster version that customers are going to love," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "Safari is enjoyed by 70 million users worldwide and with its blazing fast speed, innovative features and support for modern web standards, it's the best browser on any platform."

Safari 4 is built on some of the most advanced browser technologies including the new Nitro JavaScript engine that executes JavaScript nearly eight times faster than IE 8 and more than four times faster than Firefox 3, according to Apple's tests. The company also claims that Safari quickly loads HTML web pages more than three times faster than IE 8 and three times faster than Firefox 3.

Starting with the development of the open source WebKit browser engine, Apple has been an industry leader in defining and implementing innovative web standards. Safari 4 includes HTML 5 support for offline technologies and support for advanced CSS Effects, enabling an entirely new class of web applications that feature rich media, graphics and fonts.

Safari 4 is also the first browser to pass the Web Standards Project's Acid3 test, which examines how well a browser adheres to CSS, JavaScript, XML and SVG standards that are specifically designed for dynamic web applications.

Snow Leopard


Other new features in Safari 4 include:

— Top Sites, offering a visual preview of frequently visited and favorite pages
— Full History Search, to search through titles, web addresses and the complete text of recently viewed pages
— Cover Flow, to easily flip through web history or bookmarks.
— Smart Address Fields for automatically completing web addresses from an easy to read list of suggestions
— Search Fields, to fine tune searches with recommendations from Google Suggest or a list of recent searches
— Full Page Zoom, for a closer look at any website without degrading the quality of the site's layout and text.

In Mac OS X Snow Leopard, available later this year, Safari runs as a 64-bit application, boosting the performance of the Nitro JavaScript engine by up to 50 percent. Apple says Snow Leopard makes Safari more resistant to crashes by running plug-ins in a separate process, so even if a plug-in crashes, Safari continues to run and the user simply has to reload the affected page.

Snow Leopard


Pricing & Availability

Safari 4 is available for both Mac OS X and Windows as a free download.

Safari 4 for Mac OS X requires Mac OS X Leopard v10.5.7 or Mac OS X Tiger v10.4.11 and Security Update 2009-002, a minimum 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 4 for Windows requires Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista, a minimum 256MB of memory and a system with at least a 500 MHz Intel Pentium processor.