Apple introduces Safari 3.1, with some HTML 5 support

Apple on Tuesday released version 3.1 of its Safari Web browser for both Windows and Mac. The incremental update does little in the way of introducing new features, although the company is using it to usher in the next generation of Web standards.

Safari 3.1 is the first browser to support some of the features of HTML 5, the new standard that was released in January. That update to the base coding of the Web includes new video and audio tags, which allow for built-in support of media without proprietary technology.

Offline storage is another part of HTML 5 also supported in Safari 3.1. By caching a portion of a Web page, developers would be able to make their sites load faster by not needing to re-download portions that haven't been changed.

In addition, the browser is also the first to support CSS animations, and CSS3 Web fonts are now supported, which allow Safari to download custom fonts as they are needed.

The Cupertino company claims that Safari 3.1 is far faster than any of its competitors. Apple asserts that the browser can load standard HTML pages at nearly twice the speed of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7, and 1.7 times that of Firefox 2.

JavaScript is also said to load faster with Safari, which has become a common part of Web pages in modern sites. The coding would load about six times as fast as IE7, and four times faster than Firefox 2.

Safari 3.1 is available for download now for Mac OS X or Windows XP and Vista.

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