Wow. Just wow. Things must be really cold right here at the moment. Thanks to Boot Camp (have to love Apple product names, even the temporary ones), Intel Macs can now dual-boot Mac OS X and WIndows XP.
I have to admit to not knowing what to think of this. On one hand, this could generate a lot of consumer interest in the Macintosh as switching is no longer an all-or-nothing proposition. Furthermore, this could be great for the education sector. Think about it; you can now teach about all of the major operating platforms on one machine.
On the other hand, I remember talking once to a developer who thought creating a Mac port of her product was a waste of time because Mac users could always pay for a copy of Virtual PC + Windows to run her software really slowly, and that solution was good enough. This move could potentially encourage some developers to get really lazy. “You want to use our software? Just dual-boot.”
Should Apple be able to retain the developers, this could be a good move. As I earlier mentioned, this could entice people who might otherwise view purchasing a Mac as a risky investment.
Despite the weirdness of this announcement, you have to love some of the barbs Apple dishes out to Microsoft on the Boot Camp product page:
On BIOS & EFI:
“Macs use an ultra-modern industry standard technology called EFI to handle booting. Sadly, Windows XP, and even the upcoming Vista, are stuck in the 1980s with old-fashioned BIOS. But with Boot Camp, the Mac can operate smoothly in both centuries.”
“Windows running on a Mac is like Windows running on a PC. That means it’ll be subject to the same attacks that plague the Windows world. So be sure to keep it updated with the latest Microsoft Windows security fixes.”
(Actually, I would avoid the internet with the Windows partition as much as possible!)
In the end, in case you can’t tell, I really don’t know what to make of this announcement. The thought of running Windows on a Mac makes me want to wash my brain out with soap, but I can understand the appeal to others. I just hope the major Mac-supporting developers stay on board, and I hope the smaller developers like Delicious Monster, RealMac Software, Panic, and the Omni Group continue to make their awesome Mac-only products that help make this platform unique.
I guess I, like many others, will just have to sit back and see where this goes.
A favorite blogger of mine, John Gruber posted this interesting write-up on what this whole Boot Camp thing means for the Mac. The article is called, “Windows: The New Classic.” (Warning: language.) Toward the end of the article, he makes an interesting observation about the Boot Camp icon (which seems spot on), and he includes one of my favorite recent geek jokes in the article as well:
“What’s the difference between OS X and Vista? Microsoft employees are excited about OS X…”
Additionally, I mentioned the potential for the Boot Camp solution in the classroom. Actually, this looks like a much more interesting solution for multiple platform environments.