That’s the agonized scream of half a million web designers around the globe. Why? Because Apple just added another browser plus operating system combination to their test suite.
Like iTunes and Quicktime, this is clearly another probing attack into vast Windows frontier. As more and more applications move from the desktop to the Web, the browser becomes the operating system, the ‘last mile’ where users spend more and more of their time.
So, Apple’s move makes sense for the company, but it’s going to be a pain in the ass for everybody building applications for the web. Assuming Safari gets a toe hold on Windows machines, isn’t this going to cost the industry literally thousands of extra hours of compatability testing? Hopefully people won’t switch browsers, they’ll switch operating systems.
Apple’s messaging on the Safari beta page is telling. There’s no killer app here, no “better by a factor of ten” differentiator. It’s just another browser, with bar graphs claiming somewhat better performance. The message: “we’ve got the same features as the browsers you know, and we’re slightly faster”. This move feels about two years too late.