Rumors abound that Apple is working on iBrowse -- a web browser based on the Chimera engine.
Maybe, maybe not.
However, the market is certainly rife for someone to create a real and working browser on the platform. The current set of browsers all have some fatal flaw that render them incredibly painful to use in the long run.
- Internet Explorer is slow, tends to completely ignore events whenever it is doing anything (including, say, window drag events and other things that really shouldn't be handled directly by the app anyway) and has a stupid UI. Example: How many times have you caused the Favorites tab to expand and then hit the little arrow on top of the tab with the thought that it is going to make the stupid tab go away only to have the location and button bar at the top of the window disappear? I do this all the time and I have watched my sister and my mom-- my litmus test for "can this app survive in the real world"-- do the same. Oh, yeah, and it crashes a lot.
- Mozilla is almost a good browser. Unfortunately, it completely fails to render certain pages that every other browser can handle fine. Tab browsing is very cool, but if you hit cmd-w to close a tab when that tab contains nothing, the tab doesn't close. Mozilla uses sheets-- good-- but very often a sheet will be displayed on the wrong window -- bad! Throughout Mozilla's UI, there is annoyance that things don't work as they should. Download a file? You have to use the Close button in the window to close the download window-- the close button on the window's title bar is never enabled. As well, Mozilla's behavior completely changes for the worse whenever flash content is present -- typically ads (and no ad filter). that Mozilla has a habit of going off to la-la-land-- eating CPU and events-- does not help.
- Chimera shows the most promise. The fatal flaw with Chimera is simply that it is in a relatively early development stage -- there are so many rough edges that it is annoying to use as my production browser.
- Netscape is just a dumbed down, AOL-adwarified, version of Mozilla. All the same UI stupidity, but with more marketing noise. Yippeee.
- OmniWeb is certainly the most beautiful and feature complete browser on the platform. By "feature complete", I mean that each feature is actually complete and consistently presented-- there are a handful of missing features. It has its annoyances -- for example, OW can't handle "webcal://" or "telnet://" URLs correctly, it seems. The fatal flaw of OW is simply that it is so bloody slow and such a resource [mainly memory] hog. Invariably, OmniWeb is my default browser. Minor annoyance -- OW's window placement is as about as braindead as you can get without stacking everything directly on top of each other. If I use the app for a while and visit a site where I cmd-click on thirty links to open thirty windows (tabbed browsing would be nice) behind the current window, all thirty will be stacked directly on top of each other on the right side of the screen and the one that will load first will be the bottomost window. Doh! One of OW's single greatest advantages is that it takes advantage of all the features of Cooca -- the toolbar "just works", spelling "just works", moving the window while the app is busy "just works", printing "just works", the UI is generally consistent, etc... While the other browsers bust their ass trying to be HI compliant, Omni has to work not to be.
- iCab Neat browser. Some nice features. Missing a lot of others. Has some very annoying rendering and interaction behavior.
As it stands, I have to have at least three browsers around; IE, OmniWeb, and some form of Mozilla (Navigator/Chimera, Mozilla, or Netscape). There are always those sites that render in only one of 'em, but that isn't anything new (and isn't unique to the Mac platform, in my experience).
I'm going to stick with OmniWeb, but keep a sharp eye on Chimera and Chimera derived projects...