I must admit that when I saw the news about Apple releasing a version of its Safari browser for Windows, I wondered why the hell anyone would care, unless they happened to be Apple devotees who wanted a familiar browser to use on a Windows box. After all, if you want an alternative to Microsoft’s Internet Exploder 7 (and who doesn’t), there’s always Firefox, and it does lots of things that Safari doesn’t, such as supporting plugins. And then after reading more about it, I realized — like Stan Schroeder and Scott Karp — that it is a kind of Trojan Horse, designed to enable developers to work on apps for the iPhone, etc. and thereby become a kind of platform for future Apple widgets and software. Smart.
For what it’s worth, I think Safari is cool and everything — although it has a kind of retro feel to me for some reason — but I will echo the comments of several people who say it looks kind of fuzzy. For my money, Microsoft’s ClearType makes a huge difference when it comes to readability of fonts — particularly at high resolutions — which is why I’m not a big fan of most Linux installs either.
But I have to say that Safari moves pretty fast when loading pages. And in my totally unscientific tests, it used substantially less memory than Firefox and somewhat less than Flock, but not as little as Explorer (which if I recall cheats a little when it comes to RAM usage). Still, I have to agree with Leander Kahney of Wired’s Cult of Mac blog — as a user, why would I bother with Safari?