Now that the iPhone madness is somewhat behind us, let’s revisit the public beta of Safari 3… on PC. It was quite the shocker when Steve Jobs announced that Apple ported their web browser to the Windows platform — and the big question still is: Why? While a software suite like iLife has the potential to bring in revenue, these days web browsers are given away. So the move isn’t as simple as selling a piece of software.
The prevailing rational for a Windows version of Safari has been to provide developers a testbed to produce AJAX iPhone applications. Which strikes me as absurd. While all modern browsers have their differences (and quirks), for the most part they (attempt) to follow the same standards and provide similar functionality. And it’s not like browser testing tools, Macs running Safari, or even iPhones are in short supply. So I don’t buy this theory either. Here’s another theory I don’t buy: A few have suggested the Safari browser will contribute to the Apple halo effect — as in Safari is so great, Windows users will trade in their computers for Macs.
Of course, I do have my own theory… First off, there isn’t much to v3 – It looks and acts very similar to the prior version of Safari. There are a few obvious enhancements such as resizable text fields, but probably not enough to warrant a new version number. Which leads me to believe we haven’t yet seen everything v3 has to offer. Now let’s combine that nugget with .Mac – which was originally ahead of it’s time in online storage and sharing, but has since languished in the Web 2.0 era. So I’m envisioning the Safari 3 browser as a cross-platform entrance, à la Flock, to a modernized .Mac Flickr+YouTube+del.icio.us-like mashup. Who’s taking wagers?
Originally published on the Amazon Daily blog.