Apple today released its first public beta of Safari 4, a completely new web-browser which shows substantially improvement in term of performances and features compare to its predecessors. This new Safari 4 packs a powerful new Nitro JavaScript engine and support for all the latest major internet standards such as HTML 5 and CSS 3. Safari 4 also brings a bunch of new features such as a flashy Top Sites view which display frequently visited pages, full history search, a completely redesigned Windows UI, the complete text of recently viewed pages; Cover Flow, etc.

“Apple created Safari to bring innovation, speed and open standards back into web browsers, and today it takes another big step forward,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Safari 4 is the fastest and most efficient browser for Mac and Windows, with great integration of HTML 5 and CSS 3 web standards that enables the next generation of interactive web applications.”

The new Safari 4 shows significant improvement in term of performance. In the release statement, Apple highlighted that the Safari 4’s new Nitro JavaScript engine executes JavaScript up to 30 times faster than Microsoft’s IE 7 and more than three times faster than Firefox 3. Apple also remarked that the new browser is three times faster than IE 7 and Firefox 3 respectively when loading HTML web pages. In term of features, Safari 4 has enlightened users with a handful of new things, including:

  • Top Sites, a display of frequently visited pages in a wall of previews so users can jump to their favorite sites with a single click;
  • Cover Flow, to make searching web history or bookmarks “as fun and easy as paging through album art in iTunes;”
  • Full History Search, where users search through titles, web addresses and the complete text of recently viewed pages to easily return to sites they’ve seen before;
  • Tabs on Top, for better tabbed browsing with easy drag-and-drop tab management tools and an intuitive button for opening new ones;
  • Smart Address Field, that automatically completes web addresses by displaying an easy-to-read list of suggestions from Top Sites, bookmarks and browsing history;
  • Smart Search Field, where users fine-tune searches with recommendations from Google Suggest or a list of recent searches;
  • Full Page Zoom, for a closer look at any website without degrading the quality of the site’s layout and text;
  • Built-in web developer tools to debug, tweak and optimize a website for peak performance and compatibility; and
  • A new Windows-native look in Safari for Windows, that uses standard Windows font rendering and native title bar, borders and toolbars so Safari fits the look and feel of other Windows XP and Windows Vista applications.

[Note: If Top Sites and Cover Flow do not work in Safari 4, make sure your graphics card supports Quartz Extreme (for Mac OS X) or DirectX 9 (for Microsoft Windows)]

The new Safari 4 public beta version for both Mac OS X and Windows can be downloaded free at Apple’s site via the link here.


Update: Apple Safari 4 Final