Apple lets out a surprise with Safari 5

Missing from the big iPhone announcement this morning was the update and release of Apple’s web browser Safari. Version 5 is now faster and also features a news reading function called “reader”.

With this release, Apple is bringing more competition to Google’s Chrome, a browser that has started to give the game changing Mozilla Firefox a bit of grief. Speed is definitely high on Apple’s agenda, but the new language for the internet – HTML 5 – plays a big part too.

Then there’s “reader,” a new feature that automatically detects an article on a page and can show you the article separate from the page, almost as if you were reading the story by itself. Much like a lightbox in an old photography lab, the article lights up on white – complete with images in the right places – while the background fades to black.

Safari 5's Reader

Keep your mouse hovering at the bottom centre and buttons fade in and out allowing you to zoom in, email or print the article, and close it. Clicking out of the article and on the faded webpage underneath also closes the article.

The idea is sound and we particularly like how it reads, we’re just unsure whether we’re going to remember to click the “reader” button instead of just reading webpages normally.

Safari 5's Reader when printed
Printed articles keep images in the right place, but formatting isn’t changed on a page-by-page basis.