At WWDC 2007, Steve Jobs announced Safari 3 beta for Windows is available for download. Safari on Windows? Yeah, it sounded odd to me too. The consensus on the blogisphere seems to be that it’s for iPhone support, primarily. I guess that makes sense, however it’d be nice if some of these new devices would interface a bit better with the alternatives available and commonly used like IE and Firefox. I shouldn’t complain, though, iTunes makes the iPod experience what it is, I’m sure Safari is going to play a big part of the iPhone experience.
So, how is the beta, you ask? I installed it in Windows Vista Business edition just to try it out… didn’t try it on Mac though. It’s surprisingly similar to the Mac version, even down to font smoothing. It’s hand, I’m sure, for developers who are primarily PC users and need to test sites in Safari, but from an “OS integration” and consistency standpoint I’d prefer it to use the Windows “clear type” font smoothing, window shadows, etc that’s part of the parent operating system. There are some rendering differences between Safari 2 on Mac and Safari 3 on Windows, but I’m sure those are being worked out to make the two fully consistent with each other (or I just noticed the differences in sites who write sloppy code).
For the most part, it’s what Apple says it is: the Safari browser on Windows that’s faster than IE and Firefox. I totally noticed the difference, even with my “speed tweaked” Firefox 2. Will I use it over Firefox? No, however I may reconsider if it does bookmark sync w/o a .mac account. Will it fully replace my need for the other browsers? No way. There are still many sites who “forget” to put Safari in the list of compatible browsers even though it technically works just fine.
I’m happy to see another decent browser in the pool. I’m sure that it’ll at least hold it’s #4 spot in the list of most common browsers, or at least hold a close #5. It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out.