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Apple's Boot Camp seeks recruits

APPLE'S Boot Camp software that lets Microsoft's Windows run on its new computers has sparked interest from Mac and Windows users, but some say it may end up gathering dust.

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Temptation: Apple is attempting to lure new users by saying they can go back to Windows, but few are expected to take advantage of the feature Picture: AFP
The Boot Camp beta software released last week is designed to reassure users thinking of switching to Mac that they'd be able to run Windows if required.

Boot Camp is expected to be included in the next generation of Apple's Unix-based OSX operating system.

Boot Camp, made possible by Apple's switch to Intel processors, differs from the various emulators that allow Windows to run on a Mac within OSX in that it creates a separate virtual disk for Windows to run "natively".

Engineers at Next Byte, the country's largest chain of Apple retailers, tested Boot Camp shortly after the download became available, joint managing director Tim Kleemann said.

"Our initial reaction is that the beta is performing very well," Mr Kleemann said.

However, many users who installed emulators, such as Microsoft's Virtual PC, to run Windows within OSX, found they seldom used it, he said.

"A lot of people get Virtual PC or buy a Mac because Virtual PC exists and never end up using it,"Mr Kleemann said.

Nevertheless, the availability of Boot Camp was a plus for Apple users, he said. "I can't see a negative from this at all."

Gartner analyst Michael Silver said he expected the new application to have little effect on enterprise computer sales.

"It might have some impact on consumer sales," he said.

But even for home users, the ability to run Windows may not be an option taken up by users once they dealt with the cost of a licensed version of Windows.

"They (Apple) may get some people to buy Macs because of this, but frankly I think that when people see how much extra money it will cost them to run Windows, I'm not sure that many will really do it," he said.

It was more about reassuring people considering buying a Mac for the first time, he said.

Apple's target was new users rather than existing ones, he said.

One way Boot Camp may boost Mac sales was the growing trend for employees to buy their own PCs for work, Mr Silver said.

"We see some companies starting to have users buying their own machines," he said.

"We see this as a growing trend over the next few years."

Boot Camp could let these users have a Mac for personal use and have Windows for work.

More significantly, Boot Camp could pave the way for a "hypervisor" that could allow Windows to run in parallel with OSX without the need for a reboot.

Running Windows allows users to tap the much larger range of games designed for Microsoft's operating system.

Mr Kleemann said Next Byte had seen interest from schools that ran both Macs and PCs.

The availability of Boot Camp should help increase Apple's market share, he said.

It could allow Apple to steal sales from makers of lookalike machines, he said.

"I think it will clearly poach sales from Dell. I think there will be more than one meeting at Dell to discuss Boot Camp."

The switch to Intel had boosted notebook sales, he said.

"We are only just catching up to orders for the Mac Book Pro announced in January."

Even if Apple did lift its sales, it would be unlikely to have a major impact on the PC market, which is expected to have up to 225 million units sold this year.

Apple has a market share of just over 2 per cent.

Apple's Boot Camp seeks recruits - Monday, April 10, 2006 -

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