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Last Updated: Friday, 12 May 2006, 16:55 GMT 17:55 UK
PCs and Macs start to converge
Chris Long
By Chris Long
Click producer

Boot Camp
Apple's Boot Camp has changed the course of the PC/Mac war
In 1859 Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species. In it he described the way he thought life had developed on Earth. He called it "survival of the fittest".

One hundred and fifty years later, that concept continues to cause a stir around the world.

After watching the little local difficulty between Apple and Microsoft that has been bubbling under for the last 25 odd years I suggest a new chapter to Darwin's book: "If you can't beat them, join them".

With a seriously innovative approach to computing and a user base that lives to embrace those innovations, Apple was able to deliver its own funky front end.

Microsoft could only play catch up: not only did it not manufacture the hardware, but the hardware was not built to treat graphics in the same way.

The personal computer was finding it hard to match the Mac's pictures.

But still, the PC market exploded. There are now nearly a billion desktop computers being used these days and only 3% or so of those are Apple Macs.

The computer market has evolved. We can now see PCs running beta versions of the new Microsoft Windows, Vista. Some thought it was game over, then it all changed.

With the next evolution we had an Apple computer with an Intel processor and a brand new version of OS X, the Mac operating system, to run on it.

New direction

Then Apple flummoxed everyone by launching a program called Boot Camp that allows users to load Windows XP onto an Intel powered Mac.

Man looking at Mac computers, Getty
Apple is riding high as it switches to Intel chips
The gauntlet had been thrown down and it was just a matter of time before OS X was loaded on a PC.

A hacker, who preferred to remain anonymous, told us:

"To install OS X doesn't require too much low level knowledge. You certainly need to be familiar with making a partition on your drive, and segmenting your hard drive essentially to do a specific installation of OS X.

"As it's quite an enthusiast's scene out there at the moment - putting OS X onto PCs - there's a lot of shared experience that you can find on the internet regarding that process."

So we have the Windows platform running XP, Vista and OS X, and we have the Apple platform running OS X, XP Windows and Vista.

We have the Windows platform based on the Intel chipset and we have the Apple platform based on the Intel chipset.

I know they are different but I just cannot see how.

Changing market

Bryan Glick, editor of Computing Magazine and long-time PC user, thinks there was an inevitability about Apple's move to the Intel platform.

He told Click: "The whole personal computer market and technology is becoming increasingly commoditised. Intel is much more of a mass-market commodity provider of chips. IBM, as we've seen, isn't really interested in the mass market; it's already gone out of the PC market itself."

Bill Gates, AP
Macs could also run Windows Vista when it is released
Mac evangelist Sam Downie said: "When Apple announced that they were partnering with Intel I found out that it was a great move by them.

"They were having several problems. Lots of consumers were expecting a G5 in a laptop, and because of heat problems that wasn't going to happen.

"But with the move to Intel those heat problems have died down, there are faster machines, and also the ability to run Windows."

He believes this is a good thing because users can now run the applications they want to.

"For example there's a lot of accounting software on the Windows side which won't make it to the Mac unfortunately, but now, people have that advantage and they can do that."

So in the future, will we see one of the two operating systems taking over?

Brian Glick says: "I think we'll see PCs running Windows and Macs running OS X. I think you'll get some Mac users who will use the Windows capability there in order to be able to run some Windows applications that you can't get for the Mac.

"Personally I can't really see that anyone who's familiar with a Windows environment is suddenly going to choose to use it on a Mac instead."

But when it comes to the crunch, can either Sam or Brian see themselves running Windows XP alongside OS X?

Sam says: "For me, personally, I'll see. When I get that new Mac book pro, I'll see."

As for Brian: "I think it's pretty unlikely to be honest. I've yet to find anything I want to do on a PC that I can't really do one way or another."



SEE ALSO:
Windows on Macs provokes a stir
06 Apr 06 |  Technology
Apple moves to widen Mac appeal
06 Apr 06 |  Technology


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