Safari is Apple's iconic super fast and elegant web browser for Mac.
Please note that version 6 is now available for Safari but it can only be obtained by running software update in OS X 10.8. This download is for the last directly downloadable version 5.1.7.
Version 5 sees some exciting introductions such as a new Reader icon for easier reading in one page, faster page load times and vastly improved HTML5 support. All of the previous features in Safari, such as tabs on top for easier page management and Cover Flow to flip through your bookmarked sites iTunes style have been retained too.
If you're new to Safari, the first thing you'll notice is how clean it feels compared to many other browsers. There are no annoying toolbars or plugins installed and the result of this is that Safari looks trim and loads pages very quickly. The other benefit is that maximum space is given to the contents of your page rather than a chunky browser.
In the previous version of Safari, Apple introduced Top Sites which is one of the most impressive aspects of Safari. It shows a panoramic thumbnail view of your most visited sites in one screen. Just click on the window you want to visit that site. This certainly looks cool, although its day-to-day usefulness is questionable. It is a good way of tracking which sites you visit most frequently though and you can lock your favorite sites to one single position so that you'll always know where it is when you open Safari. Sites with a star in the corner denote those with new content.
Meanwhile Cover Flow lets you browse through your bookmarks presenting full page views of the sites as they looked the last time you browsed them. The principle is based on flipping through albums in iTunes. Again, this looks cool although usually, I don't really care what the site looked like the last time I visited it - I just want to get there as quickly as possible. What I do like is the History Search - just type a word and Safari throws up every single page it has cached with that word on - very useful when you can't remember where the hell you saw the name of that person or game.
In this latest version of Safari, the most notable feature is the new Reader which allows you to view all of your content on one page although there is no way to change the font. There's also a new Bing search option for Safari's search field, in addition to Google and Yahoo! HTML5 support has been improved meaning you can now view HTML5 video in full screen plus HTML5 Geolocation features are now available to Safari users. Navigating in Safari has also been made much easier due to a more predictive URL bar which actually searches cached webpages for keywords and archiving of exactly when you viewed certain pages is more precise and refined.
In addition to these changes, all the standard features in Safari remain. By clicking on the RSS tag in the URL bar, you can get a view of all the posts in a feed, which you can present chronologically and get a detailed or a title view. There will be inevitably some programs and plugins - such as 1Password - that don't work with this new version of Safari but these issues will quickly be ironed out by the developers of respective software.
I love the look and speed of Safari but the lack of plugins available compared to Firefox and general instability issues mean that it's still going to be a while before Apple can lure me over to their browser.