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Apple tests Google's WebP for accelerated image loads in Safari

Apple is testing support for Google's WebP image format in the beta Safari code for iOS 10 and macOS Sierra, something that could potentially speed up page loads.

Compatibility is preliminary, and could still be stripped out of the final versions of both operating systems, CNET noted on Tuesday. In fact Apple's implementation currently doesn't support animated WebP files, which the format otherwise allows.

WebP offers even tighter compression than JPEG, which can not only speed up load times where it's used but reduce data consumption on capped internet plans.

At the moment, however, it's only supported by Google Chrome and browsers based on it, such as Opera and Vivaldi. Google claims that using WebP thumbnails on YouTube speeds up page loads by 10 percent.

Both Mozilla and Microsoft have so far declined to support WebP, leaving most Web developers little reason to adopt it either. Having Apple on board might alter the situation, given Safari's significant share when spread across iOS and Mac.

Both iOS 10 and macOS Sierra are officially due to arrive in the fall, but betas have been available to developers since June, and the public since early July.