Internet Explorer 6.0 won't enjoy official release until later this year, probably when the new Whistler O/S debuts. But the public beta seems near -- rumors of a release date started in February. However, I was really intrigued by an unplanned leak back in January. Despite the non-disclosure clause for techs working on the build, it still managed to see daylight, with downloads apparently available for 18 hours from a Russian FTP site. Here's a reference. [nwfusion.com]
As a result of the leak (actually, there may have been several) screen shots of the new GUI are now online at several URLs, including this one [the-ctrl-alt-del.com].
Lots of conjecture is flying -- will MSIE 6.0 not run on Win95? Will it focus more on standards compliance or on extending MS proprietary functions? Will the Windows Media Player be embedded or just bundled? Will the browser stand alone or be tied into the OS (the Justice Department is watching this one). Particulary how will the new Windows XP operating system relate to the browser?
There are lots of other issues as well. As we've been discussing on another thread [webmasterworld.com], how will Microsoft coordinate what soon will be three browsers -- MSN Explorer, Internet Explorer and the new NetDocs browser in their .NET initiative? And how will developers cope with all that?
Any other news or rumor out there? What do people expect from IE 6.0? What do you hope for? What are your concerns?
I think we can take better standards compliance almost as a given. It seems awfully unlikely that MS went to all the trouble of developing the Tasman engine just to give Mac users a better browser than Windows users ;) So I figure it's almost certain to be included in IE6. That said, I don't have a copy of the most recent beta to compare to Mac IE 5.0 and PC IE 5.5...
I also noticed that one of the news articles on IE6 commented that the sidebar would function more like NS6... AFAIK, they haven't publicly released any documentation on the JS interface to it as yet, and news articles have been wrong pretty often as well :)