A preview of the AOL 6.0 browser will be available next week, with a full release planned before the end of the year - but only for the Windows platform.

Macintosh users face an awkward wait, which Joss Cole of AOL UK confirmed could last well into the first half of next year.

"A Mac version is planned", she told Macworld, "but we have no definite timing on this yet." When quizzed, she said that a Mac version was unlikely this year. Hedging bets on behalf of the world's largest Internet Services Provider, she said, "It should be within the first half of 2001".

Windows users will get to enjoy the new features of AOL's proprietary browser, which is available for free download by AOL members.

New features include enhanced email - sortable mailbox, HTML support, auto-unzip and locate for downloaded files, and a more powerful address book.

AOL 6.0 supports Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) and high-speed Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol connections (TCP/IP).

Key features of the service, such as Instant Messenger, AOL Mail, Address Book, Calendar, Groups can be accessed from a number of devices, other than a PC – for example handheld computers.

The software - which is now being localized for the UK market - has already debuted in the US.