Boot Camp: an expensive downgrade for your Mac?

Boot Camp: an expensive downgrade for your Mac?

Summary: So Apple has launched Boot Camp, which is a piece of software that allows its customers to choose between Windows XP and OS X when booting up. But if you have OS X, why would you downgrade?


So Apple has launched Boot Camp, which is a piece of software that allows its customers to choose between Windows XP and OS X when booting up. But if you have OS X, why would you downgrade?

I am an Apple customer and although I couldn't use Boot Camp -- because I have a prehistoric PowerBook G4 instead of a trendy new Intel-based system -- I wouldn't want to.

I have already made my decision and bought my platform of choice, which is OS X and not Windows. There is a good reason for this.

Having used Windows for years I was surprised to find that an operating system could be a pleasure to use. OS X doesn't annoy me with intruding dialogue boxes that take over the screen and make me stop what I am doing; instead, Mac applications that need my attention gently bob up and down on the dock and wait for me to make time for them. How refreshing.

How effortless is it to install an application in OS X? There is none of the rubbish you have to deal with when using Windows XP. Just drop the icon from one box into another and hey, all done. Simple. Easy.

Microsoft Vista seems to be similar to OS X in many ways but it is still almost a year away. And even after it has been released, Microsoft will have to spend the next year cleaning up all the bugs that were missed during its extensive testing programme.

This week I spoke to Kevin Weiss, president of antivirus firm McAfee. During our conversation, he admitted that over Christmas he had just bought his first Mac -- to go with his well used iPod.

"I like it. It is very intuitive and it just works. It is easy -- Windows is not easy," Kevin said.

He also made a good point about the future prospects of Apple: "Now they are Intel based I think the prices will come down and they will compete very nicely with Microsoft in the consumer space but there are so many corporate applications that are written for Windows that it will be an uphill battle to get there."

This, I think, was his most important point.

I understand that some people have applications that need Windows. I understand that. I really do. I feel truly sorry for these people. You have my deepest sympathies.

But the future is all about browser-based applications and the sooner your corporate applications are browser-enabled the better.

IMHO, when compared to OS X, Windows XP is simply third class. In terms of usability, looks and security there is no comparison.

As Apple points out, "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 why do it?

Topics: Apple, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

Munir Kotadia

About Munir Kotadia

Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.

Munir was recognised as Australia's Best Technology Columnist at the 5th Annual Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards 2007. In the previous year he was named Best News Journalist at the Consensus IT Writers Awards.

He no longer uses his Commodore 64.

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  • Mate I agree...

    I'm not even a Mac user (although my friends have them) and I agree.


    Seeing that godawful bootup screen on the lovely Mac hardware is's like seeing your grandmother naked, it's just plain WRONG !

    Anyway, at least the Penguin is safe.... YellowDog is the real deal.
  • You're missing the entire point of Bootcamp

    Apple aren't introducing Boot Camp to convert Mac users to Windows. They know you are loyal and won't (generally) want anything to do with Windows.

    They're targeting Windows users, not Mac users. This is not a product for Mac users. What this does, it allows Apple to sell boxes to the mainstream personal computer user base - and in the process - perhaps - convince some of them that the Mac OS is better than Windows.
  • Actually, Apple missed the point!

    Perhaps it is just me, and I understand fully the implications of what I am about to say, but wouldn
  • I disagree

    I, for one, will be installing boot camp this weekend but only because there are a few games available only on the PC that I want to play.

    Everything else I need for work is on my Mac already and if the games were out for the Mac then I wouldn't even have to go near XP, but as it stands I'll be installing Boot Camp to game.

    The only other people I can see using it are those who need certain programs to do their job but are more comfortable with Mac OSX for everything else.
  • About bleedin time

    This is great news! Now all I need is the cash to afford one of these wotsits. One thing people are missing is that macs are still feckin expensive which means that even a trick like this won't make life hard for the people advertising microsoft arse. Sorry I mean microsoft windows.
  • Yeah your probabally right

    I work in Sys admin and I study, I use both Apple and PC. When I'm doing research, the mac file structure seems to be better indexed and theres less interuptive automation about. I think the PC is disributed more widely as people can pirate the microsoft system, so costs are down, but if it was just for quality the mac seems a touch better.
  • Shame on you

    Why would one want to switch to OSX when XP is just so nice to use???
    As a dedicated Windows Support Person and someone who also supports OSX, I find that Windows XP is the most easiest OS to configure, support, diagnose, and teach people to use. Its highly customisable, runs on anything, and you can customise software installations sooo easily.
    OSX is just a biatch to setup, support and use. Plus I hate what Apple is doing here in Tasmania!
  • IBM???

    What is it with all of the references to IBM this and IBM that? The common theme is Windows - not the Wintel hardware they are running on - IBM is just one of many - HP, Dell, Gateway - the list goes on.
    I'd be more impressed if Apple sold osX in a form that ran on standard Wintel boxes. (apparently it can be done - but not exactly out-of-the-box)
  • What a laugh

    I hate to burst the Mac frantic bubble , but has anybody told these people's that the Mac Machine's are nothing more than a PC box , (white box model) made and delevoped by others without Apples input and has been doings so for decades , plus Apple's higher than mighty charges for what ? . Apple fancy GUI on top a BSD O/S . Please give'me a break .

    P.S I don't use Apple nor do I give a Toss.
  • Arg, flashback!

    "But the future is all about browser-based applications and the sooner your corporate applications are browser-enabled the better."

    I think you must have been channelling Scott McNealy or Larry Ellison for a moment there. The future is *not* the browser, as even with buzzword-du-jour Ajax pixie dust sprinkled everywhere, Web 2.0 applications are still affected by network reliability and performance.

    Anyway, back to Boot Camp. Prices are unlikely to come down, even with the shift to Intel. Apple commands a premium because people imagine that they are buying into something a bit special, more exclusive than a Wintel PC. Of course, these days, it's more illusionary than ever. I guess it's just like buying cars - if everyone owned a Porsche, then how could you show off to your neighbour? (In fact, IIRC Porsche Australia are concerned by their increasing sales, as it reduces the exclusivity of their product, and are actually aiming to reduce the number of sales).

    The price premium is still a significant barrier - I just splashed out over $3000 for an LG S1 laptop. An equivalently specced Macbook Pro costs up to 20% more. It *was* tempting, but for that sort of money, not tempting enough. If I want to get onto the Apple bandwagon, it'll have to be through an Ebay-sourced Mac Mini (and not the Intel variant, either). At least *they* are more reasonably priced.
  • What?

    Is there a single accurate statement in this posting? Apple iMacs etc have been 'white box' PCs for decades? What alternate reality does that bear any relationship, even slightly, to the truth?
  • Not exclusiveness

    Mac buyers don
  • Why bootcamp? Open Source.

    I believe boot camp is a technical ruse designed to permit developers of Open Source operating systems etc to port their software to the new MacBooks. It is simply marketed under the guise of compatibility with Windows.

    If they cared for their competitor that much, there would be one file system shared between the two operating systems.
  • FUD

    Could you be anymore wrong in your dribble? Try using a modern Mac before you try defending your PC, or as you call them, IBM. I could take each of your statements and easily prove you wrong. Sadly it would do no good PC fanboy.
  • Wow, what a dweeb

    All I can say is "Jane you ignorant slut."
  • Here's "why do it"

    Because good software for some applications just flat-out isn't available for the Mac -- and I say this as a pro-Mac bigot.

    Need mapping and routing software to run on your laptop while traveling? DeLorme is the cat's pajamas... but they discontinued their Mac package six years ago. (I still use it, but the maps are way out of date.) The only Mac package is Route 66, which is so horrible I can't believe it was ever QA'd.

    Do you want full-featured personal finance software? Quicken for the Mac is a cruel joke (see the Amazon reviews). Intuit puts all its effort into Quicken for Windows.

    And if you're a gamer... well, never mind, anyone who would ask this question obviously isn't a gamer
  • Don't forget switchers

    Not only are there apps only available on Windows, there are also Windows users who are considering switching. (I got my first Mac ever in March, though I also still have PCs.) Those users have apps that they don't want to give up or pay to replace yet, and with Boot Camp they don't need to.
  • Yeah but it seems you've overlooked a point yourself.

    M$ spends SO MUCH of their time programming to make windows compatible with every possible hardware config u can think of (exc. power pc based comps ofcourse). I mean the amount of trouble shooting they have to do, the cost and time that takes is enormous. Not to mention the amount of money apple makes on hardware.

    Releasing OS X for other computers, while a good idea in theory, just wouldn't work to Apples advantage, they'de loose too much money, waste too much time and you forget.

    Some people actually CHOOSE to use windows over OS X. This is actually a huge number of people. they are unlikely to purchase os x furthering apples losses. I mean i personally am glad apple doesn't go releasing the ir os to every pc. i want my mac to be stable, stay stable, have the support it current has and most importantly. i want my mac to "just work."
  • Bootcamp is great for gamers

    Just face it. If you run Windows and do not access the internet, you have no problems at all.

    This is why Bootcamp is great. Those who love games, but love Mac for everything else, can finally have the best of both worlds.
  • Fanboy

    Apprantly this is the only thing a Mac "fanboy" can say when they are forced to face the truth.