I avoided writing about Apple’s new Boot Camp program last week because it just didn’t seem all that important. What’s so impressive about a program that lets you install and run Windows XP on an Intel based Mac? Since the Intel Macs are based on the very same technology that runs millions of PC’s it would be news if Apple had found a way to prevent users from running Windows.
It’s been almost a week since the release of Boot Camp and I’m still waiting to be struck by the epiphany that seems to have hit everyone from ars technica to the New York Times (not to mention Wall Street, which bid up the price of Apple more than 15% in the wake of the product announcement).
In all of the analysis of what Boot Camp might ultimately mean to Apple (and by extension, Microsoft) there have been a few interesting theories:
- Some are speculating that Apple may be working on a version of OSX that runs on any standard PC hardware. Now that would be revolutionary! If this were to happen PC users would suddenly have a real upgrade choice once the half-dozen variations of Windows Vista are released in 200x. Better yet, PC manufacturers would have an alternative to Windows Media Center.
- Boot Camp might be a precursor to a Windows emulation program like Crossover Office that would allow users to run Windows applications within OSX. I’m convinced that most of the people who were overly excited about last week’s announcement mistakenly believed that this is what Boot Camp does (it isn’t). Native OSX Windows emulation would be a major coup for Apple and could ultimately eliminate almost all barriers to switching.
While I would welcome either of these scenarios, I tend to think that Boot Camp is just another brilliant Apple marketing move. Every geek knows that boot loaders are a dime a dozen (actually they’re less, it’s just a figure of speech). With Boot Camp Apple has embraced the unavoidable and turned the opportunity into a disproportionate amount of media coverage.