Boot Camp: Apple’s Insanely Good Idea?

by Meiera Stern Apr 06, 2006

Now that Macs can run Windows, and Macs and PCs have Intel chips, what will we Mac fanatics have to hang our hats on?

Having always been in the proud minority, we find ourselves being prodded like sheep into the larger pen, where for 3 decades the ugly, virus-riddled clumps of PC drones roamed.

Why were/are we so sure we were more evolved with our high priced machines? Proud enough to form an Apple Ghetto of fan clubs, Apple gossip forums, and the like? Proud enough to hold ourselves in higher esteem because we had found the true Mac path—the path of a more intuitive user-experience?

Why? Because our machines were sleeker and more ergonomic than any before; because the Apple icon was so cute, it was almost god-like? Because next to the competition, there was no competition? Because …

Well, maybe this is a time to rejoice and not lament. Now that Macs have powerful new chips and provide the option of loading Windows they have become more powerful, more versatile, and just as cool as ever! Look Ma, Windows! Look Ma, OS X! Look Ma, Unix!

I can’t help feeling a little philosophical about it too, Instead of making war with Windows, Apple has made love. Okay, this sounds sickening to me even as I write it, but what if this “love” opens up a whole new and exciting realm of possibilities for a unified platform? For the first time, instead of dividing developers, hardware-engineers, and the rest of the computing universe, what if now all that energy can become synergy, what will the flowers of this new freedom be?

Folks, though change is *&^%$#@! Scary, I think this may be a good thing!

Or maybe, it is neither good nor bad, but some sort of cosmic force at work. Not to sound too sci-fi, but after all, what if the same forces that have brought Windows and Mac OS together are responsible for transforming one-celled diatoms into people? Could this same conglomerating force eventually evolve a computer that is as powerful and complex as a person?  Or one, like the Matrix, that will in effect devour us as a species.

Certainly, I am getting ahead of myself, but where does this conflating end? In the less fanciful present, it is easy to see only one thing clearly, Macs running Windows is so new that it is inevitably frightening to those of us who cherish the Mac status quo. It is as frightening as Rosemary’s baby or V. There is an alien pod in our newest Macs. But all dramatics aside, whether this pod is good or bad or somewhere in between is for the Oracles.




  • What better way than to show the superiority of the Macintosh Operation System than to show someone OS X and then boot into XP

    hmurchison had this to say on Apr 06, 2006 Posts: 145
  • Apple’s being smart about this. They know that as long as they maintain the “keys” to the OS X vehicle they can profit from offering XP support which cost them very little(in resources)

    Thus they know how created a justification for paying more for a Mac yet their support costs will not rise nor will it decrease hardware sales. Brilliant.

    It matters not whether developers will decide between Mac or Windows version because Mac users will vote with their wallets. We already know what is the superior OS. If given the choice we’ll utilize our preference…Macintosh.

    hmurchison had this to say on Apr 06, 2006 Posts: 145
  • I was initially scared that this would eliminate the incentive to code for OSX, but the incentive is there: to allow mac users to use your program without paying for a copy of Windows (and having to reboot every time they want to use it). As the mac user base expands, this incentive will make it more and more tempting to code for OSX.

    I don’t think Bootcamp will increase the user base substantially, though, as it is too much trouble for ordinary people to get it to work. Apple would need to offer the choice of buying a mac with OSX and Windows on it. This wouldn’t at all be harmful to them at all - AS LONG AS they give the choice of OSX alone. That way, the incentive will still exist for developers to make OSX versions.

    If done right, I can see this as a realistic strategy to win over Windows users. And they’re doing it the only way possible: by not fighting Windows directly.


    Oskar had this to say on Apr 06, 2006 Posts: 86
  • Finally, there is now a way to compare the Mac and PC hardware on the same basis. I am very curious about how they actually compare. My guess is that a PC costing as much as a Mac will run much faster that the Mac on any given application.

    ediedi had this to say on Apr 07, 2006 Posts: 16
  • Some quotes from “The Matrix” that I think support the case for Boot Camp.

    Matrix Quote: “The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.” (Morpheus)

    Translation: No matter how sexy or superior the Mac is, Windows is so entrenched in the minds of so many, you could not convince them to switch to the Mac even if you gave it them for free. Heck, the vast majority of the world has absolutely no idea what the Mac is except that it’s some strange, alternative thing.

    Matrix Quote: “Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. ” (Morpheus)

    Translation: The only real way to convince someone to switch is to get them real, meaningful face time with the Mac.

    Matrix Quote: “The pill you took is part of a trace program. It’s designed to disrupt your input/output carrier signal so we can pinpoint your location.” (Morpheus)

    Translation: Any switch to the Mac after a life of being enslaved to Windows will be disruptive. But you will be free.

    Matrix Quote: “This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” (Morpheus)

    Translation: Boot Camp is our world’s equivalent of the device that makes those blue and red pills in the Matrix. The blue pill (Windows) is a comforting safety net, but the red pill (the Mac) promises glory and adventure. Without Boot Camp, the choice is much more difficult.

    Matrix Quote: “I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid… you’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.”

    Translation: The Switcher, now liberated, and having achieved his or her full potential because of the power of Mac OS X, acting as a catalyst for the eventual downfall of the Windows hegemony.

    Conclusion: Boot Camp is a critical element in Apple’s ninja action to undermine Windows from within. Apple doesn’t need to convert every Window user to win, just enough of the most influential users and Boot Camp makes that possible. Microsoft, like the machines in the Matrix, should be very, very afraid of the power and influence of these new-found Switchers.

    Paul had this to say on Apr 07, 2006 Posts: 31
  • I’m somewhat puzzled that there have been 5 articles on Apple Matters this week about Boot Camp, but absolutely nothing about a development - also made public this week - which I think will have far more impact on the lives of typical Mac users with occasional, obscure Windows software needs: it’s a product called Parallels Workstation, and the public beta allows a Mactel user to run Windows (or any other Intel OS) at near-native speeds WITHOUT REBOOTING.

    It didn’t come from Apple, but the piece of software I intend to use on my Intel Mac (when I buy one… or two) is found here:

    Incidentally, this isn’t an ad - I have no association with either product.  I am just genuinely puzzled why people think Boot Camp will change the world, when Mac users generally love the fact that they don’t have to reboot their computers all the time (unlike Windows machines).  Instead, have your virtual Windows box sleeping in the corner, wake it up when you need to run Access or some piece of peculiar proprietary software, then put it back in the corner when you’re done with it, never having left Mail, Safari, iChat, iTunes, etc etc etc.

    I can understand that the “everyone-will-switch” idealists believe that dual-booting will take OS X to the benighted masses… but for those already enlightened?  A virtual Windows box any day, thanks.

    Robinhood had this to say on Apr 07, 2006 Posts: 9
  • Robinhood, I’ve posted a link to Parallels software twice I think.  It’s a far bigger break through with much bigger implications, I believe, than Boot Camp.

    It just happened to be announced on the same day Apple released something.  Timing is key.  Steve Jobs farted the other day and it got more press coverage than Microsoft’s Origami project.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Apr 07, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • Damn!  Steve Jobs farted and I missed it!??  Have you got a video link???

    Robinhood had this to say on Apr 07, 2006 Posts: 9
  • I don’t agree with the article at all!

    (1) This appeals to the markets as well as to big shops, since now the hardware can “fit in” with the predominant OS. The potential counts for more than how much it will actually be used in those places.

    (2) This makes avid gamers likely Mac owners for the first time.

    (3) A dual-boot system is still an awkward, clunky platform in real use. It provides some flexibility, but is not a really highly efficient system. Much better is adding the next step of simultaneously booting both partititions, and having a hot-key to jump from one to the other. Hopefully, there would also be an easy way to transfer data from one to the other.

    (4) In practice, who in their right mind would want a Win OS to collect malware and viruses? The thought just gives me shivers! The whole point of using OS X is to avoid those horrors, so only very limited use of Win OS would be advisable.

    rgbenson had this to say on Apr 08, 2006 Posts: 2
  • I don’t want to dual boot. I want to be able to run Windows Software on my Mac the native hardware speed, with the MacOS still running. Preferably with the MacOS still in charge.

    If I or other people will have to fully re-boot in order to do anything in the other OS, people are going to “set up camp” in both OSes as much as they would if it were actually two separate boxes of hardware. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest.

    People will stay in either OS as long as possible it it’s annoying and time consuming to switch back and forth.. and that’s bad, because people shouldn’t stay in a fully Microsoft environment any longer than they have to.

    Boot Camp is a mediocre response to the many hackers that have done what it’s allowing but it’s not a good solution, either for us or for Apple. They certainly won’t win a hardware war in the Windows world any more than they do in the OS war.

    If however we are presented with a live-switching or seemless solution, THAT would be an all around good thing. An implementation like X11 would be perfect. I bet most people would be happiest running Windows Applications without really running Windows the OS - and all of the viruses that go along with it. If Windows on MacOS installed as an inert set of DLLs which were utilized by whatever windows application or printer driver within the protection of the MacOS, that would be the best solution for everyone.. Us users, Apple, developers.. (even Microsoft, because they’d still be selling copies and it would probably reduce their support costs) all without the heavy potential for negative progress that dual booting entails.

    Hoby Van Hoose had this to say on Apr 09, 2006 Posts: 15
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