America Online has released AOL for Mac OS X in the US.

The company's UK representatives were unavailable to confirm if AOL's UK business unit has reconsidered its recently-reported decision to discontinue development of an X-compatible AOL browser for the UK market.

Given the US release, some critics comment that the developmental efforts and costs may now be reduced. Other reports suggest that the decision may have been overturned following pressure from AOL US, Apple US and Apple UK, but we cannot verify these rumours at this time.

US-centric The US OS X-compatible browser from AOL is the "fruit of serious commitment" on the part of AOL UK's parent company to Apple. Peter Ashkin, president of product strategy for AOL, said: "As part of our ongoing support for the Macintosh market, we are excited to launch the new version of our flagship AOL service. America Online has a long and varied relationship with Apple, and we wanted to provide compatibility with Apple's next-generation operating system.

There are enhancements available within AOL for Mac OS X. These include a streamlined design, new email features, an updated browsing "experience", and new content and features specifically for Macintosh users.

Sorted AOL's online mailbox has been refined, so users can sort messages by sender, subject and type, and contact information can now be accessed from anywhere. Internet Explorer 5.1 for Mac OS X is also built into the product, as is the latest iteration of the Flash player. This version of AOL's browser also includes compatibility with AirPort 2.0.

As it stands, UK Mac users can't expect to use a Carbonized Mac OS X browser. Explaining the company's decision in November, AOL UK's chief communications officer Matt Peacock said: "It's not possible for us to justify the considerable investment required to create a localized version of our browser for a niche market platform such as OS X."

He also revealed that the decision "is not set in stone".