Apple is emerging as a serious player in a wide range of new markets, including those for content delivery and telecommunications companies.

Macworld UK reports on strong pro-Apple responses from the life sciences, federal and government markets as the company prepares to deliver the most enterprise-friendly Worldwide Developer's Conference ever in June.

Apple's vice president of worldwide developer relations Ron Okamoto told Macworld UK last week: "Since news about Virginia Tech's G5-based supercomputer cluster broke, we have been hammered with requests from all different directions – government, education and private industry asking how they can do this."

Okamoto agreed that there is a relationship between what goes on in scientific and educational research institutions and the enterprise.

"There are connections between the supercomputing and enterprise IT areas", Okamoto said.

His claims continue to be confirmed. Today's Internet News reports that Apple's new Xserve G5s are gaining interest – and sales – among content-delivery and telecommunications companies.

Apple's director of hardware storage, Alex Grossamn, told Internet News that the G5 is gaining popularity at the edge of the network. The processor used in G5 Macs is a variant of a processor (the Power4) first exploited by IBM in its own-brand servers.

Sun setting for Unix

"What we're seeing is the QuickTime streaming platform being used for a number of content-delivery uses. These companies are looking at their Unix-based Sun and other vendor boxes and moving over to Mac OS X Panther," Grossman said.

The report explains that Apple is quietly gaining traction in server rooms and data centres. Its QuickTime Streaming Server software is also seeing increased deployment, as it means an Xserve can deliver 10,000 simultaneous radio streams. Apple reckons it’s seeing its products deployed for such use across 3G-friendly content providers in Asia.

Interest from the telecommunications companies isn't solely because of Apple's innovative technologies. In fact, it's driven by far-more base instincts – the financial bottom line. Apple's Xserve products ship with a significant haul of server-side software.

"Apple bundles so much software in the server edition of its operating system and provides no additional licensing fees with a purchase of the hardware," the report says.

This means Apple's solutions are set to be more affordable than competing sets of products, while its focus on open standards and its free developer tools mean enterprise developers benefit from the extendibility within the solution that they require.