While Firefox 16 isn’t due to launch until October 9, the latest version is already available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can grab it now from Mozilla’s FTP servers here: ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/16.0.

If you prefer to wait for the official launch, keep your browser pointed to firefox.com. You may also want to check out the Mozilla blog, which is bound to have an announcement soon.

The biggest addition in this release, in my opinion, is Web app support for all desktop operating systems, but we’ll only start seeing the results of this new feature once developers start to take advantage (much like in Chrome). It’s also worth noting Mozilla has integrated incremental garbage collection into Firefox 16.

This essentially translates into better performance, although it will likely be very negligible on most systems. The feature improves the browser’s responsiveness by dividing the garbage collector’s work into smaller pieces. Mozilla explains:

This is a major feature, over a year in the making, that makes Firefox smoother and less laggy. With incremental GC, Firefox responds more quickly to mouse clicks and key presses. Animations and games will also draw more smoothly.

There’s no official Firefox 16 changelog as of yet, but the beta changelog should serve as a decent guideline:

  • NEW: Firefox on Mac OS X now has preliminary VoiceOver support turned on by default.
  • NEW: Initial web app support (Windows/Mac/Linux).
  • NEW: Acholi localization added.
  • CHANGED: Improvements around JavaScript responsiveness through incremental garbage collection.
  • DEVELOPER: New Developer Toolbar with buttons for quick access to tools, error count for the Web Console, and a new command line for quick keyboard access.
  • DEVELOPER: CSS3 Animations, Transitions, Transforms and Gradients unprefixed in Firefox 16.
  • DEVELOPER: Recently opened files list in Scratchpad implemented.

We will update you with more information (including the official changelog) when Firefox 16 officially launches tomorrow. In the meantime, if you’re a Web developer, you may want to check out Firefox 16 for developers. If you’re an add-on developer, you’ll want to read Add-on Compatibility for Firefox 16.

Update on October 9: Firefox 16 has officially launched. You can download the latest version from mozilla.org/firefox.

Here’s the official Firefox 16 changelog:

  • New: Firefox on Mac OS X now has preliminary VoiceOver support turned on by default.
  • New: Initial web app support (Windows/Mac/Linux).
  • New: Acholi and Kazakh localizations added.
  • Changed: Improvements around JavaScript responsiveness through incremental garbage collection.
  • Developer: New Developer Toolbar with buttons for quick access to tools, error count for the Web Console, and a new command line for quick keyboard access.
  • Developer: CSS3 Animations, Transitions, Transforms and Gradients unprefixed in Firefox 16.
  • Developer: Recently opened files list in Scratchpad implemented.
  • Fixed: Debugger breakpoints do not catch on page reload (783393).
  • Fixed: No longer supporting MD5 as a hash algorithm in digital signatures (650355).
  • Fixed: Opus support by default (772341).
  • Fixed: Reverse animation direction has been implemented (655920).
  • Fixed: Per tab reporting in about:memory (687724).
  • Fixed: User Agent strings for pre-release Firefox versions now show only major version (728831).

Furthermore, Firefox for Android has been updated to version 16. You can grab it now from the Google Play store.

Image credit: Brad Harrison