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Safari And .Mac

by Heng-Cheong Leong, MyAppleMenu

Like so many people out there, I wondered: why Safari for Windows?

I don't think the apparent consensus that Safari for Windows is meant for iPhone developers is the main reason. After all, fonts are different on Windows than on Mac and iPhone. The availability — and maybe even the behavior — of plug-ins are different on Windows than on Mac and iPhone. Plus no multi-touch on Windows, and different screen resolution too. Sure, Safari for Windows will help a little towards iPhone web app development, but any serious developers will need to buy an iPhone to test everything out.

Now, what else does Apple do that requires a web browser? Besides WebObject, which I think we all agree is pretty irrelevant in this discussion, the only thing I can think of is the good old .Mac web services.

iTunes will be used to manage iPhones, that's pretty much obvious. But to manage your .Mac account — if Steve is indeed hinting of an upcoming major upgrade — does not make sense on the iTunes application. Here's where Safari comes in. One route that Apple can take, of course, is to bake a lot of the features into Safari and make available to both Mac and Windows customers.

This does not mean that .Mac will not be usable on other browsers, I don't think. Apple lately has a pretty good track record in supporting open standards, and I don't expect them to change. But, Steve Jobs likes to control the entire widget, and this is no different. Safari will probably offer the best .Mac experience. At the minimum, Safari will be the insurance that .Mac services are available on both Mac and Windows, no matter how Microsoft and Mozilla tweak their browsers.

I am not really excited with Safari on Windows today as there are really no compelling and significant advantages that Apple brings to the table over what is already available. But the potential possibilities are exciting.

By Heng-Cheong Leong