You’ve by now heard of Boot Camp, Apple’s dual-booting solution to allow new Intel Macs to run both Windows XP and Mac OS X. The dual-boot has been done before to much fanfare and an assload of prize money, but you can bet your ass people will feel a lot safer about an “official” way to do it. You can also bet your ass the Apple method is a lot friendlier to the common user. Not dead-set easy, but an improvement.
It’s a public beta, which you can also bet your ass is such that driver support can be flexed and fixed before official launch (lots of ass-betting today). And since Boot Camp is reported to be a feature of Mac OS X 10.5 ‘Leopard’, we can expect to hear a real release date at this year’s WWDC.
The funny thing about this announcement, much like the late job posting that destroyed all hope of a significantly redesigned Finder in time for Leopard, is that it puts paid to the rumors of a built-in virtual machine. Whether Microsoft updates Virtual PC for Intel-based Macs is up to them, but you won’t see it built into Leopard. Even moreso, it squashes those (admittedly far-fetched) hopes of a Windows compatibility layer —a device not dissimilar, at least from the user’s perspective, to the Classic environment or X11— to allow Windows apps and Mac apps to run side-by-side at the same time.
This isn’t to say grander things will never happen, just that they won’t be happening in Leopard.