RealTime IT News

Apple Continues Safari For Panther Users

Looking to improve its standing in the browser marketplace, Apple Computer has launched an upgrade to its Safari platform, albeit with a definite need to upgrade to the Panther operating system.

The application lets end users opt for a personal certificate, generated by a certificate authority, instead of a password to securely authenticate to supported Web sites.

The newest version also includes Apple's LiveConnect support for communication between JavaScript and Java, which impacts Web sites that that require two-way communication between the browser and Java applets. Using LiveConnect also requires an upgrade to Java 1.4.2, which is a free download.

Based on the KDE Project's KHTML code, Safari version 1.2 is available as a free download on the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer maker's Web site or through Apple's Software Update service. The most notable improvements include the addition of Apple's Keychain technology.

Apple also released version 124 of its Safari Web kit. The update lets developers put the Safari rendering engine in their applications.

The upside is that Safari in general includes built-in Google search; SnapBack to instantly return to search results; a completely new way to name, organize and present bookmarks; tabbed browsing; and automatic "pop-up" ad blocking. Safari is localized for English, Japanese, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Brazilian Portuguese, French Canadian, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Swedish, Korean and Simplified Chinese. The company maintains that its browser is faster than Internet Explorer, Netscape and Mozilla's Camino.

The downside is that Safari 1.2 requires Mac OS X v10.3 (also known as "Panther"), which orphans users running even the most recent version of OS X v10.2x (known as Jaguar).

"Our goal with Safari all along was to have the best browser on any platform," Apple Internet Product Manager Kurt Knight told internetnews.com. "We wanted to make a browser that was fast, standards compliant and one that featured the innovation that Apple is known for."

Apple has been pushing hard to upgrade its members to its OS X and especially its Panther platform. During its annual Macworld Conference and Expo, CEO Steve Jobs said it is on track to reach 10 million users and 10,000 native applications written on its Mac OS X operating system.

The latest Safari also allows for full keyboard access for those who like to navigate Web pages without the use of a mouse. The latest browser also takes advantage of Apple's caching technology, which allows for interruptible downloads. In that way, Knight said users could continue partial downloads without having to re-download the entire file.

While the browser was scooped up by an estimated 5 million Apple enthusiasts since its introduction last June, Knight said the company would have a harder time quantifying how many people are actually using its browser since it is the default setting on all new Macintosh computers.

While Safari the client version is rolling along just fine, the back-end system has had bug problems recently. Last month, Apple issued patches for area after some unspecified vulnerabilities were found in two Apache modules. Knight said the company is in constant communication with its Safari users though its built-in feedback feature in the browser.