[See this follow up post about Mac browsers]
It’s a chicken or the egg type question – did Safari come about because Microsoft was not working on new versions of IE for Mac, or did Microsoft stop working on IE for Mac because Apple started competing with Safari?
When Safari first came out, I was annoyed. First of all, it had that tiresome brushed metal interface (although I’ve since found out that this can be removed with Metalifizer). Secondly, it made me concerned the other Mac browsers, such as Opera, OmniWeb and Camino wouldn’t be able to compete. Although I like all the software which Apple throws in with its computers, I want there to be a viable market for third party software developers for the Mac.
I’ve since come to like Safari. I think that it’s arguably the best free browser for any operating system. It’s very fast – both to load and for browsing. It has tabs and it renders pages very nicely.
Overall, I still prefer Opera 6 for Mac for the following reasons.
I already paid for it, so might as well get my money’s worth
I really, really like some of Opera’s time-saving shortcuts: how you can use the “z” and “x” keys as backwards & forwards buttons; how you select the location bar by just pressing F8 (in this way, it’s much better than Safari, which makes you drag over the whole URL or press Command-L); how bookmarks can be given brief nicknames which retrieve the bookmarked site when entered into the location bar; full screen browsing is easily turned on or off with F11.
Opera’s not without its problem. It takes more time to load than Safari – which I can forgive because Safari’s got an innate advantage in this area. The most two severe problems are that less pages seem work in Opera than Safari and that it is more prone to crash than Safari. These are major problems, and if they continue to get worse, I will reluctantly have to switch to Safari.