Safari 4 released as public beta

Safari_coverflow Apple claims the latest version of their web browser is the fastest on the market. 

If you're a fan of Apple's Safari browser, you can now download version 4 for Mac and Windows as part of a public beta.

Amongst the improvements that users can look forward to are:

  • Improved JavaScript performance via a dedicated engine known as "Nitro". Apple claims that Nitro can run JS code 4 times faster than the previous version of Safari, and a staggering 30 times faster than IE 7.
  • Support for HTML 5, which will allow Safari 4 to run web-based applications that are designed to save data locally. Google's Chrome browser, when paired with their Gearsapplication framework also allows apps like Gmail to work even when not connected to the net, so we can probably expect many more websites to start taking advantage of this technology.
  • A Cover-flow style interface for browser bookmarks and history data (see image above). It will display the webpages you've visited as a series of flippable images. While it looks cool, there's a big difference between identifying your favourite album and a favourite website by looking at a thumbnail.
  • CSS effects – once implemented by website designers, this extension to the CSS standard will allow for cool new design elements such as gradients and reflections, previously only available via image manipulation.