Apple Introduces Faster, More Customizable Safari 5 Web Browser

Last summer, we took a deep dive into Apple's (then) newest Web browser, Safari 4. One of the major problems we had with it was the lack of Extensions support that makes Firefox such a great alternative. It seemed to be a fine browser overall, but it lacked that "extra" that Firefox had and has. This week, Apple introduced something other than the iPhone 4 when they took the wraps off of Safari 5.

It's a pretty monumental release for the browser, with the major new addition being Safari Reader. In keeping with Apple's newfound success in the reading/ebook business, this new feature allows users to "read articles on the Web without distraction," mostly by automatically popping the article out into a more book-like fashion for easy viewing. The company also claims that there's a 30% increase in performance over Safari 4, which is great considering we did feel that the past version was a bit sluggish at times, particularly during start-up.

Another interesting point here is that Bing is an option for integrated search. Just as in iOS 4, this isn't the biggest deal per se, but showing Microsoft any kind of love and respect takes a lot of courage for Apple, and it just might be a jab at Google to prove that Apple isn't married to the search giant in any way. Safari 5 is available to download now for both Mac and PC, and it includes "improved developer tools and supports more than a dozen new HTML5 technologies that allow web developers to create rich, dynamic websites," not to mention the ability for devs to now create Safari Extensions to customize the browsing experience.

The download is free, as you'd expect, so be sure to give it a look if you're in need of an alternative from the norm.