Perhaps in an effort to whip up Apple-esque levels of pre-launch hype, Microsoft has announced that it will hold the global launch of Internet Explorer 9 at South by South West next week: Monday 14th, at 9pm Pacific time.
The first IE9 beta was released in September last year; a Release Candidate version (sort of halfway between a beta and a full release) was unleashed in February.
Reviews of these two versions were mostly very positive. People remarked on the cleaner, simpler styling, and on the minimalist feel. It’s quite a radical change from the feature-creep-ridden versions of old. It’s much faster than before, much more standards-compliant, and comes with useful things (like a Flash-block tool, and a combined URL/search bar) that pro users will love.
There’s also a feature called Pinned Sites, which lets you drag a web page to your Taskbar, where it will stay, looking for all the world like a separate application. This is a great way of keeping an eye on webapps or sites that you keep open all day long and return to frequently.
It’s worth watching the video on this blog post, which is full of interesting nuggets of information. Over 8000 people have sent in feedback during the beta period, and it’s clear from the tone of interviewees Dean Hachamovitch and Ryan Gavin that their comments have been taken seriously by the IE9 developers.
If you can’t wait until next week’s formal release, there’s still time to take IE9 for a test drive over the weekend.