Java 7 updated for 10.7-10.8
Released Feb 1, 2013, fixes 50+ security flaws
Download and install
Note: OS X 10.7-10.8 users on Java 7 have to maintain Java updates themselves.
For Java versions 6 and below OS X 10.5-10.6 machines
Apple supplies their own version of Java. For Mac OS X 10.6 and below, use the Software Update feature available under the Apple menu to check that you have the most up-to-date version of Java 6 for your Mac.
Note: Apple maintains Java 6 for OS X 10.6 and below users, meaning it only delivers it via Software Update. Oracle is responsible for patches and developement.
Java SE 6 End of Public Updates
After February 2013, Oracle will no longer post updates of Java SE 6 to its public download sites. We highly recommend downloading and installing Java 7.
Note: Oracle is abandoning Java 6 soon for Java 7, soon websites with Java 6 will move on to Java 7.
If your considering upgrading OS X from 10.6.8 to 10.8 via AppStore to run Java 7
Be forewarned no PowerPC based programs or driver software will run any longer.
Check here BEFORE you upgrade OS X 10.8!
Also check to see if your machine meets the 10.8 requirements and RAM amount. (2GB minimal, 4GB recommended)
Alternatives if you must run Java 7
If Apple disabled Java 6 in 10.6, and you can't upgrade OS X to 10.8, then your pretty much done with Java in OS X because Oracle won't issue updates for Java 6 anymore.
However you can install Windows 7 and continue to use Java 7+ there until support for Windows 7 ends in 2020.
If your on 10.6, I recommend the free Virtualbox for the virtual machine software as it gets updates, VMFusion and Parallels have moved on with only 10.7+
Direct installing into BootCamp would get the longest stability, because eventually VirtualBox won't be updated for 10.6 (unknown when)
One can install Windows into BootCamp AND VirtualBox at the same time to be prepared, however they don't share files or updates, independent.
Feburary 2, 2013 UPDATE
10.6 users: Run Apple Software Update under the Apple menu
Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 12 delivers improved security, reliability, and compatibility by updating Java SE 6 to 1.6.0_39. (released Febuary 2, 2013)
On systems that have not already installed Java for Mac OS X 10.6 update 9 or later, this update will configure web browsers to not automatically run Java applets. Java applets may be re-enabled by clicking the region labeled "Inactive plug-in" on a web page. If no applets have been run for an extended period of time, the Java web plug-in will deactivate.
Please quit any web browsers and Java applications before installing this update.
See http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5575 for more details about this update.
See http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222 for information about the security content of this update.
Java 6 users on 10.6.8, Oracle has moved on with Java 7 on OS X 10.7-10.8, thus will be ending support for Java 6 in Febuary 2013.
Apple is providing a method that disables Java web browser applets from running if they are not being used, it's not a replacement for a secure Java.
Websites that use Java 6 will move on to Java 7 and thus those on OS X 10.6.8 will be left behind from running Java any further unless they upgrade OS X to 10.8.
Upgrading to OS X 10.8 will incur some penatly, as older PowerPC based software running in Rosetta will no longer function.
Also OS x 10.8 has a minimal RAM requirement of 2GB, which 4GB is highly recommended.
Some Intel Mac's cannot be upgraded to OS X 10.8 for other reasons, check your compatability for 10.8
If one cannot upgrade 10.6.8 to 10.8 (or doesn't want to), and one requires to run Java 7 on websites, then purchasing Windows 7 and installing it into Apple's BootCamp or the free VirtualBox virtual machine software and 4GB of RAM is recommended.
Windows 7 will get support and Java updates until 2020 (and perhaps a little bit beyond).