Archive for March, 2009

Deceptive Safari 4 Marketing

Last month, Apple released the Safari 4 beta. A few Opera users, myself included, decided to take action after viewing Apple’s false marketing claims. The following is the result of a combined effort. It’s not entirely finished yet, but it’s good enough to cross-post it right now to draw some extra attention to it.

Everything that follows is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article “Deceptive Safari 4 Marketing.”


When the Safari 4 beta was released, on February 24, 2009[1], Apple Inc. published a feature list claiming a long list of innovations, inventions, and browser firsts[2]. While Safari 4 may contain numerous features that are new to current Safari users, many of these have been publicly available to users of other browsers for quite some time, invalidating many of Apple’s claims.

Contents

Falsely Claimed Innovations In Safari

Implemented Prior to Safari’s Initial Release

The first public beta of Safari was released on January 7, 2003[3]. This is a list of innovations claimed by Apple that were first added in other browsers prior to Safari’s release.

  • Built-in Google search: Apple claims that “Safari was the first popular browser to build a search field into its user interface” (emphasis added). The first public beta of Safari was released on January 7, 2003[3]. Opera 5, however, which was released on December 6, 2000[4][5], already featured a built-in search field[6][7]. The second version of Mozilla Firefox (Phoenix 0.2), which was released on October 1, 2002, contains a similar feature[8]. Consequently, Apple’s usage of “popular browser,” which has been suggested to validate this claim[9], is ambiguous at best[10].
  • CSS 3 Web fonts: Apple claims that “Safari is the first web browser to automatically recognize websites that use custom fonts, downloading them as they’re needed” (emphasis added). However, Internet Explorer 4, released in 1997[11], sports this feature as well[12].
  • Downloads window: Apple asserts that “Safari was the first popular browser with a download management window.” However, Opera 3.5, released on November 18, 1998, first introduced a transfer window to the Opera browser[13]. Similarly to the built-in Google search, if Opera is assumed not popular enough to falsify the claim, Firefox (Phoenix 0.1) had this feature nearly half a year prior to Safari on September 23, 2002[8].
  • Inline Progress Indicator: While Apple states that “Safari was the first browser to move the progress indicator into the address field,” Opera first added this feature in Opera 5.10, released in 2001[14].
  • Movable tabs: In Apple’s words, “Safari was the first browser to let you organize tabs by dragging and dropping. … Rearrange tabs by dragging their tab handle left or right. Drag a tab out of a window to create a new window. Or drag a tab from one window to another window to merge their tabs” (emphasis added). Opera 7 Beta 1, released on November 13, 2002[5], came with “Extended and vastly improved drag-and-drop support,” and this included the ability to “Move bookmarks, tabs, and MDI pages between SDI windows”[15]. Furthermore, the same feature was already available as an extension[16] in Firefox and was added as a feature to Firefox 1.5[17], released on November 29, 2005. Safari did not add movable tabs until Safari 3[18], which was released on June 11, 2007[3].
    • Releaseyears of tabbed browsers: NetCaptor in 1998[19], later by IBrowse in 1999, Opera in 2000, Mozilla in 2001, Konqueror and Safari in 2003, Internet Explorer 7 in 2006 and Google Chrome in 2008.
    • Releaseyears of movable tabs: NetCaptor 5.0 in 1998[19], IBrowse 2.3 at 29 Jan 2003[20], Opera 7 in 2003, Google Chrome 1 in 2008, Safari 4 in 2009.
  • Open multiple bookmarks in one click – According to Apple, “[Safari] was the first browser to offer Auto-Click bookmarks.” This feature offers the ability “to open multiple pages in individual tabs with a single click.” Opera 4, released in 2000[13], could open all of the bookmarks inside of a folder through the right-click menu. Opera 6 added the feature to open all bookmarks in a folder with a single middle click and added “Open all folder items” to the drop-down menu on the personal bar[21].
  • Third party cookie blocking: According to Apple, “Safari is the first browser that blocks … tracking cookies by default” (emphasis added). It is hard to verify or falsify this claim; nevertheless, it should be noted that this feature was already present in Opera 4[21].

Implemented Prior to Inclusion in Safari

  • RSS Aggregator: While Apple claims that Safari is the first browser that integrated an RSS reader into the browser, Opera integrated an RSS reader into its browser in 2003[22], well before Apple in 2005[3][23].

Not Implemented Exclusively in Safari

  • Acid 3 Compliance: Apple asserts, “Safari is the first — and only — web browser to pass Acid 3″ (emphasis added). It is arguable that WebKit was the first rendering engine to get 100/100 (it was close between Opera and WebKit). However, Safari is not the only WebKit browser. Lunascape is also capable of using the Webkit rendering engine, and thus also passes the Acid 3 test[24].

Other

References

  1. ^ Apple Inc. (2009-02-24). Apple Announces Safari 4—The World’s Fastest & Most Innovative Browser. Press release. http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2009/02/24safari.html. Retrieved on 2009-02-24. 
  2. ^ “150 Features: Leading the way with innovation”. Apple Inc.. http://www.apple.com/safari/features.html. Retrieved on 2009-03-05. 
  3. ^ a b c d Safari
  4. ^ Opera Software ASA (2001-10-04). Opera 5 for Windows Reaches New All-Time High. Press release. http://www.opera.com/press/releases/2001/10/04/. Retrieved on 2009-03-05. 
  5. ^ a b “Opera Changelogs for Windows”. Opera Software ASA. http://www.opera.com/docs/changelogs/windows/. Retrieved on 2009-03-05. 
  6. ^ Schenk, Mark. “Opera browser version history”. http://www.markschenk.com/opera/history.html#series5. Retrieved on 2009-03-05. 
  7. ^ “Changelog for Opera 5.x for Windows”. Opera Software Asa. 2000-12-??. http://www.opera.com/docs/changelogs/windows/500-512/. Retrieved on 2009-03-06. 
  8. ^ a b Gsurface (2005-03-30). “The History of Mozilla Firefox: From Phoenix, to Firebird, to Firefox”. Flexbeta. http://www.flexbeta.net/main/printarticle.php?id=89. Retrieved on 2009-03-05. 
  9. ^ bennetttt (25. February 2009). “Call to action: Deceptive marketing of Safari 4”. My Opera Community. http://my.opera.com/community/forums/findpost.pl?id=2907289. Retrieved on 2009-03-27. 
  10. ^ drlaunch (25. February 2009). “Call to action: Deceptive marketing of Safari 4”. My Opera Community. http://my.opera.com/community/forums/findpost.pl?id=2907394. Retrieved on 2009-03-27. 
  11. ^ Reid, Stephen (1997-10-??). “Product Reviews Internet Explorer 4”. PC Pro. http://www.pcpro.co.uk/broadband/reviews/671/internet-explorer-4.html. Retrieved on 2009-03-05. 
  12. ^ “@font-face support in Internet Explorer”. http://www.webfonts.infohttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/index.php?title=%40font-face_support_in_Internet_Explorer. Retrieved on 2009-03-05. 
  13. ^ a b “Opera version history” (in English). Opera Software ASA. 2009-03-13. http://www.opera.com/docs/history/#o3. Retrieved on 2009-03-13. 
  14. ^ Tabke, Brett (2001-04-10). “Opera 5.10 for windows Released!”. WebMasterWorld. http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum118/364.htm. Retrieved on 2009-03-05. 
  15. ^ “New in Opera 7.0 Beta 1” (in English). Opera ASA. 2002-11-13. http://www.opera.com/docs/changelogs/windows/700b1/. Retrieved on 2009-03-07. 
  16. ^ Ruderman, Jesse (2006-03-12). “Bug 179656 – (MoveTabs) Allow drag-and-drop reordering of tabs” (in English). Bugzilla@Mozilla. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=179656#c7. Retrieved on 2009-03-07. 
  17. ^ Ruderman, Jesse (2005-11-30). “What’s new in Firefox 1.5 (comprehensive)” (in English). http://www.squarefree.com/burningedge/releases/1.5-comprehensive.html. Retrieved on 2009-03-07. 
  18. ^ Almaer, Dion (2006-09-03). “Safari 3: Improved Tab Handling” (in English). http://ajaxian.com/archives/safari-3-improved-tab-handling. Retrieved on 2009-03-07. 
  19. ^ a b “New in NetCaptor 5.0”. NetCaptor. http://web.archive.org/web/19991013001944/netcaptor.com/newinnc5.cfm. Retrieved on 2009-03-28. 
  20. ^ “IBrowse – News”. IBrowse. http://www.ibrowse-dev.net/news.php. Retrieved on 2009-03-28. 
  21. ^ a b de Jonge, Frans (2009-03-07). “Opera 4 Had Transfer Window” (in English). http://my.opera.com/Frenzie/blog/2009/03/07/opera-4-had-a-transfer-window. Retrieved on 2009-03-07. 
  22. ^ Altman, Tim (2003-12-19). “Opera 7.50 Preview 1 for Windows available”. Opera Software Asa. http://my.opera.com/community/forums/topic.dml?id=39541. Retrieved on 2009-03-05. 
  23. ^ Pogue, David (2005-04-28). “Safari and RSS”. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/28/technology/circuits/28pogue-email.html. Retrieved on 2009-03-05. 
  24. ^ Toto, Serkan. “Lunascape Browser: Firefox, Internet Explorer And Chrome All-In-One”. http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/11/25/lunascape-browser-firefox-internet-explorer-and-chrome-all-in-one/. Retrieved on 2009-03-27. 
  25. ^ Machell, Matt (2009-03-03). “Safari 4 – Quickfire ARIA Testing”. Eclectic Dreams. http://eclecticdreams.com/blog/safari-4-quickfire-aria-testing. Retrieved on 2009-03-06. 

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