Apple Computers announcement of its public beta of Boot Camp, a utility that enables Intel-based Macs to boot Microsofts Windows XP, has caused some stir in Mac-centric Web communities. Overall, the reaction seems to be positive.
“It looks like Apple may be willing to run with this new ability and fully leverage it as a selling point,” wrote Clint Ecker at Ars Technica. He noted that this move placed Apple as the only computer maker that can pitch itself as supporting all major operating systems.
“I know several Arsians whod be interested in triple booting their machines into OS X, Windows XP and Ubuntu,” he wrote.
He also noted that Apple did not restrain itself from taking a few pokes at Microsoft, with jabs about Windows recent security problems and its continued reliance on an “old-fashioned” BIOS (Apples Intel-based Macs use an EFI system for booting).
“Im willing to bet that Apple markets this new advantage heavily when the time comes,” Eckel wrote.
Similarly, Macintouch framed its note about the announcement by saying, perhaps ironically, “Apple today declared war on its PC competitors.”
And MacFixIt called it “a stunning announcement.”
In an interview with PCMag.com, Apples senior director for marketing for Mac OS X, Brian Croll, said Apple had “lots of requests” for running Windows on a Mac.
The articles author, Michael Miller, said one potential weakness of this solution would be that users would not be able to copy and paste data between the two operating systems.
“Apple has just thrown down a pretty major gauntlet to all the current PC manufacturers,” wrote C. K. Sample III at The Unofficial Apple Weblog. “[I]f Apple plays its cards right and doesnt screw things up, people will see that booting into OS X runs more smoothly and is nicer than booting into Windows, and we may see more switchers than ever before.”
“I think this is big news from Apple, accepting that the dark side users are envious of the hardware and opening the system for them to use. It will be interesting to see where this is headed. … [T]his is big news!” wrote Macinfo.com.
Though they presented no official editorial stance on the news, the sites Slashdot and Digg demonstrated a high degree of interest. The former had hundreds of comments from users within a few hours of Apples announcement, and the latter acquired over 2,000 “diggs” on the subject in just over two hours.
Some speculated that Boot Camp being announced as a feature of the upcoming Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” could mean that virtualization features, rumored to be in the works for that update, will not materialize. Still, many fans hope for virtualization features in the future, as Boot Camp requires the purchase of Windows XP and a reboot to move between operating systems.
Similarly, Microsofts Virtual PC software has been a solution in the past for running Windows and Windows applications under Mac OS X. Microsoft has publicly stated that it is committed to continuing development of Virtual PC, though the application will not run on Intel-based Macs. Microsoft was unavailable for comment as to how Boot Camp could affect sales or development of Virtual PC.
This announcement marks the first official move from Apple toward supporting Windows booting on its new Macs. Prior to this, hackers contested for homebrewed ways to get Windows up and running, but their solutions did not include many drivers and required the use of a Windows-based PC.
Still, Apple stated that certain seemingly crucial hardware components will not currently work with Windows XP installed through Boot Camp: any built-in iSight camera, an Apple Wireless keyboard or mouse, the Apple Remote Control, an Apple USB Modem, and the MacBook Pros sudden motion sensor and ambient light sensor.