Jeff, a developer on the IE team at Microsoft, has described what exactly is going to be different in the new version of IE that’s going to ship as part of Windows XP SP2. It doesn’t look like the rendering engine will be changed at all, but rather the changes will be more about increasing usability.
Of course, there is the addition of blocking pop ups that has been talked about everywhere. IE will also gain the ability to better control how ActiveX controls are downloaded and installed. While I haven’t had to mess with ActiveX controls much in IE, this seems like a good thing.
The last feature Jeff mentions has to deal with downloads. It sounds like if a download is requested that wasn’t the direct result of the user clicking a link (something like what Sourceforge does comes to mind), IE will display a different window asking the user if the file should be downloaded or not. To me, this seems more like something that would get in the way than would help, but I suppose this could fix problems where a malicous site could just send the user a virus or spyware app to install.
It’s definitely an interesting read, and nice to see that Microsoft is improving the IE experience, although only for XP users.