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.
Safari 5 is now available for Windows and Mac systems.