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First Look: Safari 5 with new Reader view

updated 09:40 pm EDT, Mon June 7, 2010

Browser features performance improvements

Following the iPhone 4 announcement on Monday, Apple has introduced the latest major update to its Safari browser. Although the company boasts a variety of under-the-hood improvements in v5.0, the new Safari Reader is a welcome addition to the visible interface.

The Reader view is designed for reading articles, whether the content is short or several pages. Safari automatically detects articles and places a Reader button on the far right of the address bar.

Enabling the Reader mode focuses the view on the body of the article, darkening other website elements such as ads and menus. Without the distracting ads, websites are presented in a similar way to a dedicated e-book reader. The entire body of text is displayed as a continuous page for easy scrolling.

Using the Reader interface makes most articles seem like an e-book. A pop-up menu provides options for zooming the text to suit individual preferences. The software even remembers the last setting.

Although Safari successfully recognized all of the articles during brief testing, some of the body images were omitted. The Reader usually presents a single image at the beginning of the text, although it sometimes misinterprets an advertisement as an article image.

Overall, the Reader view is a great way to read news or other text articles without the clutter of advertisements. The same technology that removes the unwanted content also purges items that should stay, however, which causes problems when reading certain articles that require images or charts for proper understanding.

The dependability seems to be inconsistent, as the software includes all of the necessary images on certain sites and drops too much content from others. As this is a brand new feature, the effectiveness will likely improve as Apple hones its filtering methods and developers tweak their sites to guarantee compatibility.

Apple has also improved the performance with v5, bringing the JavaScript speed up by 30 percent over v4. The company claims its browser is slightly faster than Chrome 5.0. Other enhancements -- such as Safari Extensions on CSS, HTML5, and JavaScript -- will be difficult to gauge until web developers have a chance to take advantage of the new capabilities.

Safari 5 is now available for Windows and Mac systems.

by MacNN Staff



  1. DanielSw

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Even MacNN is faster on Safari 5!!

    This site is one of the slowest loading of all the sites I visit, and now it's pretty quick!

    Comment buried. Show
  1. facebook_Justin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2010


    comment title

    You forgot to mention it brings that piece of c*** Bing search as a search option now, sadly.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. umijin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What a dawg

    I dunno, on my machines Safari 5 is a dog - as slow as v4 and much slower than Chrome. As for reader view? Puh-lease. RSS readers are not that much in demand with things like NetVibes and GoogleReader as web apps.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Please, I don't need to be seeing Obama (or Bush) on MacNN. Can we have a different screenshot please.

  1. Mike Richardson

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not so perfect

    Is anyone else having problems with the browser refusing to load webpages, when the same ones work just fine in Camino?

    I'm on Safari 5, Leopard, on a Power Mac G5.

  1. herojig

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Reader seems like a cheap gimmick...

    I guess this style of reading will appeal to some, but the beauty of reading web pages is that you DO see the charts, graphs, pics, videos, etc. embedded on the page along with the text, all there for easy clicking. Reading an article on NYT in reader mode is just an unnecessary click fest. But I guess it's just one small step away from once-annoying banner and small ads that my eyes are now trained to completely ignore .

  1. Geobunny

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Why is MacNN using screenshots of Safari running on Windows?

  1. vintagegeek

    Joined: Dec 1969


    READER View - Like It!

    Downloaded and tried the Reader Feature. I like it very much. Gets rid of the clutter and increases font size so I can read it easily. As far as speed goes...once I reset safari and emptied cache it was best I've ever had with Safari. I still think it's slower than Chrome, and I still prefer Firefox since FF has the extensions and add-ons I really like. The add-ons may exist for Safari but have you ever tried to find them on the net. Wish Apple had a nice library of add-ons like Mozilla does for FF.

  1. Bogartte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Yep, way better!

    I never liked Safari 4, way too slow, and buggy. This new one is really fast, and just handles better. Plus, they brought back the blue progress stream, which is great (for some reason, I like it better than the spinning progress icon.)

    Safari just seems more user friendly than Firefox, or any of the others - and now it is almost perfect!

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Reader view?

    Wow, I wish I could find enough web sites where I could read things like news. Nowadays it seems half the news links I follow want to waste my time with video.

    And it would be better if they just did 'full screen' and not have the stupid transparency layer to distract the reader.

    Then again:
    Overall, the Reader view is a great way to read news or other text articles without the clutter of advertisements. ...As this is a brand new feature, the effectiveness will likely improve as Apple hones its filtering methods and developers tweak their sites to guarantee compatibility.

    And if I know developers, they'll make sure they'll tweak their sites to not allow safari to hide their advertisements.

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