Apple licensed Natural Intelligence's Roaster Virtual Machine and a just-in-time compiler from Natural Intelligence, which in January became the first vendor to provide Mac-specific Java development tools.
The Virtual Machine is a core component of the company's Roaster set of development tools, while the just-in-time compiler speeds the performance of Java applets by compiling them to machine language at run-time. Without a compiler, Java applets are "interpreted," or read by the virtual machine software, rather than communicating directly with the processor; this has the benefit of allowing the same applet to run on any machine unaltered, but it slows performance.
Apple did not specify how it would use the new tools, but the licensing deal is another example of the company's growing commitment to Internet technology in general and Java in particular. The company announced earlier this week that it will integrate Java in several Apple software products, including the Mac operating system, the Newton and Pippin operating systems, OpenDoc, Cyberdog, and HyperCard.