Apple is investigating implementing future Mac OS X-support for older ATI graphics-accelerators installed in older G3 Macs, MacCentral reports.

The news comes as the company faces a class action suit, led by legal firm King & Ferlauto, that alleges Apple’s violation of Californian consumer-protection law. The case maintains that Apple violated the act by not furnishing certain G3-equipped models with the same features that OS X afforded to more recent G4 systems.

The allegations centre on a statement Apple made in 1998, when it promised that OS X would be fully optimized for G3-based Macs. The lawyers maintain this implied that Apple would guarantee G3 Mac-owners features such as DVD movie playback, QuickTime acceleration, and 3D graphics-acceleration – features they already get in OS 9.

U-turn Apple’s decision to “investigate” introducing such support for these older Macs follows an announcement in December in which the company said such support was not planned. This has now changed – December’s note read: “Support for the graphic accelerator chipsets listed above is not planned” – it now reads “Further support for the graphic accelerator chipsets listed above is being investigated for a future version of Mac OS X.”