Apple today introduced Safari 3, the world’s fastest and easiest-to-use web browser for Macs and Windows PCs. Safari is the fastest browser running on Windows, based on the industry standard iBench tests, rendering web pages up to twice as fast as IE 7 and up to 1.6 times faster than Firefox 2. Safari joins iTunes in delivering Apple’s legendary user experience to both Windows and Mac users as well as full support of open Internet standards. Safari 3 features easy-to-manage bookmarks, effortless browsing with easy-to-organize tabs and a built-in RSS reader to quickly scan the latest news and information. Safari 3 public beta is available today as a free download at http://www.apple.com/safari

“We think Windows users are going to be really impressed when they see how fast and intuitive web browsing can be with Safari,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, in the press release. “Hundreds of millions of Windows users already use iTunes, and we look forward to turning them on to Safari’s superior browsing experience too.”

Safari loads and draws web pages up to twice as fast as Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 and up to 1.6 times faster than Mozilla Firefox 2. The speed of Safari combined with its intuitive user interface lets users spend more time surfing the web and less time waiting for pages to load. Other Safari features now available to Windows users include SnapBack, one-click access to an initial search query; resizable text fields; and private browsing to ensure that information about an individual’s browsing history isn’t stored.

Safari 3 supports all modern Internet standards so users can view websites as they were meant to be seen, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, SVG and Java. Safari software updates are delivered seamlessly through Apple’s Software Update application, which automatically checks for updates.

The free public beta of Safari 3 is available immediately as a download at http://www.apple.com/safari and is preview software licensed for use on a trial basis for a limited time. The final version of Safari 3 will be available as a feature in the upcoming Mac OS X version 10.5 Leopard, and will be available as a free download to Mac OS X Tiger and Windows users in October.

Safari 3 for Mac OS X requires Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.9 or later, a minimum of 256MB of memory and is designed to run on any Intel-based Mac or a Mac with a PowerPC G5, G4 or G3 processor and built-in FireWire. Safari 3 for Windows requires Windows XP or Windows Vista, a minimum of 256 MB of memory and a system with at least a 500 MHz Intel Pentium processor.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple offers another glass of ice water to people in hell.

MacDailyNews Note: It will be very interesting to see what this does to Safari’s market share. Net Applications’ Browser Market Share for May, 2007: Microsoft IE – 78.67% , Firefox – 14.54% , Safari – 4.82% , Netscape – 0.83% , Opera – 0.74%