Apple releases Safari 5 with Safari Reader, Extensions and Bing search (updated)

Apple has just outed a press release for Safari 5, which curiously didn't get a mention during the company's WWDC10 keynote, but should be ready to download any minute now. Safari Reader is making its debut, as we'd heard it might, alongside a claimed 30 percent performance improvement over Safari 4 and -- mirroring the iPhone 4 -- Bing as one of the preloaded search engine options. Google and Yahoo are still around, don't freak out. Apple is also adding in Extensions (think Firefox's Add-Ons) to the browser, allowing devs to use HTML5, CSS and JavaScript to pretty up the browsing experience. The Reader feature intrigues us most, as it auto-detects articles within webpages and pulls them out for an unencumbered text-only view. The idea sounds great, but we'll naturally need to see how well it works in practice. Apple's been doing a bit of benchmarking too and boasts that Safari 5 runs JavaScript a whole three percent faster than Chrome 5.0 and over twice as fast as Firefox 3.6. Internet Explorer is presumably still working on finishing that test.

P.S. We're hearing the current release might be for devs only, hence the lack of a public download.

Update: Okay, now it's available for public consumption.

Update 2: We've been playing with Safari 5 for a few moments and here's what we've noticed:

  • Reader is pretty gorgeous -- think Instapaper on the fly. It's hard to tell when it'll kick in and show the Reader button in the toolbar, though -- it works on Engadget posts, but not in Wikipedia articles.

  • Yes, Netflix is broken. It seems like it's doing a browser detect and failing with the new build number, so we'd guess it'll be fixed soon.

  • It's much faster at everything from launch to rendering times. We haven't clocked it yet, but it's noticeably snappier on our quad-core i7 iMac.

  • We're dying to try out some Extensions and see how they work, but we haven't seen any yet. Same with the new HTML5 features -- hit us up if you see anything!

  • Bing Search integration is... Bing search integration. What else is there to say?

Show full PR text

SAN FRANCISCO, June 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Apple today released Safari 5, the latest version of the world's fastest and most innovative web browser, featuring the new Safari Reader for reading articles on the web without distraction, a 30 percent performance increase over Safari 4,* and the ability to choose Google, Yahoo! or Bing as the search service powering Safari's search field. Available for both Mac and Windows, Safari 5 includes improved developer tools and supports more than a dozen new HTML5 technologies that allow web developers to create rich, dynamic websites. With Safari 5, developers can now create secure Safari Extensions to customize and enhance the browsing experience.

"Safari continues to lead the pack in performance, innovation and standards support," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "Safari now runs on over 200 million devices worldwide and its open source WebKit engine runs on over 500 million devices."

Safari Reader makes it easy to read single and multipage articles on the web by presenting them in a new, scrollable view without any additional content or clutter. When Safari 5 detects an article, users can click on the Reader icon in the Smart Address Field to display the entire article for clear, uninterrupted reading with options to enlarge, print or send via email.

Powered by the Nitro JavaScript engine, Safari 5 on the Mac runs JavaScript 30 percent faster than Safari 4, three percent faster than Chrome 5.0, and over twice as fast as Firefox 3.6.* Safari 5 loads new webpages faster using Domain Name System (DNS) prefetching, and improves the caching of previously viewed pages to return to them more quickly.

Safari 5 adds more than a dozen powerful HTML5 features that allow web developers to create media-rich experiences, including full screen playback and closed captions for HTML5 video. Other new HTML5 features in Safari 5 include HTML5 Geolocation, HTML5 sectioning elements, HTML5 draggable attribute, HTML5 forms validation, HTML5 Ruby, HTML5 AJAX History, EventSource and WebSocket.

The new, free Safari Developer Program allows developers to customize and enhance Safari 5 with extensions based on standard web technologies like HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. The Extension Builder, new in Safari 5, simplifies the development, installation and packaging of extensions. For enhanced security and stability, Safari Extensions are sandboxed, signed with a digital certificate from Apple and run solely in the browser.

Pricing & Availability

Safari 5 is available for both Mac OS X and Windows as a free download at Safari 5 for Mac OS X requires Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.8 or Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.2 or later. Safari 5 for Windows requires Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista or Windows 7, a minimum 256MB of memory and a system with at least a 500 MHz Intel Pentium processor. Full system requirements and more information on Safari 5 can be found at The Safari Developer Program is free to join at

*Performance will vary based on system configuration, network connection and other factors. All testing conducted by Apple in May 2010 on an iMac 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo system running Mac OS X 10.6.3, with 4GB of RAM. JavaScript benchmark based on the SunSpider 0.9.1 JavaScript Performance test.

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution with the Apple II, then reinvented the personal computer with the Macintosh. Apple continues to lead the industry with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system, and iLife, iWork and professional applications. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.

2010 Apple Inc. All rights reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, Mac, Mac OS, Macintosh, Leopard and iMac are trademarks of Apple. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.