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.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob Hyndman June 13, 2007 at 17:10

Let’s bring back mudwrestling to settle the debate once and for all. Dvorak is first in – LOL.


rod / June 13, 2007 at 17:08

Rob – fair enough! Fanatics are great and add so much color; the funny thing is to see fanatics come out in defence of a Microsoft product – its a funny inversion to see MS as a design underdog.

Anyway – all the best,


Rob Hyndman June 13, 2007 at 16:34

Hey, thanks for the comment, Rod. I certainly agree that the horde has that way, but I have to say I didn’t see it that way here. I saw the WWDC announcement and then a massive pile on in the Windows camp. Frankly, I suspect there’s as much fanaticism on the pro- as on the con- side when it comes to anything to do with Apple or Microsoft.

Re Jobs reality distortion field – agreed for sure. But that’s marketing, and it strikes me that it’s time for the Windows crowd to get over it and move on. Apple does that well. That’s life, I think.


rod / June 13, 2007 at 14:32

Rob, I don’t think its so much a case of “mac envy” as it is a reaction to the Apple-horde’s self-righteous (and vociferous) perception that anything APPL puts out is inherently superior. The vehemence of the reaction, in the context of either speed, font-rendering, or security, is directly proportionate to the hyperbolic-ness of Steve Jobs’ pronouncement – which promised Safari to be the best browser eva. Apple has profitted by making great products that life up to Steve’s reality distortion field; in the case of Safari, they dropped the ball and the web is calling them on it – IMHO!

BTW – my “anti-spam word” to post this comment was “neocon” – funny stuff!


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