Apple releases Safari 4 from beta

Safari logo

Apple has ripped the beta tag from Safari 4, as it throws down the speed gauntlet to Firefox and Chrome.

Tweaks from the beta release are minimum, though the most evident involves tabs. In the beta, Apple moved the tabs to the top of the window - an experiment that resulted in trimmed pages title and few admirers.

The full release brings them back beneath the favourites bar, and slims them down to free up screen space. Another feature drafted in since the beta is Safari's handling of plug ins.

They're now sandboxed, meaning that should a Flash plug-in crash it won't take your browser with it. Instead the page featuring it will continue to run, until it's reloaded.

Elsewhere, Apple is standing by many of the claims made for the beta, principally its speed. Apple boasts that Safari 4 will render Javascript intensive pages up to 30 times faster than Internet Explorer 7 and more than three times faster than Firefox 3.

The company also claimed Safari will trounce the opposition when it comes to loading HTML web pages, touting a three times improvement on both Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 3.

The other big additions to the browser are the new Favourites Page displaying a concave wall of thumbnails showing your frequently visited sites, resplendent with shadows and reflections.

Elsewhere, the history section of the browser now has a Cover Flow display, which allows users to flip through their visited web pages as they would the covers of their albums on an iPod.