Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Let the benchmarking commence!

Apple today announced a beta version of a program that lets you install and run the Windows XP operating system on any Intel-powered Mac. Called Boot Camp (geddit? No, me neither!) it makes installing Windows XP on a Mac as straightforward and painless as possible.

Forget for a moment the important questions like 'Why, when my Mac already has a stable, beautiful, 21st century operating system, would I want to go out and buy a copy of Windows XP?', and consider why Apple would have even considered this a good idea!

Here's my two penn'orth...

- Apple knows that their machines look fantastic, and that they are also good value-for-money when compared feature-for-feature with other Intel-powered hardware. This gives them the chance to prove it in scientific side-by-side, like-for-like reviews.

- A significant number of PC users would like to own Apple's hardware for its aesthetics and usability, but can't justify moving to it because of the legacy (Windows-based) software they own. At a stroke, Apple have removed this stumbling block.

- Once someone has a computer that can run both Windows and Mac OSX, curiosity is going to drive them to try both systems. iTunes looks and works better on OSX. iPhoto is gorgeous, and has no direct equivalent on Windows. Mail is prettier and simpler than Entourage... and so on, and so forth...

By the time OSX 10.5 is released (probably just before Windows Vista, Microsoft's answer to OSX) there will be a significant number of people who have discovered first-hand just how good OSX is, and will be telling their (Windows-using) friends about it. This is SO much more powerful than someone who has used Macs for years telling you how good it is... this is someone who has used Windows for years (not some gloating, dyed-in-the-wool, Mac-user) sharing with someone else who has used Windows for years that OSX 10.4 is brilliant, and that there is an even better system arriving... just as Microsoft are trying to build interest in their brand-new operating system.

And here is the kicker.

Let's just suppose that Windows Vista is a marvellous operating system. That it is worth the money to upgrade to it. At this point Windows users are going to have to face the same dilemma that long-term Mac-users have had to face at least twice... the software that runs so well on Windows XP won't run on Windows Vista. And for many people it won't even run on the hardware they own... Windows Vista is going to require a LOT of horsepower to run well.

At this point, anyone who is still running XP on a Mac has to wonder... do I buy Vista, plus software, plus hardware... or do I migrate to OSX, (which I already have, and which I've tried, and don't hate) and start using the Apple suite of software (which I already have)?

Steve Jobs likes to joke that Apple is Microsoft's leading R&D department. The next couple of years is going to be a fascinating time, and one where we may see Apple becoming Microsoft's nemesis.


ConradGempf said...

So for at least a year, the fastest way to run Adobe Photoshop on a new Mac will be to buy the Windows version?

brett jordan said...

i really wish you wouldn't think of stuff like that conrad... my head will now be doing somersaults all morning

Skep said...

...You know... I never saw it this way. Those are some brilliant ideas, and now makes the joke truer than ever.
Furthermore, this makes gaming on a Mac far easier... which is what I was waiting for. Now we just need interchangable hardware, for the more extreme gamers to build their own Mac-rigs...

brett jordan said...

hi skep... i'm guessing the next batch of Mac desktop machines will have at least a couple of empty slots just begging to be filled with lunatic graphics cards... and of course, the intel chips are the same ones your crazy pals are already tinkering with!

as american technology research have said today

"Additionally, with support for both EFI and BIOS for booting, Microsoft Vista will also be supported on a Mac. We view this as an incremental negative for HP, DELL and other PC makers as Apple will be able to garner additional PC market share."


but what are us mac people going to do when we are no longer part of a smug minority? i'd better start reading up some of those linux handbooks!

Anonymous said...

Brett said: "i'm guessing the next batch of Mac desktop machines will have at least a couple of empty slots just begging to be filled with lunatic graphics cards."

They already do:

The intel version will be a gamer's dream machine.

Simon said...

I agree OSX is sexy, although you can only really admire it for its beauty on a good high resolution screen which from apple cost an arm and a leg. I currently use OSX 10 at work on an old 500Mhz G3 PPC, it's nice and pretty and I am sure I would enjoy it's features much more on a faster computer with a better monitor - as it stands I have already had to bring in my pc so as to do things that would take too long on this apple.

Although saying that, I am one of those people who can spend all day in an Apple shop playing. I love the computers and the OS just not the price tag. Maybe one day I will get the pennies to buy a Mac Pro - although year after year I keep intending to do so and year after year I end up getting a pc... the ironic thing is, in all cases I could have spent the same on a mac as I did on the pc and get better value for money!