Happy 10th birthday Safari! Thanks for changing everything

“There was once a time when the ‘mobile’ web was significantly different from the ‘real’ one, but that bridge has been gapped over the past 10 years thanks – primarily – to Apple’s browser,” Geoff Duncan writes for Digital Trends. “Ten years ago, Apple CEO Steve Jobs surprised the Internet world by unveiling Safari, a new desktop Web browser. Apple’s goal was to provide a fast and simple, yet first-rate, Web browsing experience for the Macintosh. Apple has since added new features, but amongst Mac browsers Safari has always had an edge for behaving like a Mac app – and often leading the pack for sheer performance.”

Duncan writes, “Safari’s biggest impact over the last ten years isn’t reflected in usage statistics; rather, it’s in WebKit. WebKit is software that displays Web content. Apple created WebKit for Safari, but now it’s everywhere… Through WebKit, Safari has played an enormous role moving mobile devices away from the lame Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)-driven ‘mobile Web’ to making smartphones and tablets full-fledged – and soon to be dominant – players on the ‘real’ Web. As weird as it sounds, if you’ve used the Internet from a smartphone or tablet, you probably have Safari to thank… By forking KHTML and birthing WebKit, Safari’s influence has been at least as important to the modern Web as Internet Explorer and Netscape’s most-famous progeny, Gecko and Firefox.”

“Who are all these WebKit users? To start with, they’re the hundreds of millions of people using iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads. Need hundreds of millions more?” Duncan writes. “WebKit is also at the heart of Android. Since the first devices went on sale in 2008, the Android browser has been based on WebKit. As of BlackBerry 6, the Playbook and BlackBerry smartphones use WebKit; so does Samsung’s bada mobile operating system, Amazon’s cloud-assisted Silk browser for Kindle Fire tablets, and even the experimental browser Amazon puts in recent Kindle ereaders. Browse the Web on a Nintendo 3DS? It uses WebKit. The upcoming Tizen mobile OS is making a bet like webOS: Tizen is Linux under the hood, but the interface is powered by WebKit.”

Much, much more in the full article – highly recommended – here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
How Apple’s Safari browser started life as ‘Alexander’ and hid itself from the world – January 4, 2013
Thanks, Steve: HTML5 takes the Internet by storm – May 8, 2012
Steve Jobs to Bill Gates – Kiss my ass – January 7, 2003
Steve Jobs Macworld Keynote live coverage here – January 7, 2003


  1. WebKit is great, but Safari on OSX is poor. Too sad that Chrome is so much faster, easier, better in any way. I wish Apple would blow Chrome away.

    Same as too often. Great ideas, great start, but then losing the focus. Pages, Numbers, Logic, MacPro, amongst others.

    1. I’ve always found Safari faster and better than all other browsers on Mac. Just today I tested a website (I’m a web developer) on Firefox and Chrome and found that the webpage refreshed slower and the scrolling was not as fluid as Safari. As the article says Safari often is at the top of Benchmarks.

    1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Chrome is also built on webkit.

      The article goes out of it’s way to tout that important point. And Safari doesn’t suck! Suck is Firefox, IE, Opera, etc. Safari and Chrome are the best – and similar.

  2. Chrome is nice but phones home to Mtn View hourly- supposedly to check for updates. I think I’ll pass on Chrome.

    Chromium works well and doesn’t phone home all the time. It’s more stable on my Macs than Safari.

    Seems that Safari started getting slower about the time Apple introduced Top Sites and gets less responsive the longer your browsing session gets. Been that way for quite a number of iterations.

    BTW: Is Dave Hyatt still running Safari development at Apple?

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