Yesterday, Apple released their own Safari 3.0 web browser for Windows XP and Windows Vista. Amid the security and performance comparisons, folks are also noticing that Apple has also ported their own sub-pixel display technology to Windows. Joel Spolsky summarizes the differences sucintly:
Apple generally believes that the goal of the algorithm should be to preserve the design of the typeface as much as possible, even at the cost of a little bit of blurriness.
Microsoft generally believes that the shape of each letter should be hammered into pixel boundaries to prevent blur and improve readability, even at the cost of not being true to the typeface.
I think Apple’s method will turn out better when we all have resolution independence along with hi-resolution displays. The real question is will the current font display fuzziness in Safari turn off the current unwashed masses, so that even when hi-res displays become standard, it’s too late. If that happens, Safari will follow a great Apple tradition: high technology ahead of its time.