Apple introduces Boot Camp: public beta software enables Intel-based Macs to run Windows XP

Apple today introduced Boot Camp, public beta software that enables Intel-based Macs to run Windows XP. Available as a download beginning today, Boot Camp allows users with a Microsoft Windows XP installation disc to install Windows XP on an Intel-based Mac, and once installation is complete, users can restart their computer to run either Mac OS X or Windows XP. Boot Camp will be a feature in “Leopard,” Apple’s next major release of Mac OS X, that will be previewed at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in August.

“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,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, in the press release. “We think Boot Camp makes the Mac even more appealing to Windows users considering making the switch.”

Boot Camp simplifies Windows installation on an Intel-based Mac by providing a simple graphical step-by-step assistant application to dynamically create a second partition on the hard drive for Windows, to burn a CD with all the necessary Windows drivers, and to install Windows from a Windows XP installation CD. After installation is complete, users can choose to run either Mac OS X or Windows when they restart their computer.

Funny Apple notes on the Boot Camp web page include:
EFI and BIOS – Macs use an ultra-modern industry standard technology called EFI to handle booting. Sadly, Windows XP, and even the upcoming Vista, are stuck in the 1980s with old-fashioned BIOS. But with Boot Camp, the Mac can operate smoothly in both centuries.

Word to the Wise – 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.

The public beta of Boot Camp is available immediately as a download, and is preview software licensed for use on a trial basis for a limited time. The final version of Boot Camp will be available as a feature in the upcoming Mac OS X version 10.5 “Leopard.” Apple does not provide support for installing or running Boot Camp and does not sell or support Microsoft Windows software. Apple welcomes user feedback on Boot Camp at:

Boot Camp requires an Intel-based Mac with a USB keyboard and mouse, or a built-in keyboard and TrackPad; Mac OS X version 10.4.6 or later; the latest firmware update; at least 10GB of free space on the startup disk; a blank recordable CD or DVD; and single-disc version of Windows XP Home Edition or Professional with Service Pack 2 or later.

More info about Apple’s Boot Camp public beta and download link here.

MacDailyNews Take: Welcome to “Embrace and extinguish,” Apple-style. The war ain’t over, folks. It never was. Now, a new chapter begins and today’s shot will be heard around the world! Don’t you just love the smell of napalm in the morning?

This doesn’t hurt Microsoft (yet), but it absolutely puts Dell, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, etc. into a world of pain.

Why buy a Dell when Apple’s Intel-based Macs will run both Mac OS X and Windows? As we wrote way back on June 8, 2005: Oh, so one could buy a Mac and run both Windows and Mac OS X or buy a Dell and only be able to run Windows. Muahahahahah! So, can anyone explain why would anyone in their right mind would buy a Dell or any other Wintel box assembler’s kit again? This is shaping up to become a “license Mac OS X or die” problem for the Dells of the world. But, what if Steve Jobs doesn’t feel like licensing Mac OS X? Checkmate. Is it too early to suggest that Michael Dell shut down the company and give the money back to shareholders?

Wait until Wall Street figures this one out.

As we wrote in a MacDailyNews Take on May 9, 2005:“The war isn’t over until there’s a surrender. Apple’s still here and the Mac platform is growing and advancing, not shrinking and retreating. As long as Apple makes Macs, as Yogi said, ‘It ain’t over ’til it’s over.’ PCs are turned over every few years; all it would take is for the average user to choose a Mac for their next computer and things would quickly change drastically. With Windows in disarray and Longhorn looking more like Stillborn, right now is Apple’s best time to strike and strike hard.”

Our own SteveJack wrote on December 28, 2005, “Could Steve Jobs be preparing to drop just such a bomb on the Windows box assemblers at Macworld Expo or sometime in 2006? Would he first drop just a moderately destructive atomic bomb on the likes of Dell, HP, Lenovo, Gateway, etc., leaving out the ‘Windows apps on Mac without Windows’ threat to Microsoft? Or could Jobs actually be boldly planning to drop the industry-devastating hydrogen bomb on both the Windows box assemblers and Microsoft all in one fell swoop? If a Mac could run Mac OS X and Windows, who would buy a Dell, HP, etc.? If a Mac could run Mac OS X and Windows applications without Windows, who would buy a Dell or a copy of Windows from Microsoft? And what would Microsoft be able to do about it? Drop Internet Explorer for Mac (LOL)? Drop Office for Mac? Big deal, we’ll run the Windows versions on our Macs then, if need be. Is this why Jobs has been building a world-class library of Mac-only software titles for years? Does Jobs still harbor the desire to take back the personal computer industry from Microsoft? Could that be the real reason why Jobs is undertaking the massive switch to Intel-based Macs? Or do you really think the switch to Intel-based Macs is just to get better performance per watt CPUs for Apple iBooks and PowerBooks?”

As Windows-only users buy Macs that will provide them their “comfort” of Windows, they will experience Mac OS X and use it for the excellent Mac-only applications. We all know what happens when people are given the chance to really use Macs for longer than five minutes, they usually want to buy a Mac. These new Apple Mac hardware users will start out using Windows more than Mac OS X and end up using Mac OS X exclusively. Watch and see.

While dual-booting is okay for those that need to use Windows apps, we’d still like to eventually see a solution like Darwine that runs Windows apps without Windows directly in Mac OS X. When that happens, the revenue going to Microsoft dries up and Windows’ death accelerates dramatically.

For those worried about Mac developers leaving the Mac OS X platform and just writing for Windows, we do not think that’s a real worry. Mac developers write for Mac OS X because of the numerous advantages it offers both to them and to the end user. The largest Mac developer, by the way, happens to be Apple, with many best-in-class Mac-only applications (the iLife suite, for just one example). You can’t run these on Windows and Apple isn’t about to abandon Mac OS X for Windows. Oh, sure, maybe a few smaller developers will try it, but most of the shaky Mac developers have already been weeded out during the Mac OS X transition anyway. Mac OS X is strong and getting stronger. Don’t worry about developers leaving the Mac platform for Windows; it’s not going to happen.

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Related articles:
Dude, you bought a Dell? What are you, stupid? Only Apple Macs run both Mac OS X and Windows! – April 05, 2006
Intel-based Apple Mac runs Windows XP ‘fast, extremely well’ – March 16, 2006
Needham: Apple’s Mac market share could rocket to 9-percent if Intel-based Macs ran Windows apps – March 08, 2006
Is Steve Jobs prepping ‘The Cupertino Project’ – Intel-based Macs that will run Windows apps, too? – December 28, 2005
Apple patent application describes Intel-based Macs that run Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows – November 05, 2005
Is Apple morphing Mac into the ultimate PC capable of running Mac OS X, Windows, Linux? – June 20, 2005
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ ultimate goal: ‘to take back the computer business from Microsoft’ – June 16, 2005
Why buy a Dell when Apple’s Intel-based computers will run both Mac OS X and Windows? – June 08, 2005
Windows users who try Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger might not want to go back – June 07, 2005
Microsoft and Dell must have a lot of bricks lying around today – June 07, 2005
Microsoft CEO Ballmer: Apple’s moved to Intel? Ho hum – June 07, 2005
Apple about to resurrect its Switch campaign? Are the ‘OS wars’ really over? – May 09, 2005
Apple Macs are less expensive, more secure, longer-lasting than Windows PCs – April 21, 2005

231 Comments

  1. The strategy is unfolding before our eyes folks, just as I have been predicting since the Intel switch.
    It’s about software compatibility, not to get even with IBM.

    “i realllly hope this isnt the begining of the end of our beloved os”

    It’s not. What they are doing is creating a ‘classic’ type situation with Windows, where it will be easy for people with Windows based software to transition to the Mac. It helps overcome the biggest hurdle to switching, which is software compatibility. Now people arent going to havae to rebuy all their software at the same time they buy a new Mac. It’s fraking brilliant.

  2. Andy –

    “rick – i mean – why would developers pump there money into porting apps if mac users can run windows versions – not my view but possibly theres?”

    It looks like Apple’s trying to turn the tide completely – get developers to write for OS X first and then port to Windows. The latest news about Xcode is that it can turn Universal Binaries into Windows executables.

    Zoiks!!! Apple’s pulling some serious judo moves here.

  3. In my opinion, bringing the windows environment (in any form) onto Mac is not a great idea, it’s just too much like sitting next to a bomb, a bomb just waiting to fuck your system up. Personally it won’t be of any real use to me, at the moment I use one windows only app and whilst I can shift all my other stuff onto OS X apps I need to use them at the same time. This means that for work I’ll still be using windows all day and as such there’s no reason to spend the coin on a new mac to replace a crappy but perfectly (used loosely) working Dell.

    I currently have a powerbook and am looking to move up to an iMac (keeping the powerbook), if it were the other way around then I’d consider a MacBook Pro because then I could at least use it at work and home but as is it’s just not a solution that works for me. Personally I’d be better off connecting to a cheap headless windows machine via a remote desktop connection.

    I think it’s a very interesting step though. I’m intrigued as to exactly how much a part of Leopard they’ll make it.

  4. This is all Apple can do? They take the hard work from some hackers and then brand it as their own? Come on Apple. Give us virtual machines. I have no interest in dual booting as its a real pain in the ass. Give me the ability to run a Windows or Linux OS in a virtual machine running in OS X. Or do we need to wait for VMware to do this? Isn’t there anybody smart enough at Apple to understand operating systems or is everybody more concerned about the look of the next font or icon?

  5. I love this comment on the Apple page :
    “Macs use an ultra-modern industry standard technology called EFI to handle booting. Sadly, Windows XP, and even the upcoming Vista, are stuck in the 1980s with old-fashioned BIOS. But with Boot Camp, the Mac can operate smoothly in both centuries.”

  6. Great googly-moogly, as they say.

    I definitely agree that dual-booting is not the ideal solution, but has anyone considered that maybe Apple doesn’t want to provide the ideal solution?

    I mean, think about it this way – what if you get your new Mac, play with it, rip some songs, throw in some photos, etc. Then you install your Windows copy to use some software you “need” to run. (need, as in I need to play NeverWinter Nights 2 the minute it is released..)

    Then the next time you want to listen to music or play with iPhoto or GarageBand… you have to reboot. And eventually everyone will find themselves making a choice.

    The choice is simple – where do you spend most of your time? Because very few dual-booters are going to want to sit through a restart just to switch applications. That means they are most likely to start compartmentalizing their computer use. Dedicating certain amounts of time for one OS or the other. One may find that the Windows boot is only used for one or two apps (games? some critical app. like Autocad?) and that the Mac boot is used at all other times. And that it becomes more and more painful to have to make that switch when you want to use the Windows side.

    So maybe Apple wants to make that choice more difficult. Don’t make using the Windows side too easy.

    Then again, maybe this is just the beta version, and the Leopard version will be virtualization-technology enabled to allow simultaneous boots of both OS’s to run side by side with a “fast-user switching” type thing.

    Many have suggested that the Mac OS software market will be killed by this. I can’t see that happening, but I certainly can see some subsets being affected. Game development, for one, depending on the driver support. In other words, who’s going to bother doing all the hard work of translating a game to Mac, only to sell a few thousand copies, if the Mac on Intel can run it natively in a Windows boot partition?

    Again, it depends on how well those games actually function.

    And the whole virus thing will not go away. The fact that you might spread virii to your Mac partition by running Windows means that at the very least most smart people would never ever use the Windows partition for Internet surfing or email.

    Time will tell, but this is a very VERY interesting development. Not totally unexpected, and a little scary in its possible repurcussions.

    On the other hand, let’s say that there are a bunch of new Mac users that buy Macs more or less just for the possibility of using some Mac stuff, but that really just want the Windows that they are familiar with.

    Well, Apple still gets the Mac money from them, eh? And eventually, they will be able to try their Mac too, even if they don’t buy any Mac software. This will grow the Mac market in raw numbers, even if they aren’t really buying the Mac software. This could create a sea change of available Mac systems without causing people any concern about “switching” – because they’d still have everything they need on a partition. Hmmm….

    Sounds like a no-lose proposition for Apple, at least.

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