WebKit, the open-source project behind Apple’s Safari browser, is a pretty obscure name to ordinary folks. And perhaps Apple wants to keep it that way, judging by Apple’s May 18 WebKit trademark application.
WebKit got its start from the open-source KHTML engine for the KDE project’s Konqueror browser (KDE is a user interface software that puts a nicer graphical face on Linux). Apple brought the project to a wider audience with the Safari browser for Mac OS X, and now Google is doing the same with its Chrome and Android browsers, both also based on WebKit.
In addition, Palm’s new phones use a WebKit variant, and of course Hewlett-Packard now owns that particular work. And Research in Motion is working on a WebKit-based browser for its BlackBerry devices. So it’s clear WebKit has attracted a lot of interest.
It seems improbable that Apple has big plans for introducing WebKit as a brand to the world at large–Safari does that job fine. But perhaps the company wants to head off any issues that might result if another WebKit user does try that.
Apple declined to comment for this story.