April 13, 2006

Windows goes to Boot Camp

For mainstream computing the Mac has always been the PC of choice – whether it’s managing your email, syncing your iPod or creating a home movie of your kids Mac OS X and it’s suite of iApps (called iLife) do the job best. In fact, Mac OS X is still the only popular operating system on the market that is free from viruses and spyware that plague Windows and it’s cousins. In terms of the hardware design Apple is known as the leader.

This week Apple took another step forward by announcing a product called Boot Camp. Boot Camp allows all new Intel Macs to run Windows XP natively and will be included as a major component in the upcoming 10.5. Boot Camp will also support Windows Vista which should definitely be released by mid-2008.

In the past Mac OS X users have had to resort to emulators to run Windows applications – while these were effective they were also slow as the program rather then the chip had to do most of the raw computer processing. Now however the game has changed. Boot Camp allows users to run Windows (or Linux) natively without any performance penalties – and side by side with Mac OS X. In fact, the recent speed tests have proven that Apple’s line of Intel Macs run Windows faster then Dell, HP and Toshiba.

There are many benefits to this solution – most obviously a huge increase in the potential market for Apple. Traditionally Apple has been very strong in education but this leadership position has eroded over the last 5 years. Now schools can choose to buy Macs as they get the best of both worlds. Buy Macs for security, stability and ease-of-use, and Windows for all the extra software that isn’t available for OS X.

For business the same applies. Macs look better and run better but traditional business applications are mainly Windows only – now business can introduce Mac’s reap the advantages of increased productivity and less downtime.

If you’ve got a new Intel Mac head over to Apple and download the 83Mb package. You’ll also need your own copy of Windows XP. At the website you’ll find many warnings from Apple about the hazards of running Windows including this; “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.”