Although Safari for Windows is a product that has officially been discontinued since 2012, the web browsing software has maintained a position in the top ten of the download.com ‘Web Browser’ rankings.
Ironically, its overall position is higher than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, and so there must be a number of benefits that generate new downloads every single week. The current rate is 7,500 weekly downloads, and this modest figure has kept Safari in this healthy position. When reading the official product website on apple.com, it may be disheartening for Windows users to see that the majority of advanced features are only available for those using Mac OS systems.
There are still plenty of reasons for downloading it, even if it is only intended to be used as a secondary browser. Safari will always have a certain ‘fashionable’ appeal to it, and this is down to the fact that it is an Apple product. The legacy of Steve Jobs is that any software or hardware needs to be both visually attractive and functional, and Safari for Windows has managed to fulfil these demands. Although there won’t be any official updates to this software in the future, it seems that there will always be a consumer demand for it.
When launching Safari for Windows for the first time, users will notice that there is a 3D element to it. The list of previously visited websites expands over time, and all icons are displayed in 3D. While tabbed browsing isn’t a new concept for net users, each individual tab has a neat little icon that relates to the individual website, making it easy to locate certain content quickly. The ‘Reader’ view is a major benefit when looking at a large amount of text, as the browser removes anything that could be classed as a distraction. Once the ‘Reader’ has processed the page content, the user is presented with a high-contrast version of the website that has the appearance of a newspaper page.
If the user is also an eReader owner, they will already be aware of how easy it is to read content that is presented in this manner. Having a ‘Reading List’ is also a major benefit, as it provides a way of building up a list of websites that need to be checked out in a certain order. The list of available extensions is growing all the time, and they can all be installed with a single click of the mouse.
Although Safari is always destined to be a ‘popular alternative’ that is placed outside of the ‘Big Three’ browsers (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome), there are many features that users may prefer in the Apple browser. The ‘Reader’ function has already been mentioned, and this is something that is usually only available by installing an extension or plug-in. With other extensions, the ‘single click’ installation process of certain plug-ins will offer a slicker user experience than the often temperamental Internet Explorer.
With Safari, users will see this from the very first time that it is opened. The ‘Reading List’ is an interesting twist on regular bookmarks, and again this is something that would have to be configured separately in one of the major browsers. From a cosmetic point of view, Safari can offer a little ‘style over substance’ that will encourage people to spend time browsing the internet within it, instead of using one of the more current products.
If people enjoy having a single type of browser over a number of platforms, it may also be comforting to know that Safari is available anywhere, while Internet Explorer is ominously absent from any iOS product!
Overall, it is clear that the Windows version of Safari will never be a major challenger to one of the more established alternatives. This was probably Apple’s main motivation for discontinuing the product in 2012, although demand for the software continues to remain healthy. Thanks to the Apple brand, anything with this name will always be in fashion, and the dedicated community of worldwide Windows Safari users is a testament to this fact.
Having the native ‘Reader’ function is probably enough to encourage non-believers to download the browser and test it out, and fans of beautifully designed software will love the overall layout and user interface. Anyone who is familiar with an iPhone/iPad/iPod layout will instantly be able to identify with the tabs, frames and search bars – which should be enough to satisfy any hardcore Apple fan.
From a corporate point of view, Apple will always benefit from any kind of presence in a Windows environment, even if it is only for brand recognition purposes. With regards to new versions of Safari for Windows in the future, this possibility is highly unlikely, although people should never say ‘never’ in the world of IT and computing. As a final thought, it has to be noted that Microsoft discontinued Internet Explorer for Mac in January 2006, and they didn’t even leave it up as an available download!
About Apple Inc
As the developer and publisher of the Safari for Windows browser, Apple is a company that requires no introduction. However, it is interesting to note that the continued popularity of the software may be due to the worldwide growth of iPod, iPad and iPhone products. Many consumers are not fans of Apple Mac computers, but the same people are extremely enthusiastic about their handheld Apple devices. All of these have a mobile version of Safari installed, and so they will already have a familiar love of this software. This curiosity will often lead to them downloading the Windows version, even if they remain a user of one of the other major browsers. Microsoft also has a large part to play in all of this, as Apple decided to integrate Bing into the Safari search engine functionality - this is a service that is operated by Microsoft. This is one of a number of instances of co-operation between the two computing giants, and this can only be a good thing for the wider computing public. Windows PCs often have a version of iTunes that has been installed, and Safari is an extension of this style of software design.
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