Apple has released a new Java update – Mac OS Runtime for Java 2.2.5.

The update is available using the Software Update Control Panel, but not yet over the Web.

It's Apple's freshest implementation of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), which is based on Sun's Java 1.1.8. It provides the runtime software needed for Java applets and applications. It also includes the Apple Applet Runner, a utility that can run applets without a browser.

Apple released its Java 2.2.3 last November, its first Java updater to be fully accredited for use with Oracle applications.

That version also introduced JAR (Java Archive) caching. If a Java applet uses many - or very large - JARS, loading files to make applets work can take some time. MRJ 2.2.3 saves copies of JAR files to the Mac's hard drive. MRJ then checks cached JARs to speed up the loading time for applets.

The latest udater underlines the importance of Java interoperability to Apple. Both WebObjects 5 and OS X Server integrate many Java features, and OS X offers a selection of Java-compliant tools.

Apple's Java move is held by industry pundits to be part of its bid to make inroads into mixed-platform networks market in both the corporate and education sectors.