While the iPhone 4 announcement was grabbing all the headlines at WWDC, Apple also announced Safari 5, the latest version of its browser. Unlike Safari 4, which mainly featured cosmetic enhancements, Safari 5 is all about improving performance and adding new features. Apple's auto-update application began making it available to users today.
[ Apple has its work cut out for it: InfoWorld Tech Watch looked at the latest browser market share numbers and saw that in business use, Safari has less than one half of one percent of the market. ]
In the Flash vs. HTML5 battle, Apple has thrown in with HTML5, and Safari 5 is no exception: Apple is touting more than a dozen HTML5 enhancements, including geolocation and video, that allow for better interactive content "without the need for third-party plugins" (ahem Flash).
But not every upgrade is technical, nuts-and-bolts stuff. Apple is heavily promoting the new Reader function, which many users are likely to enjoy. Simply put, Reader detects if a user is reading an article, and then pulls article from any wrapper it might have -- ads, frames, navs, and so on -- and presents it as a single view, sans clutter. Multipage articles are stitched together to form one continuous page that the user then scrolls through.
Finally, in a nod to Firefox's JetPack project, Safari 5 introduces Extensions, a way for users to create their own browser enhancements. Developers use the Extension Builder feature to make their add-ons, which then are bolted onto the browser; for security purposes, all extensions are fully sandboxed, and Apple provides a free security certificate.