Apparently, Safari's best browser times are behind.

    Steve Jobs called Safari the best browser on the planet. Of course, not everyone agrees with him. But at one time, this browser was able to go beyond the Apple ecosystem and was welcomed by Windows users. Today, the browser is held in high esteem not only among desktop users, but also among owners of iOS-based mobile devices. The most popular browsers can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Safari is one of them.

    If Apple were a little less ambitious (which was impossible to imagine under Jobs) and accommodating, Safari might not have been born. In the early 2000s, the company decided that any dependence on strong competitors impedes development. Thus, in 2003, Apple took a tough and uncompromising stance towards Microsoft, flatly refusing to renew its contract to use the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser for Mac OS X. Jobs secretly created its own Internet browser from everyone. The work was conducted in an atmosphere of strict secrecy.

    Behind the seven seals

    Back in 2002, when Dave Hut was prudently invited to the company. This is a legendary person in the browser community. Prior to Apple, he worked at Netscape from 1997 to 2002.

    Moving to another IT company of a developer of this level could not go unnoticed. Gossip and rumors appeared. There was no direct "evidence", and it could not be, because the secrecy of the project was simply surpassing. Therefore, the public had no choice but to chew the same rumors about the development of a new product several times and guess at the coffee grounds.

    As Don Melton, who led the Safari team at that time, recalls, ordinary employees (not involved in the development) had no chance to find out more. The Safari team has just not been locked, but still the strictest non-disclosure subscription has been taken from each employee. It got to the point that the browser was launched only behind closed doors, and all the logs were immediately erased. I even had to go for the concealment of IP addresses so that curious webmasters did not “slip through” a surge of incomprehensible activity from Apple. Stirlitz would envy such conspiracy.

    The fact is that Steve Jobs was going to detonate another bomb of public interest, and therefore insisted on strict observance of secrecy. And the bomb exploded!

    From the shadows to the market

    Jobs demonstrated a beta version of Safari for Mac OS X at a Macworld conference.
    The novelty was greeted with joy. Users realized that Safari left Microsoft Internet Explorer far behind.

    The new browser was developed on the basis of the open engine WebKit, which served as the basis for other browsers: Google Chrome, Chromium and Yandex. This engine, of course, is the most successful due to its speed and stability. Its plus in the performance of Apple developers are also visual effects specific to Mac OS.
    Soon after Safari, Internet Explorer for Mac was discontinued.
    On April 14, 2003, the second public beta was released. It implemented features such as autocomplete forms, tabs, the ability to clear the cache and cookies, import bookmarks from Netscape and Mozilla, and improved support for web standards and AppleScript.

    On June 23, 2003, the first official release finally appeared. Version 1.0 added support for iSync synchronization bookmarks, added all Mac OS X localizations, expanded support for AppleScripts to control a web browser, and improved support for web standards.

    A separate story is related to the choice of a name for the browser. The name Safari was not approved immediately. The "draft" name of the project was Alexander, it was under him that he went through all stages of development and testing. Then there was the idea to name the browser Freedom. The idea failed due to the fact that in the USA this name was associated with a popular series of feminine hygiene products. As a result of the brainstorming, the Safari variant appeared, which was subsequently approved by Jobs himself.

    In 2008, a mobile version of Safari for iOS devices appeared.

    Safari for Windows

    Historically, Apple’s community of device owners has a special relationship with the company's software products: they are all fairly closed relative to the ecosystem. The new browser was bundled with the company's products. Everyone who owned the "apple" gadgets, by that time loved Safari. Full-fledged members of the ecosystem certainly brought most of the profit, but Steve Jobs decided in 2007 to push Safari out of the community.

    The huge market for Windows users has opened up attractive prospects for the browser. Jobs in 2007 announced Safari for Windows XP and Windows Vista. He hoped that he could squeeze players on a new field.

    The public welcomed Safari for Windows with joy. Within a year, the browser from Cupertino squeezed the original inhabitants of this operating system - Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, taking 6% of the total browser market. Such a good start inspired optimism.

    In addition to active advertising of the browser itself, Jobs simultaneously popularized Apple and its operating system (Safari interface elements were made in the style of Mac OS), as if attracting new participants to its ecosystem.

    The appearance of the program was very different from the usual type of programs in Windows: the interface elements (buttons, scrollbars, input fields, drop-down menus, checkboxes and others) were made in the style of Mac OS X (Aqua interface). Also, version 3.x for Windows used its own font smoothing system (in versions 4.x, 5.x for Windows, you can choose between a font smoothing system from Apple or Microsoft). In the latest versions 4.0, the program interface has been redone to become more familiar to Windows users, and the design color has also changed to a lighter one.

    Discontinuing Windows Versioning

    Someone who finds pros in this, some are solid minuses, but history does not tolerate subjunctive moods: having collected quite a few flattering reviews and awards over the 4 years of its existence on Windows platforms, Safari nevertheless left this market in 2011.

    July 26, 2012 Apple officially notified all browser users that version 5.1.7 will be the latest release for Windows. The development of new versions was completely discontinued, and the browser again began to develop exclusively within the Apple ecosystem.

    Apple stopped supporting the Windows version of its Internet browser silently, as they say, without noise and dust. After the release of the long-awaited OS X Mountain Lion, all references to the PC version of the Safari browser disappeared from the Apple website. That is, in general, everything is direct and indirect.

    What made Apple completely abandon Safari support on PC? Why refuse a program that does not require ongoing technical support? The most common version is this: the browser did not get the level of popularity that Apple was counting on. Or perhaps the plan to lure users to Mac OS failed.

    After that, some users began to fear for another product of the company: “who knows, all of a sudden Windows users will soon be denied using iCloud?”

    The Windows platform was the only one to which the developers of the browser “descended”. Apple has not released Safari for Linux or Android.

    Criticism from the past

    Recall that they wrote at that time about the “pros” and “cons” of the browser in one of the reviews:


    Safari starts by default in a fairly compact form, its window occupies only three-quarters of the screen area, automatically adjusting the entire contents of web pages to the window.
    The browser supports several tabs at the same time, searches through the built-in tools (Google - on Mac OS X, Google or Yahoo - on Windows), has the ability to block pop-ups and synchronize address books on Mac and Windows.

    For users who want to be incognito on the Internet, a private browsing function has been developed, that is, a mode in which cookies are not accepted, no browsing history is entered, and the entered data (including passwords) are not stored.

    Among the other positive qualities of Safari can be called the presence of a built-in RSS-aggregator and the ability to scale the input area.

    In addition, the browser automatically recognizes web pages with non-standard fonts, supports CSS3 and HTML5 standards, integrates QuickTime and has the function Cover Flow.

    Other positive features of Safari are Snapback, which allows you to return to the original search results, and Web Inspector, which allows developers and users to view DOM web pages. I think we need to remember about the possibility of checking spelling in text fields.


    Safari has a very boring interface.

    Safari is very difficult to use.

    Safari speed is not available to users with GPRS connections. Safari is significantly inferior to its counterparts, sometimes without opening the page at all, when other browsers successfully cope with the task.

    Function Safari Top Sites is already very picky about the hardware capabilities of the computer - it will not be seen by many owners of devices with low video system characteristics.

    There are no security zones and the ability to disable expansion modules.

    Unpredictability when opening pages optimized for Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer.
    Slow launch of the browser and the inability to copy the contents of the web page completely.

    But all this was more than 5 years ago. Although since 2012, strangely enough, there have been no significant changes in the browser for a long time.

    Safari today

    In early July, along with beta versions of new and old operating systems, Apple released the next version of the Safari Technology Preview browser. This browser is intended for developers who want to get acquainted with the web technologies of the future and prepare their products for working with them.

    According to information on the Apple website, the new version of Safari Technology Preview contains code fragments for the implementation of future support for Apple Pay and the integration of this payment system for sites.

    Apple Pay integration for sites was introduced at WWDC 2016, and it will become part of Safari 10, which users will receive along with a free update on macOS Sierra this fall, according to

    Commercial break

    Goldman Sachs analysts say that Google seeks to grow in the online advertising market through a partnership with Apple. Moreover, the companies concluded a deal according to which the Google search engine is now preinstalled in the Safari browser by default.

    In 2015, Google’s revenue from mobile search advertising reached $ 11.8 billion. According to Goldman Sachs analysts, the company earned almost $ 9 billion thanks to iPhone and iPad users. Safari provided half that amount.


    According to recent research, it became known that American users began to actively switch to the "apple" browser. It is reported by with reference to the Digital Analytics Program. The analytical agency reported that the share of Safari browser in the United States rose to 21.9%, moving Internet Explorer to third place with a score of 20.1%. Google Chrome is still the leader in the USA, taking 43.1% of the US browser market.

    However, TopTen Reviews allocates locations in a different way:

    StatCounter maintains its statistics, taking into account more than 15 billion page views on 3 million sites.

    According to StatCounter, the leader in the global browser market has long been Chrome, whose share in June 2016 rose to 58.26%. Firefox is in the second position (almost 14%). Internet Explorer and Safari share the third line, earning about 9.7% of traffic last month.

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