Apple appears to be ready to implement chip-level security to ensure Mac OS X will only run on its breed of Intel processors.

Cnet reports that early version Intel Macs provided to its developers include a microcontroller called the Trusted Platform Module (TPM).

This, "contains a digital signature necessary in order to install Mac OSX" the report claims, citing an unnamed source.

The TPM does not prevent users installing Linux or Windows operating systems on the MacTel machine, but it's not possible to install Mac OS X on an Intel box that lacks this microcontroller, the report explains.

International microprocessor expert Peter Glaskowsky told Cnet: "Apple does not want just anybody that has the right Intel motherboard to install the beta version of its software."