Apple Safari 4 out of beta - that was fast
It's official - Apple's Safari 4 is now out of beta. Frankly, I'm not surprised.
I've been running Safari 4 (on a Windows test box) since February when the first Beta came out. Since that time, I know that Apple has updated Safari at least once (mostly for security).
HTML 5 support in my view is the item that will really help to literally change the web experience. Among the HTML 5 supported features in Safari 4, Apple is supporting offline storage, which means that users can access some of their cloud/on-demand data - locally. Offline storage is the standardized approach to what Google is trying to do with Gears. It's not yet widespread across the internet as a whole, but it will be (at least, I think so).
In terms of competition, Apple states in its release that, "Safari quickly loads HTML web pages more than three times faster than IE 8 and three times faster than Firefox 3." Mozilla's MIke Beltzner has told me that Firefox 3.5 (which is nearing completion) is three times faster than Firefox 3 as well (which means that Safari 4 and Firefox 3.5 are nearly the same speed?).
Apple also states in its release that, "Safari is enjoyed by 70 million users worldwide," with Safari 4 now out for both Mac and Windows users, I'd say it's a safe bet that Safari 4 is likely to help Apple grow its base.
Just finished going through Apple's security notes on the Safari 4.0 release.
There are a lot of updates, some more serious than others, but nothing too shocking in my view. WebKit gets a bunch of fixes for images handling and even cross site scripting issues. Safari's private mode also gets a fix to actually keep cookies private -- so if you were using the beta before - guess what? - your sessions were not as private as you may have thought.