Apple Safari browser finally getting WebM support

Posted on Thursday, February 18 2021 @ 18:21 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
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Apple has finally caved in and will support the WebM video codec in a future version of its Safari web browser. First launched by Google in 2010, the WebM standard is supported by almost all modern browsers, the biggest exception being Safari.

WebM is a lossy format that combines a small file size with little processing power needed for playback. It's a royalty-free alternative to H.264. For many years, Apple refused to add support. Former CEO Steve Jobs even called WebM "a mess" that was "not ready for primetime."

MacRumors points out that it's unclear why Apple is finally adding WebM support:
In 2010, Steve Jobs implied that WebM was "a mess" and "not ready for primetime." It is unclear why Apple has finally deemed WebM a format worth supporting 11 years after its launch, but it may be partially due to the fact that Apple officially backs the H.264 codec.

WebM also has a sister project called WebP for images. Last year, Apple added support for WebP in Safari 14, so the company's approach to more niche media formats appears to be softening.
Support for the standard popped up in the second beta version of macOS Big Sur 11.3. Presumably, this means WebM support is also coming to iOS in the near future.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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