Apple's lack of inclusion of support for Java 1.6 doesn't reflect any dwindling in the close working relationship between Apple and Java developer, Sun Microsystems, an Apple representative told Macworld UK.

Brian Croll, senior director of Mac OS product marketing confirmed Apple's inclusion of the older, slower Java implementation, Java 1.5, within Leopard as it has been shipped.

Following Apple's secretive policy of (rarely) discussing future products, he was able to say that the move not to include Java 1.6 in this release is by no means reflective of any cooling off of the relationship between Apple and Sun. "We contine to work together closely," he said.

His comments follow recent reports claiming disappointment among some Mac developers at Leopard's lack of support for Java 1.6. Developers expected such support because at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this year they had been led to expect it, as it was included within the developer preview version.

Java 1.6 is already available for Linux and Windows users.

It could only be a question of time as Java 1.6 implementations become standard. Speaking to CIO.com, a Sun Microsystems spokesperson explained the advantages: "The number one things users see by upgrading is that applications run much faster. Everything's just speedier."

Sun couldn't comment on any schedule for Apple's implementation of better Java: "We can't comment on the timeline because that's not an operating system that we have a relationship with," said Sun.

Croll also confirmed that Sun's ZFS+ file format standard is included within Leopard, though only at a low level. "It's in there as a read-only format within the OS," said Croll.