I wasn’t really going to say anything about the release of Safari for Windows, or the arrival of the iPhone because I really don’t give a flying fuck. But then half of the blog posts in my Google Reader in the past week were pretty much along the lines of “WTF? Why safari on windows? I dunt get it!”
Let me explain this to those of you who are still confuseld and bafflerized by Apple’s recent move. This is really a multi-step process:
- Release Safari for Windows
- Bundle with iTunes
- Bundle it with Quicktime
- Bundle with any and all iPhone software
- Bundle it with any and all software that you make for Windows
- Make any of your existing software download it as an upgrade
- Automatically set it as default browser
Once you get to the ??? step, you already have a critical mass of win-idiots who don’t know how to change their default browser, using your rendering algorithm. Boom! Overnight, Apple will become the 3rd major contender in the browser war. Or maybe even 2nd because the number of retards who will get accidentally hijacked by a bundled Safari install may in the end outweigh the number of people who consciously choose to change their browser for a better one.
Why do you want to be in the browser war? Because it makes web developers test against your platform. As it is right now, most semi-competent developers at least try to support both IE and Firefox. It’s easy to set them up on the same development box and creating pages that look good in both is probably easier than refactoring them after you start getting angry emails and loose Firefox customers. To get things tested on Safari your average Dreamweaver jokey would have to get himself an iBook or run to the local Apple store. Now they can have all 3 browsers on the same box for easy testing.
And if a billion new Safari users pops up overnight, and your website is not Safari-ready you can easily expect lost sales, pissed off readers, and angry emails. Most developers who care about non-IE users will quickly install Safari and make corrections to their layouts.
And all of a sudden, the web will start working properly in the iPhone. After all, if you want to make this browser a platform, you should make sure that it has a critical mass of users, and that web developers are not ignoring it when testing new layouts.
And this, kids, is why Safari is on Windows.
What is in it for us? Well, if there are 3 serious contenders in the browser war instead of just 2 more effort must be made to design the pages in browser independent way. If you design a page that works in IE and nothing else, you no longer have to deal with just a group of disgruntled firefox users. You are now facing the wrath of every single iTunes and Quicktime user who either likes the shininess of Safari or is to stupid to change the default browser on their machine. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is not the kind of crowd you can just brush aside and ignore.
Btw, any of my windows based readers ditching their current browser in favor of Safari? I know I’m not. I love my Firefox way to much. Plus, I don’t want to give up using all the extensions I accumulated over the years.
[tags]safari, safari on windows, iphone, apple, web standards, web design[/tags]