My dream has come true.
For a long time I've wanted to run both Windows and Mac OS on the same machine. I have software and data on both platforms, and it's a pain to have to have to deal with two different machines. Virtualization (such as Virtual PC) is very slow. And alas! Virtual PC doesn't work on the new Intel dual core Macbooks. There are other alternatives, of course, such as Opensource's Wintel, and Parallel System. But they're kind of a hassle.
Guess what? Apple just dropped the bomb on Wednesday. Without any prior hints, they offered a beta version of Boot Camp for free download, and will be part of Leopard (OS 10.5) when it ships by the end of the year.
Apple's Boot Camp will make it possible for anyone with an Intel-based Mac (iMac, Macbook, Mac Mini, etc.) to create a dual-boot system and run Windows XP natively. While I'd love to be able to switch between Windows and Mac OS instantly and virtualization has its appeal because of that, the ability of running Windows natively (and fast) is very attractive. Having one machine that does it all is really a dream come true. Since none of the Intel-based PCs run Mac OS, Apple seems to have an upper hand on this. I know for a fact that many people want Macs, but they're stuck using Windows because of work or prior investment in software and hardware. Now, they have a choice of NOT having to choose.
Some Mac fanatics would argue that Apple is selling its soul to the Devil. I see it differently, from a pragmatic angle. Apple's share in the PC market is a paltry 15%. With the ability to run Windows natively, I'll bet that Apple's market share will skyrocket within the next year or so. When you combine the ultra-cool designs (and they look good with iPods, which own 70% of the digital music player market), the processing power, the price points (the Macbook and iMac start at about $1999, and the Mac Mini starts at $599) and the ability to run both operating systems, you have a winner. I can see people start rushing out to get a Mac as I type now.
Apple also makes a smart move by notsupporting Windows officially. They're basically saying, the techology is available, but try Boot Camp at your own risk. I think by saying that, they're not compromising their position (and superiority complex) with Microsoft. Also, users need to shell out their own copies of Windows. What Apple's saying is this: We might make it easier for you, but we're not going to be your pimp.
Anyway, I'm letting my techie self feel giddy. As a writer and artist, I welcome this news. It's going to make life easier for me. I have no doubts about that.