Archive for the ‘Mac’ Category

Those Relentless Browser Wars

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

Apple’s Safari for Windows and Mac
Firefox 3’s Progress
Camino 1.5 for the Mac

In the wake of Microsoft’s IE7 update, other key browsers are revving in the near future. Both Apple and Mozilla are planning browser upgrades, and as you by now know, Apple’s Safari will be released for Windows too.

It’s great to see Apple planning new things for its browser, but it needs to make its product more mainstream on the Internet. If nothing else, Web development teams will be able to test to the Windows version of Safari before they release their code to their Web sites. Although in these betas, the Mac and Windows versions of Safari don’t always render Web pages the same way. Perhaps even more important, Apple’s stance that the iPhone display the exact same Web as other computers, and the fact that its browser is, of course, Safari-based, means that the offering of Safari for Windows will help Web development teams the world over inadvertently make Web pages work better on iPhone. Score one for Apple.

That said, the current beta of Safari for Windows isn’t a great Windows product. Hopefully Apple will attempt to pay more attention to Windows conventions before it ships the product. My guess is that it won’t, though. I don’t think Apple is out to dominate the end-user browser market. It has set it sights on winning the mobile market with iPhone. Lower-priced phones are needed to make that a reality, but Cupertino has a chance to do just that. It has definitely leapfrogged the competition with the iPhone. So look at Windows Safari as a building block for that goal, not something that’s truly aimed at browser market share.

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The New ‘Santa Rosa’ MacBook Pro 17

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

Just as I was sending last month’s newsletter, Apple released a significant update to its MacBook Pro line. Among other things, the 15-inch model got an LED screen, which I’ve examined closely. It’s very bright, and consistently so across the entire screen. The MacBook Pro LCDs are almost as bright, but like all LCDs, they have minor anomalies, and they tend to fade a bit with age. The expectation is that the LEDs will be more consistent and won’t fade so much. I couldn’t find any downsides to 15-inch LED screen, but I’m interested to hear from readers who have it. If you do, please send me a note and let me know what you think of it.

The new 17-inch MacBook Pro also came with a surprising set of upgrades. Finally, the 17-inch model offers 1,920-by-1,200-pixel resolution. That had been a glaring omission in the previous MBP line. The new higher-resolution display is a $100 option. I vastly prefer this resolution for this size screen. It gives you a lot more screen real estate. Some people may find that some things are too tiny for comfort, but Apple does a much better job than Microsoft at creating UI structures that work well in multiple resolutions. So, for example, the tiny colored dots that let you close, minimize, and expand Finder and program windows appear to be the same size no matter what resolution you’re in. The only issue you may have is with the text of some Web pages. Safari has an optional toolbar button pair that lets you increase the font size of the current Web page up or down one notch. (The Command+ and Command- keyboard combos also handle this.) That was only the only adjustment I needed to make for my aging eyes.

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