Why Safari for Windows looks like a Mac application

One thing that really stands out in the Windows version of Safari is that it's exactly identical to the Mac version, almost down to the pixel level. That must have been quite a pain to achieve, and it would probably have been way easier to use the OS for many things. Does Apple really think PC users will go "gee, that Mac UI is really sweet, I think I now have an uncontrollable urge to buy a Mac"? Probably not.

So here's my hypothesis:

Safari for Windows is not intended to take over the Windows browser market, nor is it a showcase for the wonderful-mac-ui-that-if-only-we-knew-it-would-make-us-all-switch. It's an emulator.

Its one and only purpose is to make sure that devs who work on PC can build apps that will run on the iPhone and on the Mac. Especially the iPhone: when you have relatively little screen real estate, making your UI fit is no easy task, and the closer the browser on your dev machine is to the real thing, the better.

So here's my bet: when the final version of Safari ships, it will have an option to emulate the iPhone.


  • I totally agree, if you read the analysis from Paul Thurott on this you will see he thinks of things the same way, it is all about tapping into the market of developers who use windows.

  • I agree. Its all about the iPhone and the windows developers.

  • I agree as well, but all Apple needed to keep the same for emulation is the rendering engine. They didn't need to bring the window chrome with it, or if they did, it should be embedded in a standard window. As it is currently, it destroys consistency with the basic windowing conventions and creates more interaction issues (e.g., multi-monitor/maximize bugs) for them as they try and make it mimic the behavior of standard Windows applications.

  • yeah, i too believe that is the case.

  • This is exactly how we're using it. Since Safari has in the past required a subscription to Mac OS updates we literally had to borrow an up-to-date Mac at the end of projects for testing to avoid constantly buying OS upgrades.

    With Safari having been released for the PC we can now do proper browser testing, and I can't think of any other reason to use it.

  • It HAS to be because of that. Safari is HORRIBLE even on the mac, I don't think windows users buy it's design...

  • No conspiracy theory necessary. Safari is a derivitive of Konquerer, the KDE browser, which was coded in C, so it makes sense that the core areas are coded in C as well, only the widget linkages may require Obj-C, and since it is a windows binding only the widget portions would require heavy re-work.

  • Sorry, but why can't they build a new UI?

    The one they have at the moment works fine, why start again, and make it look like a boring Windows app?

    Its not as if IE7, Office or Media Player etc are keeping a consistent look - they are all going for the custom UI.

    And for end users, this gives them another browser to choose from... which can only be a good thing... especially since FireFox market share has stopped growing so rapidly (which is a shame)... but Safari has another source of converts, the users of iTunes.

    If the market share for IE can drop below the 50% mark, then Microsoft might start doing some real work on that browser... which is basically still using the same engine as the 5 year old IE6!

  • Maybe it's the beginning of more Apple apps being ported to Windows. iLife? There may be a core in Safari which could be used by other applications.

  • I disagree. Safari, for one thing, renders text in a way that makes it much easier to read (for me). So I think I'm gonna start using it as soon as its final version is released. And, of course, from now on, my apps will support the Safari browser!

    MS guys better off think of supporting the "canvas" element in IE. (And, yeah, I do know that'll never happen :)

  • Since Safari has in the past required a subscription to Mac OS updates...

    How long ago was this? I've been using Apple Computers for 6 years now and this has never been the case.

  • This has to be the reason ... I have several PC's in the house ... no Macs. I can't say I care enough about Safari support enough to go out of my way to make sure it's ok. I'm not what you'd call a web dev who walks the edge of browser support. I learned my lesson years ago regarding that.

    Maybe if I'm in CompUSA I'll pull up some of my sites for the hell of it. But if I had a Mac I would check it.

    I have enough on my hands making sure things work in IE6 , 7 and Firefox.

    So why did I download Safari and try to install it twice seeing the first time botched because Apple rushed this beta?

    Easy ... I now have an easy way to make sure my sites look and work OK in Safari. So why not?

    It's not uncommon to hear (though less and less) ... "works in IE and Firefox" ... but Safari is left out. So I too think this is a move by Apple to elevate the user experience for the MAC crowd by increasing the # of sites that are designed on a PC and look and work just as good on a Mac as they do on a PC.

    Your theory makes total sense.

  • It's all about Apple/Mac's...

    You know they, oops It's simple to turn off UAC, tend to, oops It's simple to turn off UAC, beat their chest about trivial issues with MS.

    Funny though that they have now exceeded MS for the number of issues with their OS in 1 month timeframe.

  • hmmm maybe but if the nex safari for windows results like this one..... the most probably is that anyone use it because the program have a lot of problems.

  • Um yeah, i use the final version of safari, and i love it. its great.

Comments have been disabled for this content.