Help, Guides, and News on making the Switch To Apple Macintosh Computers
Earlier this week, the buzz was centered around Apple's new beta Boot Camp software for OS X Tiger 10.4.6 that allows owners of new Intel Macs to extend the funcionality of the systems to boot into Mac OS X or Windows XP. Apple also released firmware updates for the entire line of the Intel Macs that provide EFI and BIOS support that should allow the new Intel Macs to boot into adiitional operating systems such as Windows XP, the upcoming Windows Vista, and Linux. The Intel Macs use a modern booting technology called EFI, Extensible Firmware Interface. In order to boot Windows XP and Windows Vista, the computer needs to support BIOS, a technology over 20 years old. Boot Camp bridges the EFI and BIOS gap.
Apple stated that Boot Camp will be part of the next version of OS X, 10.5 Leopard expected to be released by the end of 2006. Be sure to check the following resources at Apple's website. Boot Camp information and the Boot Camp Setup Guide
What does Boot Camp actually do?
Boot Camp simplifies the Windows installation on the new Intel Mac by providing a simple easy to use graphical assistant that dynamically creates a second partition on the MacIntosh HD. It then allows you to install Windows on that partition. Boot Camp then burns a CD using the Combo Drive or Super Drive with the required Windows drivers that Windows needs to recognize hardware on the new Intel Macs. The final step is to install Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later and then upon restart, users can choose to boot into either Mac OS X or Windows XP.
Note that if your Mac has a Bluetooth wireless mouse and keyboard, you need to purchase a wired keyboard and mouse to do the installation. Apple indicated that it will not provide Boot Camp support or sales of Windows software but will accept feedback at email@example.com.
What does all this mean?
The only thing that Boot Camp provides is the ability to dual boot a new Intel Mac, it does not allow users to run OS X and Windows simultaneously. What is does do is offer current Mac users the ability to install Windows XP. A more compelling byproduct of Boot Camp is that it positions the Intel Macs as the only computers on the market that can legally run OS X and Windows. This has a direct impact on potential switchers as those reluctant to purchase a Mac can now run all of their Windows software, especially those only available for Windows. This versatility gives Macs more appeal to both consumers and businesses, especially those who need to run Windows. More on that a bit later!
With Apple's statement that Boot Camp will be part of OS X 10.5 Leopard, does this mean that Apple will not use Virtualization technology in future versions of OS X? My view is that it doesn't rule it out but it most likely reduces the chance that we'll see the initial Leopard release supporting virtualization. My belief is that Apple is using Boot Camp to gauge the market's demand for concurrent operating system operation. Philip Schiller, Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, stated:
"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"
The fact that Apple released Boot Camp in response to customer's needs demonstrates that the company is exploring the possibility of making Macs and OS X appeal to a larger base. Not only is it a response to its customers, but also a strategic move. My inclination is that Apple may be interested in seeing what the enterprise market does with Boot Camp. If it proves to be a viable and/or popular solution for corporations, it may provide the kick that Apple needs to make a dent in the highly profitable enterprise market. Based on the demand, it could also provoke Apple to build virtualization support in either Leopard or a subsequent version of OS X.
In essence, corporations could test the viability and usefulness of Macs and OS X in their environments without having to rid themselves of the system, they could always decide to run Windows on it. This gives Macs a return on investment, ROI advantage. The Intel Macs will be able to boot Windows XP and Vista so executive decision makers will not have to worry about a system that cannot be used. Boot Camp enabled Intel Macs have the ability to be fast Windows computers and have the ability to run OS X. What this means is that corporations could have the best of both worlds, a Mac capable of running both OS X and Windows. Overall, I expect Boot Camp to drive a rise in Mac unit sales to business customers.
What it doesn't offer
Although OS X and Windows are installed on the same hard drive, each operating system gets a dedicated part (partition) of the disk. This will prevent the two from interfering with one another. Since users can only boot either OS X or Windows, no sharing of files or information will be possible between the operating systems. Users will not be able to seamlessly transfer files between OS X and Windows, the programs, data, and other software level resources will be isolated from each other. This is in stark contrast to Microsoft's Virtual PC for Mac software that allows PowerPC based Macs (pre Intel Macs) to run Windows in a "Virtual Machine", simply put, a separate window of OS X. The key word is "virtual", a virtual Windows computer is "emulated" but it runs much slower and is unable to meet the demands of gamers and some processor intensive software. With Apple's transition to Intel, Microsoft has not released an Intel based version of Virtual PC for Mac. If Microsoft ports Virtual PC for Mac to a Universal binary, Virtual PC should be capable of running Windows at near native speed. The need for Boot Camp would no longer be required for those who need Windows. Boot Camp could however could still be used to boot Linux or to allow those who want to dual boot into Windows the added flexibility to do so.
Note that the following components will not work under XP:
- Apple Remote Control (IR)
- Apple Wireless keyboard or mouse (Bluetooth)
- Apple USB Modem
- MacBook Pro sudden motion sensor
- MacBook Pro ambient light sensor
- built-in iSight.
Market Share Impact and More Switchers
Boot Camp should lure Windows users who have contemplated purchasing a Mac but have held out for the sole reason of not being able to use some of their Windows programs. Macs have now become more appealing to any Windows user considering the switch.
I expect Apple to increase its market share significantly. Boot Camp will accelerate this growth in both the consumer and business markets. The Intel Macs and Boot Camp offer consumers and enterprise customers a value proposition that no other manufacturer can replicate. Consumers can purchase a single system capable of running both OS X and Windows. No other vendor can make that claim. Apple will lure customers away from PC manufacturers such as Dell and HP.
I expect a new wave of Switchers to finally make their first Mac purchase and once they experience OS X, they will begin to curtail their use of Windows. I expect a significant growth of Mac computers in the enterprise segment and associated verticals. My prediction is that Apple will have at least 8% market share by the end of the Leopard Mac OS X 10.5 lifecycle. I expect that the OS X operating system following Leopard (and perhaps Leopard) will fully support virtualization allowing both OS X and Windows to run simultaneously I also expect Apple to offer some level of interoperability with Windows and perhaps Linux at some point in the future.
The future is bright for the Macintosh and OS X. Apple's historical small share of the market is on its way to being a distant memory.