Apple Shows Off Safari on Windows, Leopard Features

A demonstration of the Safari browser on Windows at the Apple World Wide Developers Conference upstages long-expected announcements about Mac OS X Leopard and the iPhone.

SAN FRANCISCO—News that Apple had created a version of its Safari Web browser running on Windows overshadowed the long-anticipated presentations on Mac OS X Leopard and the iPhone at the opening keynote of Apples Worldwide Developers Conference on June 11.

Jobs demonstrated for the first time the Safari Web browser running on Windows, calling it "the fastest browser on Windows." A free beta of the browser is available today on Apples Web site.

The development of Safari on Windows is an important milestone, since Apples move to Intel processors has given Macintosh users the option of running Windows as well as the Mac OS X operating system.

Jobs also disclosed that the Safari Web browser will be the platform for developing and distributing third-party applications for Apples new iPhone, which is scheduled to be released on June 29.

He acknowledged that Apple had left unclear how developers could create applications for the new device. Apple has been "trying to come up with a solution" that would at once be open yet keep the iPhone "secure and reliable," he said.

Calling it a "really innovative" way to develop applications, Jobs said because the Safari Web browser for the iPhone was based on the "full Safari engine," developers will be able to "write amazing Web 2.0 plus AJAX [Asynchronous JavaScript and XML] applications" and integrate them with iPhone services.

"Theres no SDK you need," Jobs said, noting that one could develop using Safari on the desktop and be ready to deploy at the iPhones release date.

At WWDC in 2006, Jobs made the first public mention of Leopard, the next version of Mac OS X, due in October 2007. This year, he previewed some new features but left some a mystery, saying that there were 10 "top-secret" new features he could not reveal.

Jobs did reveal 10 Leopard-only new elements, but eight of those 10 were features hed already shown a year ago.

Those eight included Quick Look, which allows users to open file contents in the Mac OS X Finder; full 64-bit support; the Core Animation API; Boot Camp, which will no longer be a beta in Leopard; Spaces, a built-in virtual desktop manager; new Dashboard features such as WebClip, which allows users to make their own widgets from Web pages; new iChat features; and Time Machine, an automated backup and recovery system.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read why some didnt expect Apple to reveal many of its secret plans at its Worldwide Developers Conference.

The new features Jobs demonstrated were desktop and Finder improvements, though neither represented a major overhaul of the Mac OS X interface.

Most pronounced in the desktop was the addition of Stacks, which Jobs called "simply folders in the Dock that allow you quick access to content." Reminiscent of tabbed folders from the days of OS 9, Stacks reside in the Dock but, at a click, spread out their contents onto the desktop for quick access. Jobs demonstrated how a Stack can be used as an application launcher, and noted that Leopard will have one Stack by default for downloads.

The desktop in Leopard will also feature a translucent menu bar and a three-dimensional-perspective Dock.

Next Page: Reviewing Leopard features.