Safari 6 rumours: what you need to know

Safari reader mode
We love Reader mode, but we'd love it even more if we could change the way it looks.

Apple's Safari has been out since last summer, which is an eternity in browser terms, and while Safari 5 brought lots of useful new features to the party there's still room for improvement.

And with Google shipping new versions of Chrome every ten minutes and even Microsoft accelerating browser development, the browser wars are still ongoing. So what can we expect from Safari six?

Safari 6.0 will have full-screen mode and Webkit 2 for improved stability

Wikipedia reckons that the version of Safari in the forthcoming OS X Lion includes a full-screen mode and the WebKit2 layout engine. WebKit2 should deliver a more solid browsing experience with a Chrome-style split between application and web content - so if something goes wrong with a web site or app, you or Safari can kill it without bringing down the rest of the browser and open tabs. It works differently from Chrome's implementation, though, because WebKit2 is designed to be used by multiple applications, whereas Chrome only needs to work with Chrome.

Safari 6.0 will have iOS-style gestures

Expect to see iOS-style features such as tap-to-zoom, pinching and swiping in the OS X Lion version of Safari. Here's the official video.

Safari 6.0 will have better, free MobileMe sync

Being able to sync your Safari bookmarks is great if you've got a MobileMe account, but other browsers do more and don't expect you to pay for the privilege. Rumours of a new, improved and free version of MobileMe have been banging around the internet for months now. We sincerely hope that they're true and that the update includes Firefox 4-style sync. Firefox 4 synchronises not just your bookmarks but your history, passwords and even your currently open tabs. Being able to do that between OS X, iPad and iPhone for free would be wonderful.

The Safari 6.0 release date should be this summer

The release of OS X Lion is scheduled for this summer, so we'd expect Safari 6.0 to be released then too.

Safari 6.0 might include iTunes

No, we haven't been on the cooking lager again: according to Three Guys and a Podcast, Safari 6 and iTunes will merge. That's not as bizarre as it might sound, because the Store bits of iTunes are web apps anyway; if the rumoured, cloud-based iTunes service is real, which we think it is, then there's no reason why you shouldn't access it through your browser. The big question is whether merging a browser and a media player and manager makes sense on the desktop. Right now it sounds rather like the sort of thing Dr Frankenstein might have rejected for being too weird.

Apple safari

TO-DO LIST: As shows, Safari's HTML5 support is a work in progress - not least because HTML5 itself is still evolving

Safari 6.0 should have Integrated search and address bars

We'll be surprised if this one doesn't happen: even Internet Explorer has merged its search box and address bar into a single unified field, and we've lost count of the number of times we've entered search terms where Safari expects to see a URL. Safari's address bar already searches your browser history. Why not search the Web too?

Safari 6.0 should have Reader mode settings

We like Reader mode, but we'd like it even more if we could change the font, colours and line spacing too. Can we have that in Safari 6, please?

Safari 6.0 will definitely have improved HTML5 support

This one's a no-brainer: Apple loves HTML5, not least because they can use it to do Flash-style things in order to annoy Adobe. Running Safari 5 through the independent gives a score of 228 out of a possible 400, so there are plenty of HTML5 improvements that can be made. Who knows, Apple might even decide to support the WebM and Ogg Theora video formats.


Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.