By Dan Moren
August 27, 2021 10:00 AM PT
The Back Page: Introducing Safari 15’s Brand New Interface, Which We Got Right on the First Try
Here at Apple, we know how important browsing the web is to our customers. It’s how many of us pay our bills, manage our health care, and attempt to figure out exactly what an ‘updog’ is.
So when it came time to redesign the interface to our industry-leading web browser Safari, it was an endeavor we undertook with the utmost seriousness that befits the critical nature of the app’s place on our platforms. This couldn’t be something that was just slapped together or changed for the sake of change: altering something as fundamental as the conceits of a web browser is an action that must be thought through carefully, with every facet justified and considered. At Apple, we pride ourselves on saying a thousand no’s for every yes, as anybody who’s ever dealt with our PR department can attest.
But after days of painstaking work developing this brand new interface, we’re pleased to finally share with you… the new Safari.
It starts off with the all-new address bar. At Apple, we like to say we’re at the intersection of technology and liberal arts, and I’ll tell you where that intersection isn’t: floating over the content that you want to see and interact with. Instead, we’ve positioned the address bar cleverly at the top of the browser window, so you can easily understand at a glance what site you’re on.
But we haven’t stopped there. Located conveniently inside that address bar, you’ll find a button for arguably the most important web browsing feature, refreshing a page. It’s a staple of the web browser, and there’s no reason to be coy about the need to access it. Bam. We’ve put it right in front of you, plain as the hair on Craig’s head.
Let’s talk tabs. With our latest operating system updates, we’ve added a great new feature called Tab Groups. That’s because we know our users are passionate about browsing in tabs, whether they have a thousand or two thousand open at any given time.
Tabs are an important part of the browser window, so we think it would be silly to minimize their appearance in ways that make them less functional. After all, these days we use powerful devices with the ability to display important information when and where you need it, not constrained by any artificial idea of space efficiency—this isn’t a college dorm room.
On the iPhone, especially, we realize that people want quick access to features like sharing and bookmarks, and that’s why we’ve designed a clever toolbar that provides single-button access to some of the most commonly used features. There’s a temptation to hide these away, or smush them together into the digital equivalent of a ‘junk drawer’ in the name of that same space efficiency, but our guiding principle has always been that design isn’t just how it looks, but how it works.
Getting to this new version of Safari hasn’t been easy, but we know our customers will be pleased by the result: an efficient and effective web browser that lets them get to the heart of the web browsing they need to do each and everyday. We think it’s important to be thoughtful in our design process, and we think that’s borne out in this year’s beta process in which our developers and early adopters responded so positively to the new Safari.
Only Apple, with its combination of hardware, software, and services, has the power and know-how to deliver such a groundbreaking piece of software that promises to change the very way that we interact with the web, with unprecedented speeds and 120 percent less swearing. We think you’re going to love it.
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at @email@example.com or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is now available for pre-order.]