The assumption out there seems to be that the only people who will really care about a system which can dual boot in both Windows and OS X are computer geeks. The fact is that there is one market that will be really excited about this: the rest of the friggin world! That is, the developing world. If you look at India and China, probably Brazil as well, it is a Windows world. You simply can’t function in many educational or work environments with a mac. For instance, at Dong Hwa I can’t access any of the university databases without MSIE for Windows. Workarounds won’t do the trick either. So right now I have two computers running in my office — my Apple laptop and the PC the university gave me when I arrived. But now I’m sorely tempted to go out and buy an iMac or a MacMini that I can use in my office as my sole computer.
Of course, rebooting your computer every time you want to use Windows isn’t much fun. But a third party developer seems to have released something even more exciting than Apple’s Boot Camp: Parallels Workstation 2.1 Beta:
Parallels Workstation 2.1 Beta for Mac OS X is NOT simply a “dual-boot” solution; rather, it empowers users the ability to use Windows, Linux and any other operating system at the same time as Mac OS X, enabling users to enjoy the comfort of their Mac OS X desktop while still being able to use critical applications from other OSes.
As I understand it, it is like Virtual PC, except a lot faster since it makes use of the intel processor in new Apple computers. On one of my e-mail lists it was reported that software runs only marginally slower than it would if you booted directly in Windows. Considering the fact that I only occasionally need to use anything on a PC, this seems like the ideal solution.
Except, that this might be an even better solution:
The Darwine project intends to port and develop WINE as well as other supporting tools that will allow Darwin and Mac OS X users to run Windows Applications, and to provide a Win32 API compatibility at application source code level.
That means that Windows programs can just run on OS X without the need for Windows whatsoever …
While I don’t think stuff like this will catapult Apple to world domination, I expect that it could easily double their sales in many countries where people are locked in to a PC environment but would like to use a mac.
Photos: Link to a Flickr photo set of Chinese Windows running on a Mac.
PS: I also wanted to add that all the open source software out there makes using a Windows computer much less painful than it used to be. I just load up Firefox, Thunderbird, Open Office, Google Pack, etc.. and I’m ready to go!