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Good news Safari goers, Apple's Safari 5 browser just popped out

Safari 5 brings HTML5 expansions, a faster JS engine, CSS3 improvements, and extensions.

It also packs an easy-to-use RSS feed reader, shown here with our RSS feed.
Apple brings HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS3 improvements, plus extensions and a new RSS reader

Last year at its Worldwide Developers Conference Apple officially launched Safari 4, the latest version of its web browser.  This year Safari 5 was widely expected to be announced by Apple CEO Steve Jobs during his keynote, but was nowhere to be found.

Instead, Apple quietly launched the latest version of its browser last night without much fuss.  Safari 5 can be downloaded here, direct from Apple.  The installer takes up 31.03 MB.  It is available for both Windows and Mac (sorry, no Linux).

Testing Safari 5:

The new browser offers a number of compelling new features.  Among Apple's biggest claims is that the browser is much faster.  It utilizes a new JavaScript engine called Nitro, which Apple says runs scripts 30 percent faster.  Apple claims its engine is twice as fast as Firefox 3.6 and 3.0 percent faster than Google Chrome 5.0.

Rather than take these claims for granted, we downloaded Safari 5 and took it for a spin versus Firefox 3.6.4 and Chrome 6.  If you're wondering why we used Chrome 6 instead of Chrome 5, we did so because it's easily obtainable (you can download it here), so we felt it was a more fair comparison.  As to our testing methods, all three browsers were run through three synthetic benchmarks under an identical environment.  We prefer synthetic benchmarks for browser comparisons as custom comparisons like page load times are more subjective, more prone to human error, and prone to difference due to connection variability.  Our results were as follows

SunSpider Benchmark
1. Chrome 6.0.408.1       489.6ms +/- 3.9%
2. Safari 5.0 (7553.16)   600.4ms +/- 1.1%
3. FireFox 3.6.4            1396.6ms +/- 14.6%

JSBenchmark (by Celtic Kane)
1. Chrome 6.0.408.1       355 ± 0
2. Safari 5.0 (7553.16)   252 ± 0
3. FireFox 3.6.4              100 ± 0

Futuremark Peacekeeper Benchmark
1. Chrome 6.0.408.1      5162 Points
2. Safari 5.0 (7553.16)  2606 Points
3. Firefox 3.6.4             1939 Points

The results pretty much speak for themselves.  Apple is absolutely correct in saying that Safari 5 is twice as fast as Firefox 3.6.  In fact, our Javascript benchmark times (Sunspider, JSBenchmark) showed it to be between 2.3 and 2.5 times as fast.  However, Safari 5 is still a good deal slower at scripts then Chrome 6.


Returning to the general features, one major shift is that the browser now features Microsoft Bing as one of its default search options (in the upper right search bar).  Depending on how you look at it, this is either a sign of Microsoft and Apple's increasing friendship or a sign that Google and Apple are no longer as close.

Yusuf Mehdi, a Senior Vice President of Microsoft's Online Audience Business Group states, "Needless to say, we are excited that Bing will be included as an option in Safari because it will make it easier for you to search and get the benefits of Bing."

At his WWDC keynote, Jobs praised Bing, stating, "Microsoft has done a really nice job on this, it’s an HTML5 presentation, it’s great."

Speaking of HTML5, many missing features of the standard have been implemented in Safari, including fullscreen playback and closed captioning, geolocation, sectioning elements, draggable attributes, form validation, Ruby, EventSource, AJAX History, and WebSocket.  These should help Safari be able to handle the most advanced web apps.

As discussed before, Apple supports the use of a proprietary video codec -- h.264 for HTML5.  While this is quite a good codec, it is not free, so if you're doing a big video web app, you will have to pay licensing fees.  It should also be noted that Jobs is reportedly a major stockholder in MPEG-LA, the organization that sells licenses.

Returning to the features, the browser features a new RSS reader, which offers significant improvements in reading in a clear, uncluttered environment.  To "Reader" button will appear on some pages in the same place that the "RSS" button is -- inside the URL bar on the far right.  If the page supports the feature, you will enter Reader mode (if the button says RSS, for example on DailyTech, you can instead click to view the RSS feed, as in Safari 4).

This new feature stitches together articles -- even if they span multiple pages -- and removes a certain level of distractions, such as certain ads.

Rounding out the features, the browser also has improved CSS3 and, at long last, extensions.  Apple offers a new extension builder which allows for development, installation, and packaging of extensions in an easy to use environment.  Extensions are run in their own sandboxes to prevent nasty crashes from taking down the browser or malicious extensions from hurting the system.


In all Safari 5 looks relatively compelling.  Apple, which currently holds 4.77 percent of the market, looks relatively competitive thanks to key improvements to its browser.  It still has a ways to go to match Firefox in terms of number and quality of extensions.  And it still has a ways to go to match Google's Chrome in pure speed.  And unlike Firefox, it uses proprietary video codecs.  Overall, though, it's among the most full-featured and fastest browsers and worth a look.

Tests run on a MacBook Pro with an Intel Core2 Duo 2.8 GHz T9600 CPU, with 4.00 GB of RAM, a NVIDIA Geforce 9600M GT GPU, and Windows Professional 64-bit Edition (Boot Camp)

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By roostitup on 6/8/2010 10:12:59 AM , Rating: 3
Love the Ace Ventura screen shot, but could care less about safari...

RE: well...
By Phynaz on 6/8/2010 10:28:08 AM , Rating: 5
Could or couldn't?

RE: well...
By roostitup on 6/8/10, Rating: -1
RE: well...
By Brandon Hill on 6/8/2010 10:32:34 AM , Rating: 5
How much less could you care? ;-)

RE: well...
By ApfDaMan on 6/8/2010 10:56:29 AM , Rating: 4
Over Nine Thousand!

RE: well...
By Alexstarfire on 6/8/2010 10:40:28 PM , Rating: 2
HAHAHA, good one. I just watched that episode yesterday too, on the "new" series.

RE: well...
By quiksilvr on 6/8/2010 11:23:46 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, you have no idea how much i could care less. My carelessness knows now boundaries. Care about my decreasing caring that I secretly caress myself to sleep at night.

RE: well...
By Quadrillity on 6/8/2010 11:30:27 AM , Rating: 2
Ouch, my brain hurts now.

RE: well...
By FaceMaster on 6/8/2010 5:05:35 PM , Rating: 3
The only time Daily Tech readers care about an Apple-based story is if it's negative towards them.

RE: well...
By teko on 6/8/2010 12:58:06 PM , Rating: 3
Web browsers compared with car/transportation analogy:

RE: well...
By LRonaldHubbs on 6/8/2010 1:53:54 PM , Rating: 2
Excellent. Although I must point out one flaw.

Chrome and the upcoming Firefox 4 both look VERY similar to Opera, so clearly not *everyone* else thinks Opera looks stupid.

Opera has its cons, no question, but looking stupid isn't one of them.

RE: well...
By B3an on 6/8/2010 9:38:08 PM , Rating: 1
It's Opera that looks similar to Chrome. Chrome has always looked how it does, but with more recent versions of Opera they have gotten more like Chrome.

And Chrome now has tons of addons, i've now switched to it from FF because of this. It's the fastest browser around with all the best addons that FF has, cant get much better than that.

Even on my hex-core i7 with RAID SSD's i can notice the speed improvement of this browser.

RE: well...
By LRonaldHubbs on 6/9/2010 7:17:40 AM , Rating: 2
Chrome has always looked how it does, but it's also only been around for <2 years. At launch Chrome looked similar to Opera, and it still does. Opera had the minimalist interface, unified dropdown menu (as a user-enabled option, not the default), and speed dial startup interface all before Chrome even existed. Opera also had tabs before any of the other browsers.

RE: well...
By inighthawki on 6/8/2010 5:58:55 PM , Rating: 2
A funny picture indeed, but I fail to see how firefox's addons make it unusable by any means. In fact, if it weren't for half of the addons I have now, I would deem it as unusable...

RE: well...
By teko on 6/8/2010 6:13:11 PM , Rating: 2
They're not unusable, they just bog down the performance.

I love my FF addons, they're very useful.

RE: well...
By inighthawki on 6/8/2010 7:01:30 PM , Rating: 2
All of the addons i have totaled up add like, 1-2 seconds to cold startup time, otherwise I would hardly say addons make firefox sluggish.

who cares?
By muhahaaha on 6/8/2010 2:00:27 PM , Rating: 2
who cares if my java-script takes a few less microseconds to execute? I'll stick with Firefox because it has plug-ins like ad-block and no-script.

I don't want iAds in my face, and I have flash, so I don't really care about HTML5.

The specs haven't even be finalized, so there is no guarantee your HTML5 code won't have to be completely re-written down the road. That would suck for Apple lol.

RE: who cares?
By bothaus on 6/8/2010 2:09:44 PM , Rating: 2
I tested on same model Macbook Pro 2.8GHz T9600 with 9600GT GPU. Only dif is 6GB or RAM not 4GB.
All performed on OS X 10.6.3.
Safari destroys on OS X. Just sayin'. It beats Chrome by about 10% on everything.

563+ JSBench
280.2 Sunspider
5180 Peacekeeper

RE: who cares?
By jrick47 on 6/8/2010 2:31:33 PM , Rating: 2
These stats don't mean anything if you don't have benchmarks for Chrome or Firefox to compare to

RE: who cares?
By bothaus on 6/8/2010 2:52:12 PM , Rating: 2
OK then. I misspoke on the 10%. Chrome appears to be very similar to Safari. I was just using Dailytech bench numbers. What it does show is OS X is quite a bit faster than Win on same HW. Firefox is lagging though.

Google Chrome:
335.6 SunSpider
546 JSBench
5285 Peacekeeper

838 SunSpider
192 JSbench
2791 Peacekeeper

RE: who cares?
By bug77 on 6/8/2010 3:45:58 PM , Rating: 1
Something's really, really wrong. I own an E8400 w/ 4GB RAM and Chrome 6 score about 8000 points. It must be an Apple thing, cause Jason's result were way off last time he benchmarked Chrome, too.

RE: who cares?
By Alexstarfire on 6/8/2010 10:45:41 PM , Rating: 2
Or maybe it's because you don't have the same system he does? Pretty sure that accounts for the difference you see.

RE: who cares?
By bug77 on 6/9/2010 4:43:26 PM , Rating: 2
I know I have 200MHz extra and a desktop CPU. My memory is a rather modest DDR2-800. But I don't think that accounts for the 60% increase in the final score.

RE: who cares?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/8/10, Rating: 0
RE: who cares?
By tastyratz on 6/9/2010 9:00:42 AM , Rating: 2
who cares? I care. A few milliseconds here and there on a bench is a percentage. If its twice as fast as firefox then a webapplication with a complicated javascript component which might take 4 seconds to crunch on safari is 8 seconds on firefox. its only 4 seconds but the point is its 50% more efficient.

While it is not enough to sway my browser choice decision a collectively faster browser that's lighter on its feet is going to provide an overall better experience. I wont run safari but it puts pressure on firefox and competitors to drive that much more for efficiencies.

RE: who cares?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/9/2010 3:34:16 PM , Rating: 2
Tests run on a MacBook Pro with an Intel Core2 Duo 2.8 GHz T9600 CPU, with 4.00 GB of RAM, a NVIDIA Geforce 9600M GT GPU, and Windows Professional 64-bit Edition (Boot Camp)

All we know it it's a few miliseconds faster on this Macbook Pro. That doesn't mean it IS faster.

Why not OS/X
By ashtonmartin on 6/8/2010 10:58:24 AM , Rating: 2
Considering that most Safari users are Mac people, why not run it on OS/X? I'm assuming it's much more optimized for Mac than for Windows.

RE: Why not OS/X
By GreenEnvt on 6/8/2010 11:10:25 AM , Rating: 2
Mostly because it's a far better use of your time to benchmark on a system that applies to 90% of the market, not 10%.

RE: Why not OS/X
By JasonMick on 6/8/2010 1:19:05 PM , Rating: 2
Mostly because it's a far better use of your time to benchmark on a system that applies to 90% of the market, not 10%.

Exactly. Except I think saying Safari/Macs have ten percent of the market is being overly generous. It's more like 5 percent of the market...

RE: Why not OS/X
By GreenEnvt on 6/8/2010 3:13:34 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, I figured I was less likely to be flamed for overestimating OSX market share then underestimating.

RE: Why not OS/X
By garrun on 6/8/2010 5:30:29 PM , Rating: 2
Love the benchmarks, but since you benched the OS with > 90% of the market, why not bench the browser with > 80% of the market? Where's IE?

RE: Why not OS/X
By sebmel on 6/8/2010 9:28:09 PM , Rating: 2
Since you are discussing what people will experience surfing the web then you need to consider website traffic analysis.

Apple Mac sales worldwide are somewhere between 3 and 5%.
Website traffic is higher.

North American figures are 11%. If you add in mobile browsers that North American figure becomes 12%.

Finally, here's an interesting graphic breaking down Apple earnings by product, over time:

RE: Why not OS/X
By Quadrillity on 6/8/2010 11:11:11 AM , Rating: 3
Running the new Safari on OS/X isn't a feature yet ;)

OSX benchmark
By ikim on 6/8/2010 12:47:07 PM , Rating: 2
On my macbook 13" (C2D 2.53/NVidia 9400M, OSX 10.6 Snow Leo):

SunSpider: 330.4ms +/- 1.4
JSBenchmark: 512 ± 0

RE: OSX benchmark
By FaceMaster on 6/8/2010 5:08:24 PM , Rating: 2
SHUT UP! You're clearly an Apple fanboy since you're saying something positive about them where they deserve it. Why don't you listen to the intelligent minds at Daily Tech who all agree that Apple is BAD, even when it's good? You're such a fanboy.

RE: OSX benchmark
By Alexstarfire on 6/8/2010 10:49:44 PM , Rating: 2
Man, it's become popular to bash people who cast a negative light on Apple. Not sure why.

To the OP, different system = different results. Test Chrome and Firefox too to have a proper comparison.

RE: OSX benchmark
By FaceMaster on 6/9/2010 7:41:19 AM , Rating: 2
Man, it's become popular to bash people who cast a negative light on Apple. Not sure why.

Believe it or not, this site is full of fanboys. Sure, they'll deny it, but I can't see that Apple is really that bad. I'll never buy a product from them, but I know plenty of people who do. I just don't think that people on this site understand how business works.

Flaw Already
By hermes101 on 6/8/2010 11:13:49 AM , Rating: 2
After installing last night, discovered it will not run Netflix on line, and I needed my Dexter fix, had to use time machine to get back my Safari 4 and watch Netflix. What else was not tested, or is this on purpose.

RE: Flaw Already
By GuinnessKMF on 6/8/2010 12:17:49 PM , Rating: 2
I am pretty sure that Netflix uses Silverlight, a Microsoft plugin. It's hard to decide who to point the blame too, especially since we don't know what communication happened between companies.

I think it's the duty of the browser maker to at least open lines of communication with major plugin developers, if the browser maker (apple) broke some API that was used, and didn't leave in a deprecated method, then it's there fault. If the plugin developer was using a deprecated method, one might be able to point blame at Microsoft (depends on how much warning on that deprecation and how it fits in their dev cycles).

You could potentially even point the blame towards Netflix, for not staying ontop of developments in the space and ensuring they stayed compatible (Although Netflix being a huge portion of Silverlight adoption, I would think they should only have to say to Microsoft 'Hey, make sure we keep working on all these browsers', and pass the buck).

Large companies not properly communicating/working together for whatever reason, and the user suffers, nothing new.

RE: Flaw Already
By bothaus on 6/8/2010 2:14:48 PM , Rating: 2
Not a flaw with the browser. All you need to do is enable the developer menu and change your user agent to Safari 4.1 to spoof Netflix version sniffing. Log into account again and it works just fine. I guess the tech level is fairly low here. Netflix just needs to address their site. But let's just all start blaming the tech.

By morphologia on 6/8/2010 4:53:29 PM , Rating: 3
I'm sure that's nice and all if you use Safari. I've been using Opera and it's been awesome performance-wise. Pages load almost instantly no matter what.

I really couldn't care less abour Safari. I've never liked it.

RE: Yawn...
By justjc on 6/8/2010 9:01:23 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you completely, people with Opera shouldn't really care about Safari 5.

Still I took it for a ride earlier today though, just to see if they finally lived up to their claim "The world’s fastest browser, Safari has speed to burn." found in their What is Safari description of the browser.

Long story short, Opera is still living up to its desktop motto "The fastest browser on Earth".

In Peacekeeper my relatively weak PC(Athlon II x2 240 processor, 4GB Ram and integrated Radeon HD3200) using a fresh install of Safari 5, earlier today(with Peacekeeper being the first and only page open), only managed to score 4206. I write only because I just ran it, using Opera 10.60 having 8 open tabs(7 DailyTech and one streaming video), and still scored 8051. As far as I can see it's the best score posted here yet.

Those interested can try the latest Opera 10.60 build(all OSs) at it's quite stable for an Alpha. After all if I can beat every Peacekeeper score, posted so far, just imagine what a more powerful computer could do with this browser ;-)

By fsardis on 6/8/2010 10:56:59 AM , Rating: 2
At least that's how I see it and I generally dislike Apple as much as the next guy around here. I love it on my Macbook Pro which I generally hate using for any serious work.
It is worth noting that Apple is advertising Safari as the fastest browser in the world on their site. However, the most important feature of this update is the Reader button. I think it is brilliant whether it is their own idea or not. Works great with every article I have used it so far.

Safari 5 on macbook 13" mb467
By ikim on 6/8/2010 2:45:30 PM , Rating: 2
Safari 5 on my macbook mb467 (C2D 2.53GHz/NVidia 9400M, MacOSX 10.6.3):

Futuremark Peacekeeper Benchmark 4083 Points

Overall on Mac OS X 10.6.3
By ikim on 6/8/2010 3:25:26 PM , Rating: 2
Macbook 13" MB4767 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 ???
Mac OS X 10.6.3

SunSpider 0.9:
Safari 5 330.4ms +/- 1.4
Chrome 5.0.375.55 355ms +/- 1.6%
Firefox 3.5.9 1165.8ms +/- 0.9%

Safari 5 512 ± 0
Chrome 5.0.375.55 531 ± 0
Firefox 3.5.9 155 ± 0

Futuremark Peacekeeper Benchmark:
Safari 5 4083 Points
Chrome 5.0.375.55 5291 Points
Firefox 3.5.9 1684 Points

Meh...a browser is a browser
By callmeroy on 6/8/2010 3:46:49 PM , Rating: 2
This may sound odd because everything is going web-based these days, but with the exceptions of a few base features and expecting reliability I really don't get "excited" over new browsers....its a very boring and mundate piece of software.

Its odd how some folks get worked up over talking about them like its some awesome new game or something.

Name it whatever you want and any company can make it just make sure it:

1) Works on Windows PCs (specifically a Win 7 64 bit version would be nice)
2) Reliable...main thing that pisses me off with a browser is when it crashes all the time...
3) Uses tabs ...any browser that doesn't feature tabs these days is just stupid
4) Support web standards so you can pretty much view any web site w/o having it look too stupid or load to slow

and 5 at least some what fast....

That's about it...

safari and opera
By webtax on 6/8/2010 9:35:52 PM , Rating: 2
here are my sunspider and peacemaker (but on windows) results for safari 5 and opera stable and snapshot

safari 5_________347.8
opera 10.60_____283.4
opera 10.53_____335.9

Opera 10.60__7893
Opera 10.53__5937
Safari 5.0____4440

you can check the peacemakers details, like complex graphics(canvas) which isn't taken into account in the final score, here

By BugMeister on 6/8/2010 10:55:50 PM , Rating: 2
I find this real world test a bit tainted. Chrome 6 was used since it was readily available. Why didn't you use a Safari nightly build, it's readily available too. Here's what a Safari recent nightly build does in SunSpider: 370.6ms +/- 2.0% Ran test on older MacBook Pro 2.16GHz with 3 GB RAM. So much for the comparison....hhmmm ;-)

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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