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Apple starts using WebKit2 in Mac OS X Lion Safari… Will iOS 5 be next?

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Looks like Apple has finally shipped WebKit2 as part of Safari 5 in the recent Mac OS X Lion beta — so does that mean we can expect it in iOS 5 for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad? Originally announced in April, 2010 just as the first iPad was arriving:

WebKit2 is designed from the ground up to support a split process model, where the web content (JavaScript, HTML, layout, etc) lives in a separate process. This model is similar to what Google Chrome offers, with the major difference being that we have built the process split model directly into the framework, allowing other clients to use it.

WebKit is the open-source browser rendering engine that originated as KHTML/Konquerer on Linux but was taken under Apple’s wing and became the core of Safari on both the desktop and the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. (Google also uses it for Chrome, Android, and Chrome OS, Palm for the webOS browser, and RIM is developing a WebKit browser for BlackBerry).

While a year from announcement to deployment (even in beta) isn’t screaming fast, it does make for better, more stable browsing and if anything can benefit from that, it’s mobile. Let’s hope iOS gets it this year as well.