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The Apple Beat: Safari on iOS is still the Mobile Browsing Juggernaut

By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

Apple's Safari browser found in iOS devices like the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch remains the leading mobile browser by a surprisingly high margin according to a report by Net Applications. Not bad for a browser that doesn't even view Flash content.

Apple's mobile Safari is used for more than 50 percent of the browsing done on mobile devices (53 percent in August 2011, to be exact), and it has maintained this position for a number of months.

Think about it, Apple has sold 200 million iOS devices and the default browser on all of these is mobile Safari. Given the nature of iOS and Apple's approach, users are likely to stick with the default browser their device came with. In a way, this is much like how Microsoft's Internet Explorer became the no. 1 browser since it was the bundled go-to web browsing application on all Windows boxes.

What is surprising is that the no. 2 mobile browser isn't from Google, Opera Mini is still very much alive and just happy to be cruising along under Safari. Consider that Opera Mini is the favoured browser in non-smartphone handsets and you begin to understand just why it is sticking around (although to be fair, Opera Mini is the most cross-plaform browser we know of and can be seen on most tablet and smartphones out today).

To get a better picture of what the smartphone and tablet browser landscape looks like, check out NetMarketshare's Report.

The Steve Jobs Reading List

As I've covered Apple through the years, I've amassed a number of books magazines and articles on the company as well as on its enigmatic visionary leader, then CEO and now Chairman Steve Jobs. Jobs' own official autobiography, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson ships in November 21st but there are a number of worthy books out there to learn more about Jobs.

I recently re-watched The Pirates of Silicon Valley which was an engaging and entertaining (although not entirely accurate) retelling of the birth of the personal computer told from the point of view of Steve Jobs (played by Noah Wylie) and Bill Gates (played poorly by Anthony Michael Hall). A lot of the movie deals with Jobs and Woz as teenagers and how they started Apple from a garage and the film also gives insight into Jobs's early years. The video below, from Macworld 1999 shows real Steve and Noah Steve sharing a light moment together.

Pirates of Silicon Valley was based largely on  Fire in The Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer which is a genre defining take on early PC business and how everything we know today began.

Other books we can recommed are Steve Jobs: The Journey is the Reward by Jeffrey S. Young, The Second Coming of Steve Jobs by Alan Deutschman and one of the best reads you'll have about business characters and what goes on behind the scenes, Apple: The Intrigue, Egomania and Business Blunders That Toppled and American Icon by Jim Carlton. That last one doesn't focus solely on Steve Jobs but on Apple's other CEOs and was written at the time very few people believed Apple could survive. Going back to many of these books made me realize that Apple under Jobs 2.0 didn't just curtail disaster but managed to reinvent itself convincingly. 

While I was on this nostalgic journey, I also stumbled upon a goldmine of old Apple Keynotes on YouTube. Check out AppleKeynotes and take a nice trip back in time.


Gadjo Sevilla is a long time Mac user and technician and has been covering Apple's business and products for over 15 years. The Apple Beat is a weekly opinion column focusing on the latest Apple news.

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