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Monday, June 07, 2010, 03:10 pm PT (06:10 pm ET)

Apple releases Safari 5 with extensions, expanded HTML5 support

Apple on Monday released Safari 5, the latest version of its desktop Web browser, with a 30 percent performance increase, the addition of Bing search and secure sandboxed extensions, as well as support for more than a dozen new HTML5 technologies.

The update is available for download from Apple's website or via Software Update on Mac OS X. Safari 5 is a 39.1MB update.

"Safari continues to lead the pack in performance, innovation and standards support," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "Safari now runs on over 200 million devices worldwide and its open source WebKit engine runs on over 500 million devices."

Available for both Mac and Windows, Safari 5 includes improved developer tools and supports a number of new HTML5 technologies that allow developers to create rich, dynamic websites.

The latest version of Apple's Web browser also includes Safari Reader, which makes it easy to read single and multi-page articles on the web by presenting them in a new, scrollable view without any additional content or clutter. When Safari 5 detects an article, users can click on the Reader icon in the Smart Address Field to display the entire article for clear, uninterrupted reading with options to enlarge, print or send via email.

Powered by the Nitro JavaScript engine, Apple said Safari 5 on the Mac runs JavaScript 30 percent faster than Safari 4, three percent faster than Chrome 5.0, and over twice as fast as Firefox 3.6. Safari 5 loads new pages faster using Domain Name System (DNS) prefetching, and improves the caching of previously viewed pages to return to them more quickly.

Safari 5 adds more than a dozen powerful HTML5 features that allow web developers to create media-rich experiences, including full screen playback and closed captions for HTML5 video. Other new HTML5 features in Safari 5 include HTML5 Geolocation, HTML5 sectioning elements, HTML5 draggable attribute, HTML5 forms validation, HTML5 Ruby, HTML5 AJAX History, EventSource and WebSocket.

The new, free Safari Developer Program allows developers to customize and enhance Safari 5 with extensions based on standard web technologies like HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. The Extension Builder, new in Safari 5, simplifies the development, installation and packaging of extensions. For enhanced security and stability, Safari Extensions are sandboxed, signed with a digital certificate from Apple and run solely in the browser.

The details match a support document published over the weekend that suggested the release of Safari 5 for Mac and Windows was imminent.