I’ve never really understood why running Windows on an Intel Macintosh figures so prominently in the imaginations of the technical press and punditry, but today’s announcement by Apple will certainly set the pot boiling:
Apple Computer Inc. on Wednesday rolled out a software patch that enables its Intel-based Macintosh computers to install and run Microsoft Corp.’s Windows XP operating system.
Apple said that the new software, called “Boot Camp” is available as a download beginning today.
Update: The Apple press release is here:
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. “We think Boot Camp makes the Mac even more appealing to Windows users considering making the switch.”
Boot Camp simplifies Windows installation on an Intel-based Mac by providing a simple graphical step-by-step assistant application to dynamically create a second partition on the hard drive for Windows, to burn a CD with all the necessary Windows drivers, and to install Windows from a Windows XP installation CD. After installation is complete, users can choose to run either Mac OS X or Windows when they restart their computer.
The public beta of Boot Camp is available immediately as a download at www.apple.com/macosx/bootcamp, and is preview software licensed for use on a trial basis for a limited time. The final version of Boot Camp will be available as a feature in the upcoming Mac OS X version 10.5 “Leopard.” Apple does not provide support for installing or running Boot Camp and does not sell or support Microsoft Windows software.
Update 2: Joe Wilcox tries to explain why this is important and also likes the Apple style:
Apple should give the person(s) writing its Web copy a raise. It’s as much marketing as instructional. The Boot Camp instructions tout the software while jabbing at Microsoft. Under subhead Word to the Wise: “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.” While good advice, the wording is a knock. Another, about Extensible Firmware Interface vs. BIOS: “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.”
Sure, the jabbing is like a little, yappy dog barking at a big dog, considering Microsoft’s dominance on the desktop compared to Apple. But this little dog has got some teeth, too.