Apple discussed the state of the migration to OS X during Apple CEO Steve Jobs' keynote speech yesterday at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco.

The company has increased its OS X user base by almost 50 per cent since January, with over seven million users today. This is expected to climb sharply now that Quark has announced XPress 6.0 for OS X, widely regarded as an obstacle to X migration by Apple's creative industry users.

The number of applications available for OS X has doubled over the past year - 6,000 OS X apps are available today.

Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller said: "With four major Mac OS X releases over the past four years, nothing comes close to the rapid rate of innovation that Mac OS X is delivering to our developers.

"Apple is far outpacing any other operating system developer in the industry, leap-frogging the competition while they?re hoping to deliver years in the future what we already have today," he said.

Unix champ The company has introduced tools to help developers move to its OS platform. Associate superintendent for Information and Technology, Beaverton Public Schools in Beaverton Oregon Steve Carlson said: "For technology to be a helpful tool in the classroom, teachers need to trust that it will work when they need it. Teachers know they can count on their Macs working. That is what is most important. All of the incredible multimedia features such as the ability to easily integrate digital video into the classroom are an added bonus."

This US education district is moving 8,000 of its 10,000 Macs to OS X this summer.

Apple also won plaudits from professionals in the science community - long-time users of Unix. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill professor of microbiology/immunology and biomedical engineering Michael Giddings said: "Mac OS X is emerging as the premiere Unix-based scientific workstation platform, running the Unix tools we need and handling all standard productivity applications as a bonus.

"Mac OS X systems interoperate flawlessly in our mixed computing environment allowing us to get more out of our systems and spend less time keeping them running or having to write specific drivers than we did with Linux. We now run our genome and proteome analysis projects exclusively on Mac."

Apple talked-up its increasing presence in the film, video and TV industries as well. Movie production house iPostini president Tom King said: "Starting several years ago with Final Cut Pro 1.2, we?ve used Mac systems to cut over 30 feature films for Showtime, and last year we started moving our operations to Mac OS X. The stability and the improved workflow for high-end video on Mac OS X was the best reason for us to begin the move and with the release of Final Cut Pro 4, we have all of our edit suites on OS X."