Apple Releases Safari 3.1 for OS X, Windows

With the Windows version out of beta, Apple calls Safari "the world's fastest Web browser" on both platforms.

Apple on March 18 released Version 3.1 of its Safari Web browser for Mac OS X and Windows XP and Vista.

The company claims the latest version offers improved security and stability, support for new Web features, and a significant performance advantage over browser rivals.

Apple said its tests show Safari 3.1 will load pages 1.9 times faster than Internet Explorer 7 and nearly that much faster than Firefox 2. Firefox 3, which offers rendering speed improvements and reduced memory usage, is in the late stages of beta testing.

Security improvements include protections against spoofed secure Web sites, cross-site scripting, buffer overflow attempts and more.

Safari 3.1 supports CSS animations, video and audio HTML 5 tags, and CSS Web Fonts. This is the result of changes to WebKit, the open-source "engine" of Safari. WebKit is made up of the WebCore and JavaScriptCore frameworks, which developers can use to integrate Web viewing into their own applications.

Apple has made the changes available under applicable open-source licenses.

This version update also includes new features for users. Among these are the ability to double-click on the tab bar to open a new tab, an indicator that appears if the Caps Lock key is on during password entry, and a Developer menu.

Safari 3.1 is the first non-beta version of the application. Although Apple's technical notes say Version 3.1 should offer improved stability, some Windows users complained about the beta version crashing.