Apple unleashes Safari 4 for Windows

Apple was wildly criticized when it launched Safari for Windows. That first version was so unstable and buggy it didn’t cause the best of impressions.

But things have changed a lot since then, and today we see the release of a far more stable, robust and reliable Safari 4 Beta. The new version features the same minimalist gray interface most Mac users love – not me, sorry – but hides a few aces up it sleeve that make it really appealing, even for those of us who have a lifelong relationship with Firefox.

Safari 4 features a new, minimalist interface

Thanks to the aforementioned minimalist interface, Safari 4 Beta can devote a lot of space to web page rendering – which, by the way, is still incredibly fast. During our tests we didn’t have any problem with any site we visited, including JavaScript forms, embedded videos and other special web elements. Safari also includes some interesting tools such as spellchecker, support for zooming in and out, and even an incognito mode that enables you to browse the web without leaving any traces.

But that’s not all. The new Safari 4 makes use of the well-known Cover Flow feature and uses it to display websites listed in your bookmarks or browsing history in a much nicer way. Besides, every time you open a new tab you get a special document called Top Sites with all your recently visited web pages.

The Top Sites feature is a reqal masterstroke by Apple

On the downside, I still found problems with this new Safari: thumbnails in Top Sites didn’t load until you visited the site, and the Cover Flow browsing system didn’t work properly either. What’s more, I even managed to make the browser crash when trying to import bookmarks from Firefox. Finally, I didn’t find Safari that user-friendly, especially regarding tab management: they look really weird in the title bar, and it’s difficult to drag them around because you need to click on a small top corner on the tab.

Safari has improved a lot in stability and reliability, and is still an amazingly fast browser. However, there are still a few details in this version that keep the program far from perfection.

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