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The updates, titled "Java for OS X 2012-004" and "Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 9," are to be the last Apple-tailored runtimes for OS X 10.6 and 10.7 before all Mac-centric Java development moves to Oracle.
In April, Oracle announced the availability of its own Java development kit and JavaFX SDK for Mac users after working on the software with the OpenJDK Community.
Most recently, a Java SE 6 exploit caused the largest malware dissemination in Mac history. The Flashback trojan was said to have affected over 600,000 Macs worldwide, mining sensitive data that reportedly netted the malicious code's authors as much as $10,000 a day.
The final Apple-supported updates will offer compatibility with future Java implementations and will include the feature of disabling the web component after 35 days of non-usage.
From the preview notes:
Java SE 6 applets and Web Start disable after non-use
This preview contains a stub applet plug-in and a modified Web Start launcher for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. This technology disables these Java web components after an extended duration of non-use (35 days). This policy is already present in "Java for OS X 2012-003" for OS X 10.7 Lion.
Oracle's Java 7 applet plug-in disables Java SE 6 applets and Web Start
This preview contains additional enhancements to the OS X Java integration features to disable or redirect functionality to Oracle's Java 7 applet plug-in, if present. This includes deactivating most panels in Java Preferences, routing .jnlp file launching to the Oracle Java 7 Web Start launcher, and .jar file launching to the plug-in embedded JRE.
There has been no official word on when the updates will arrive for public consumption, but with Oracle ready to take over the rollout may happen soon.