Late last week, Apple held their annual iPad and Mac event where they unveiled next generation iPads, iMacs and Mac Minis. If you're interested, you can watch the whole stream. And while new Apple hardware is always pretty exciting, the software announcements they make are often overlooked. During the event, they announced that the new version of OSX, called Yosemite, is now available. Having been testing it for a few months through the public beta program, this announcement didn't excite me all that much - it wasn't new to me. But during the announcement they discussed the new version of Safari, and they included a baffling claim.
It's entirely possible that Apple found one website that met their mysterious "typical website" criteria and it happened to be an edge case where Safari is actually way faster than the other browsers, but the claim is presented in a way that suggests a thorough test. They also could have tested it against older versions of other browsers and not the newest ones, making this a really unfair comparison. I'm going to spend a little time benchmarking the new Safari using the most widely used benchmarks to see if Safari even competes with them, let alone is significantly faster. Here's what I'll be using:
- SunSpider 1.0.2
- Kraken 1.1
Kraken is a benchmark created by Mozilla that's based on SunSpider, but includes some test cases pulled from "real-world" applications.
- Octane 2
The Minesweeper benchmark is just a game of Minesweeper developed by Microsoft that includes an option to have your browser solve the puzzle.
So, in benchmarking Safari against its competition, I'm not setting out to declare "the best browser". The best browser is the newest version of which ever browser works for you. They're all about as fast as each other, but Apple wants us to think differently. I'm simply testing their claim to see if Safari is at all faster than the others. I'll report back with my findings.