Browser wars: New Safari soars, leaving competitors in the dust

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11 million.

That's the (astronomical) number of downloads garnered by Safari 4 in the three days since Apple unveiled the latest edition of the "world's fastest" web browser. In a crowded browser market that includes Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome, the new figures have pushed Safari 4 – temporarily – to the top of the heap.

"Safari 4 is an incredible success on Mac and Windows with more than 11 million downloads in the first three days," Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, crowed in a statement published by ChannelWeb. "Safari users love the incredible speed and innovative features like Top Sites, Full History Search and Cover Flow."

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According to Apple, in speed tests the new Safari bests both the new Internet Explorer and the new Firefox by at least three times when loading HTML pages. At the same time, the Nitro Engine executes JavaScript "nearly 8 times faster than Internet Explorer 8 and more than 4 times faster than Firefox 3 based on performance in leading industry benchmark tests," Apple says.

The new browser also boasts a sleek feature called Cover Flow, which allows users to flick through previous viewed sites and bookmarks – a function not unlike thumbing through the pages of a magazine.

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