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Apple debuts Safari 5 for Mac and Windows

JavaScript boost, extensions, 'article' reader

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Apple has released Safari 5 for both Mac and Windows.

There was no mention of the Apple's latest web browser this morning at the company's annual developer conference in San Francisco, but the company did spit out a press release in tandem with its release detailing the iPhone 4, due on June 24; iOS 4 (née iPhone OS 4.0), due June 21; and the debut of iAds, set for July 1.

The latest incarnation of Safari uses the Nitro Javascript engine, and Apple is claiming a 30 per cent Javascript boost over Safari 4 — we've done no formal benchmarking, but it does, indeed, feel snappier.

The browser also gives you the option of using Yahoo! or Microsoft for search — not just Google. And Apple is now offering kit for building Safari extensions as part of a Safari Developer Program. All extensions will be sandboxed and digitally signed by Apple.

Also new is the Safari Reader, designed to aid the reading of online articles. The Safari Reader is not an RSS client — instead, it automatically detects what it decides are "articles" and reformats them. In essence, if it detects an article, it launches an overlay pane that includes only the text, and grays out the source web page behind it. You might call it a de facto ad blocker.

Apple's 30 per cent Javascript boost claim is based on a SunSpider testing with an iMac 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo system running Mac OS X 10.6.3, with 4GB of RAM. According to Apple, the browser also loads new webpages faster using Domain Name System (DNS) prefetching and improves the page caching, so you can more quickly return to pages you've viewed in the past. You can download the new Safari here. ®

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