Claim exposed: Apple Safari 5 not fastest

Faster than Chrome; faster than Firefox; and definitely faster than IE. Really?

Apple claimed at WWDC that its new Safari 5 browser is "fastest." Faster than Chrome; faster than Firefox; and definitely faster than IE. Naturally, this was a red rag to the proverbial male Bos primigenius, so smarty-pants everywhere had to go see for themselves. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers trust, but verify.

Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention Apple's pretense...

Gavin M. Roy had his curiosity piqued:

"Apple has made some strong claims about the performance of Safari 5. ... To test, I used Mozilla's Dromaeo, Webkit's Sunspider benchmark suite and Google's V8 benchmark suite. All tests were done on an otherwise idle iMac 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7 w/ 8GB ram running Mac OS X 10.6.3. ... Chrome beat out Safari 5 in 2 out of 3 of the tests. ... Firefox is clearly the last horse in the race.

...

Dromaeo ... appears to be the most comprehensive of all of the tests. ... [It] had Chrome winning out over Opera at 2.22 times faster. In addition Chrome was 6.67 times faster than Firefox and 2.27 times faster than Safari 5." More.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes [ZDNet] ran similar tests on Windows:

"Claims that Apple's latest Safari 5 browser is faster than Google Chrome don't hold up, on the Windows platform at any rate. ... Clearly, Chrome is the fastest browser, with Safari coming up behind it, followed by the lagging Firefox." More.

Wolfgang Gruener calls apple's performance claim "a flat out lie":

"If you are claiming that you are offering the world's fastest browser, you are inviting people to check. ... I was eager to see whether the browser would be able to match the "lightning speed" claim. ... The most appropriate way to get an idea of Safari's performance potential is ... Sunspider.

...

Safari is ... not the fastest browser in this comparison. ... It is substantially behind the shipping version of Chrome as well as the developer version Chrome 6 Dev. ... I have doubts at this time that actual benchmark results can support Apple's claim, which is a bit beyond my comfort level. ... It's sad to catch Apple with its pants down, because Safari 5 is a great browser. ... It follows Google's lead with a much cleaner interface and a few nice features.

...

But stating that it is the world's fastest browser is false. Period." More.

Zach Bailey muses thuswise:

"Given the choices between chrome, safari, and firefox - why would anyone use firefox anymore? it's falling behind." More.

Meanwhile, Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc has also been running some benchmarks:

"We figured we would show IE9 and Safari 5 together running some of the demos from the Internet Explorer 9 Test Drive website." More

MG Siegler at TechCrunch watched the demos:

"The result? IE smokes Safari. It's not even close. ... This is showcasing IE9′s use of hardware acceleration vs. Safari's use. In its release yesterday, Apple was talking about pure JavaScript performance tests, which are different.

...

In other words, for web apps in the future that rely heavily on hardware acceleration (such as games), IE clearly has a leg up right now. ... But for web apps that are JavaScript heavy (such as Gmail), Safari likely does." More.

But Nick Eaton asks, "Who cares?"

"The problem is, Internet Explorer 9 hasn't been released yet. And it probably won't be for another year. So ... big whoop.

...

By the way, you can test your browser's performance at Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 Test Drive site. Kinda cool." More.

And Finally...

APPLE PRETENDS TO INVENT: Video calling

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com. You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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Tags safariweb browsersWWDC 2010

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Richi Jennings

PC World (US online)
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