Safari Speed – It’s Really About the Mac

13 Jun ’07

There’s been tons of attention paid to Safari, the OSX browser, since WWDC – principally because Steve Jobs made the seemingly head-scratching announcement there that Apple was releasing Safari for Windows. Mathew covered that angle ably in his post yesterday. What I’m intrigued by is the torrent of Apple hate that the announcement has released. Everybody and their brother is now out in force on the Web with sonorous pronouncements about how insecure Safari is, or how slow it is on Windows doing this or that (the latest blather here, and Joel Spolsky – who originally called Windows Safari slow but has since retracted – here). So many axes, so much grinding.

For me, this all speaks more to Mac envy and Windows insecurity than anything else. For reasons best left to the marketing folks, Apple has always been more of a cult than a brand, with lots of strange consequences playing out on the part of people with so little identity of their own that they need to borrow one from a brand.

Unavoidably, I suppose, much of the posting is detailed benchmarking about speeds – boys do love to compare – and something about all of these stats has really struck me. Inevitably, they’re stats about browser speed, but of course always on Windows. Holy cow is browsing on Windows slow!! My year-old MacBook Pro, running Safari, blows away all of the Windows browsing benchmarks I’ve seen, whether on Windows Safari, Firefox or IE7 – even Joel’s times on his “brand new, 2.33 GHz Core-2 Duo laptop” running, er, Vista.

I think Safari on Windows is a great idea – the developers need a sandbox, and over the longer run Apple needs to be tested more rigorously among the larger user population. And as to the drivebys on Safari, boys will be boys. For my part, I’m just happy I made the switch a long time ago, and don’t have to muck about with a stopwatch anymore.

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