Microsoft has confirmed it will announce the Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate (RC) “soon.”
The software giant has posted several hints on its official Internet Explorer Facebook fan page over the past several days. In a reply to one user, Microsoft says “Stay tuned for an IE9 announcement soon. The wait is almost over :)” Another post hints that Microsoft is planning to announce the IE9 RC soon, “we will have an announcement soon regarding the IE9 RC. Stay tuned!”
A number of screenshots from build 9.00.8073.6010 (WIN7_IE9_Partner.110113-2300) leaked recently, leading many to speculate that Microsoft has signed off on the IE9 RC build. WinRumors understands this build is one of Microsoft’s escrow near final builds of Internet Explorer 9 RC. Microsoft’s release candidate of Internet Explorer 9 will include a number of new enhancements from the previous public beta build.
According to sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans, the software giant is currently building copies of Internet Explorer 9 that include an “ActiveX filter” feature. The filter will allow users to control what ActiveX elements are displayed on sites they visit, furthering Microsoft’s commitment to security within its browser. Microsoft is expected to ship the feature inside Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate (RC).
Microsoft has also improved the UI of the browser tabs and buttons in Internet Explorer 9 RC. The build features square tabs and minor UI enhancements to the address bar buttons in Internet Explorer 9. Microsoft has also updated its download manager so that it now displays the transfer speed without the need to hover over individual downloads.
Microsoft announced earlier this month that the beta version of Internet Explorer 9 has surpassed 20 million downloads, making it the most downloaded beta release of Internet Explorer ever. The download rate of Internet Explorer 9 beta has grown by 5 million each month since its release on September 15, 2010. Internet Explorer 9 RC is expected to include UI tweaks and minor changes to some functions in Internet Explorer. Microsoft will also introduce a new Tracking protection feature in Internet Explorer 9 RC that will allow consumers to address their concerns about being tracked on the web.
Recently, a new Internet Explorer 9 beta build leaked to the web, originally reserved for close partners and TAP testers. The build, version 9.0.8027.6000, began showing up on popular file sharing websites in late November. The leaked version includes bug fixes, stability improvements and the latest rendering engine seen in the recent developer Platform Preview. It appears, from the digital signature, that the build was compiled as recently as November 19. Microsoft’s previous Platform Preview 7 build was labeled 9.0.8023.6000. WinRumors posted exclusive screenshots of the new leaked Internet Explorer 9 beta build.
Microsoft is expected to release Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate on January 28.
Thanks to WinRumors reader Cody Bacon for the news tip