On Monday Apple Inc. released the Beta version of the next major version of Safari at the opening keynote of WWDC '07 (2007 Worldwide Developers Conference). Apple released versions for Mac OS 10.4.x, Mac OS 10.5, Windows XP and Windows Vista. Since my primary system is Mac OS 10.4.9, I only downloaded this version for review and my impressions below are only based on this version.

Before I start I want to give everyone a little background. Last week when a vulnerability was found in both Internet Explorer and Firefox I switch back to Safari 2. It had been almost 4 years since I use Safari as my primary browser, and I was surprised to find that Safari felt faster than FireFox 2 (my previous primary browser). Now with Safari 3, it is even faster. Of course this is non-scientific and it is based on real life usage of it for a week.

I operate an online retail business, Vinko's Treasures, and the backend system for my operation is completely web based. So I noticed the speed improvements right away only after a few days.

In Safari 3 I did not find too many new features or features that are better than FireFox. Most of the new features in Safari 3 are just catch up features to the default (without any 3rd party Extensions) FireFox 2. These being:

  • Inline search: rather than having a dialog that pops up for the user to enter the search term. Safari 3 now displays a thin bar ("Search Bar") at top of the browser just below the Tab Bar or Bookmark Bar; depending on what you have visible. After the results are found, Safari will dim the entire page and highlights the found terms on the page. 

    Safari 3 Search



  • Movable Tabs: you can now drag the Tabs back and forth. Rearranging them in any order you like.

    Movable Tabs



The new feature I found so far, is what the user can do with Tabs. They can take a tab like the one above on the right and open it in a new window. This can be accomplished by performing a Control + Click (or right click) on the Tab Label, which brings up a contextual menu. From here you then choose the menu item "Move Tab to New Window".

The "Mac" way of doing the same thing is just to drag the Tab out of the Tab Bar and let go, like you would with icons on the Dock or Finder Sidebar. Unlike these other User Interface elements, doing so here will cause a miniature version of the Tab window content to show for a second, then a new browser window with the Tab window content will open.

As with Expose activation, holding down the Shift key will cause the animation of this behaviour to be in slow motion.

Tab in New Window

All in all I am fairy happy with Safari 3. It did install a new WebKit so some of the Widget I use in Dashboard no longer works, but that is expected for a "Beta" classification application.

Due to my work, I do use Mail, Dashboard and Safari 18 hours a day. So far I have encountered no crashes; knock on wood.