It's news enough to make a Mac-using Opera fan sing: the browser has officially ditched its old JavaScript engine Futhark for the speedy new Carakan. Available for both Intel and PowerPC, the final version of Opera 10.52 for Mac comes 11 days after the second beta, although two months after the public encountered the first Mac beta of Carakan.

Opera 10.52\'S interface hasn\'t change from the second version of the beta, pictured here. (Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

Besides the impressively fast JavaScript engine, which Opera claims is 10 times faster than the previous Mac version, the new browser comes with an interface overhaul and has been completely rebuilt in Cocoa. There's Growl and multitouch trackpad support, support for some HTML5 including the video tag and extensive hooks between Opera Widgets and the desktop. This means that widgets can be used as standalone apps, previously limited to the Windows version. Opera Unite and its deep feature set are now available to Mac users, and there have been extensive interface tweaks, too.

The multitouch trackpad support means you can now take advantage of pinch-to-zoom, two-finger swipe to scroll, and three-finger swipe to navigate your browser history. Smooth scrolling is now enabled by default. Most notably, Opera has decided to make the browser compatible with older Macs. Unlike many competitors, this version will work on legacy PowerPC machines. The browser will also run on OS X 10.4 Tiger.

The development process took so long that bug-fixes were implemented beyond those originally planned for version 10.50, which is why the browser is now at 10.52. The full changelog for Opera 10.52 can be read here.