When Apple said they would do nothing to prohibit Windows from running on new Intel-based Macs, who knew they would actually help Macs to run a competing OS?
No doubt about it, hell has frozen over. Again. Is this good or bad? What’s in store with Apple’s next OS, Mac OS X Leopard?
The biggest news of the day is a nifty beta utility called Boot Camp. It enables new Intel-based Macs (limited now to iMacs and MacBook Pro) to install and dual-boot Microsoft Windows.
How big is that news? Apple’s stock went up over 6-percent with the press release and release of the first beta version of Boot Camp.
Officially, Apple isn’t saying much, but the stage is set for an exciting year in 2007.
“Apple today introduced Boot Camp, public beta software that enables Intel-based Macs to run Windows XP. Available as a download beginning today, Boot Camp allows users with a Microsoft Windows XP installation disc to install Windows XP on an Intel-based Mac, and once installation is complete, users can restart their computer to run either Mac OS X or Windows XP. Boot Camp will be a feature in “Leopard,” Apple’s next major release of Mac OS X, that will be previewed at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in August.”
What that simple statement means is that new Intel-based Macs will run Windows. Not only is Apple giving users an official blessing, they’re helping out. How? Why?
The ‘how’ is easy. Boot Camp will help Windows install on a new Mac. Intel-based Macs use a modern technology called EFI to make Mac OS X startup. Windows XP and the first versions of Windows Vista don’t use EFI, sticking with the ancient BIOS to boot PCs.
Apple is actually helping Microsoft sell copies of Windows to run on Intel-based Macs.
Boot Camp is beta software. Apple says Boot Camp will be a feature in Mac OS X Leopard in 2007, and will be previewed at Apple’s developer conference in August.
The software itself is a step-by-step application which allows Windows to be installed on a new Mac, to partition a Mac’s hard drive to hold Windows, and to ensure are appropriate drivers are setup.
Why is Apple doing this? Why are they setting up new Macs to be able to run Windows?
“Apple has no desire or plan to sell or support Windows, but many customers have expressed their interest to run Windows on Apple’s superior hardware now that we use Intel processors,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, in the press release. “We think Boot Camp makes the Mac even more appealing to Windows users considering making the switch.”
Make no mistake about this. All the issues that cause Windows to be hated will still exist when it runs on a Mac. Viruses, spyware, trojan horses, all the wonders of malware.
What’s going on here? First, a switch from PPC chips to Intel chips. Now Windows on Mac OS X? Is Apple merely responding to the requests of many customers or is this part of a larger strategy to gain market share, mind share, and to rattle Windows (actually ‘Microsoft’, but ‘rattled Windows’ sounds better)?
I’m convinced that it’s part of a strategy. How? Microsoft’s Windows Vista has been delayed yet again. All the cool Mac-like features have been gutted except the GUI, the look and feel.
So, for most users, Vista is nothing more than Windows XP Service Pack 3 with a new interface. Mac OS X Leopard is where the action will be.
With the ability to run Windows side-by-side with Mac OS X, which will users end up using the most? How “superior” will Mac OS X hardware be compared to the PC box manufacturers? Will Apple be price competitive on a feature-by-feature comparison to PC makers?
The answers will unfold between now and the end of 2007, but we’re seeing Apple peel the onion, layer by layer.
Dell has already said they would be happy to bundled Mac OS X with Dell PCs. Assume the same for HP. But Apple hasn’t budged in that direction.
Can Apple build enough Macs to satisfy the demand of Windows users who may switch, knowing they get better hardware, a better OS, but no longer have a fear of fully leaving Windows?
The quality and variety of new Mac applications built on Cocoa and Xcode indicate that the Mac developer community is not only alive, it’s growing, prospering. Is there a danger that Windows on a Mac will slow development of applications for Mac OS X?
Probably not, but only time will tell. Interestingly, Apple’s new Boot Camp software comes only after both Adobe and Microsoft announced that their flagship products will be Intel-ready next year.
Timing is everything.
Boot Camp is a dangerous move, but calculated to eliminate another barrier to help Windows users switch to Macs. Intel Inside is familiar to PC users. Windows inside removes the last barrier.
The danger is in applilcations; will some Mac developers provide only Windows versions? There’s another danger, too. Can Apple make Mac OS X Leopard such an exciting version that Windows PC users will switch.
The countdown starts in August. By the end of 2007 Apple will be on a tear and roaring. Is Apple’s $65 stock a bargain?
update – For all the details straight from Apple, Click Here.