Apple releases Java SE 6 for OS X
Apple has released an update for Mac OS X Leopard with Java SE 6, but it is a very particular update; it's only for 64-bit Intel-based systems. It is well over a year since Java SE 6 was released by Sun Microsystems, and the delay has caused consternation within the Java-on-Mac developer community, with some developers porting Java SE 6 to Mac themselves, albeit using X11 rather than OS X's native graphics system.
The Apple update does bring up some questions. Although the 64-bit requirement does cover all of Apple's current hardware line up, it leaves out the first generation of Intel based Macs and the previous PowerPC based Macs, and there is no indication that this will be remedied in future releases.
The 64-bit requirement also means that only 64-bit browsers can make use of Java SE 6, as a 32-bit application can't invoke a 64-bit plug in. As most browsers on OS X, including Apple's own Safari, are 32-bit, Apple has made 32-bit browsers transparently fall back to Java 5 for applets.
The update's timing also leaves the question of how closely Apple can follow Sun's releases of Java, especially as the Java community focusses on the upcoming Java 7. Apple is one of the few vendors who port Java to their platform themselves. Apple integrates Java with the OS X graphics system and adds support for OS X idioms such as the single menu bar. Java 6 is now aware of Leopard's Spaces, the virtual desktop environment, allowing Java applications to switch screens automatically in the same way native OS X applications do.