Scanner manufactures Epson and Canon have hinted at up-coming support for Mac OS X across their ranges.

Mary McNulty, UK public relations manager for Epson UK, said: "Epson is wholeheartedly committed to OS X, and will release scanner-driver support in the next few months. It's important the application software supports the OS."

Applications are key, agreed Mark Robinson, UK marketing manager of Canon consumer imaging. He claimed: "The current CanoScan range supports Mac OS X within Classic mode. Development is underway to deliver OS X-native support by April or May 2002, to coincide with the introduction of several major OS X applications."

X option Adopters of Mac OS X do have a solution available, the independently developed VueScan utility from Hamrick Software. This $40 solution will drive most scanners natively from Mac OS X.

Ultimately, hardware vendors await the release of major imaging applications for Mac OS X. Partially, the launch of such applications may help justify their developmental costs in a suffering market; partially the release of such applications will stimulate consumer demand, industry observers claim.

Last week, Macworld UK discussed the problems faced by the TWAIN Working Group, the non-profit body that develops common standards that applications and hardware vendors can share.

TWAIN Group spokesperson Tara Brown likened it to a "chicken and egg" problem. She added: "Applications vendors need hardware to test, hardware manufacturers require applications to test." Problems also occur as the various parties try to keep their future products as secret as possible, she added.