Apple Updates Safari Browser

Apple on Monday released a new version of its Web browser for Mac OS X Panther with new security and Java features.

Apple Computer Inc. on Monday released an update to its Safari Web browser that adds new digital certificate and Java support as well as greater keyboard accessibility.

Safari 1.2 is only available for Mac OS X 10.3, known as "Panther." The update takes advantage of Panthers Keychain feature for enabling its support for personal certificate authentication. Web sites now can provide users with personal certificates, generated by a certificate authority and stored in Keychain, for authentication instead of only user names and passwords, said Kurt Knight, Internet product manager at Apple.

A new feature in Safari 1.2 called LiveConnect also requires Java 1.4.2. LiveConnect allows for two-way communication between the browser and Java applets. A browser typically communicates in one direction to run a Java applet, but with two-way communication a Java applet could also talk back to the browser allowing, for example, the applet to refresh a Web page as it runs, Knight said.

"Today is just the continuation of the rapid evolution of this browser," Knight said.

Other new features in Safari 1.2 include full keyboard access to navigate a Web page without a mouse and the ability for users to resume an interrupted download without having to start from scratch.

Apple, of Cupertino, Calif., announced its entry into Web browser development a year ago and released Safari in June as its browser of choice for the Mac OS X. The browser is based on the KHTML open-source rendering engine and supports World Wide Web Consortium browser standards. The computer makers move into the browser space also led to Microsoft Corp. ending its development of Internet Explorer for the Mac.

Knight declined to provide any update on the penetration of the new browser in the market. In the overall browser market, regardless of platform, Safari has almost doubled its market share rising to 0.48 percent in January from 0.25 percent in July, according to data from Web analytics vendor It falls behind various versions of Internet Explorer, the Mozilla open-source browser and Opera Software ASAs browser.

Safari 1.2 is available now through Apples Software Update and as a free download here.