Apple has introduced Safari 3.1 for Mac and Windows.

Available now for download, Apple claims the software to be the fastest browser in the world, declaring Safari loads web pages 1.9 times faster than IE 7 and 1.7 times faster than Firefox 2.

Safari also runs JavaScript up to six times faster than other browsers, and, “is the first browser to support the latest innovative web standards needed to deliver the next generation of highly interactive Web 2.0 experiences,” the company said.

“Safari 3.1 for Mac and Windows is blazingly fast, easy to use and features an elegant user interface,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing.

Safari 3.1 is the first browser to support the new video and audio tags in HTML 5 and the first to support CSS Animations. Safari also supports CSS Web Fonts,

The browser supports drag-&-drop bookmarks, tabs, offers an integrated Find mechanism that shows the number of matches in a page and offers a built-in RSS reader.

Safari 3.1 is available now as a free download.

Safari 3.1 for Mac OS X requires Mac OS X Leopard or Mac OS X Tiger version 10.4.11, a minimum of 256MB of memory and is designed to run on any Intel-based Mac or a Mac with a PowerPC G5, G4 or G3 processor and built-in FireWire. Safari 3.1 for Windows requires Windows XP or Windows Vista, a minimum of 256MB of memory and a system with at least a 500 MHz Intel Pentium processor.