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Apple reopens browser wars with Safari

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Our Jagwyre review last August lamented how the poor browsing experience negated many of the improvements in OS X:-

"To sell Macintosh computers to that huge middle ground between novices and geeks, Apple needs to offer a great browser," we wrote.

Apple had already noticed, and is today introducing its "iBrowser" called Safari, which in Steve Jobs MacWorld keynote this morning claimed is 3x faster than the competition. Apple has been working on this for a year, he said, preceding the arrival of coder David Hyatt, which prompted the "iBrowser" rumors last year.

The surprising part is that unlike Chimera, or the lightning-fast Gecko-based browsers such as Phoenix and Galeon, Apple uses the khtml codebase which is used in the KDE Konqueror browser. Apple will release its many improvements to the source base.

The first beta is available for a free download today.

Much of the keynote focused on software. Jobs also introduced a new slide presentation package called Keynote, which takes advantage of Quartz visual effects, and exports PowerPoint, PDF or QuickTime. Jobs invited third parties to extend the product, which will sell for $99.

On show for the first time were a new consumer edition of Final Cut, while iPhoto and iMovie receive substantial free updates (the latter gets chapters).

Jobs vowed to do a Microsoft Office with the "iApps" software suite - we guess he doesn't mean that Apple intends to crank up the price and add bloat, but rather integrate the applications more tightly. Apple brands the bundle as "iLife".

Jobs confounded everyone's expectations (bar our own) by announcing a diversification of the portable range - to mirror the diversification of the notebook business - with a smaller 12" G4 PowerBook and a 17" PowerBook, both with built-in Bluetooth, 802.11g and FireWire 800. More details here. ®

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