By JAMES DERK
Scripps Howard News Service
March 25, 2006
It's only been a couple of months since Apple released its new line of computers running on Intel processors, the same processors that run many Windows-based computers. At that time, pundits said, it would be only a matter of time before Apple hardware would run Windows.
Well, the time has come.
Thanks to an ad-hoc contest, a guy named Jesus Lopez is $13,854 richer. After the contest to hack the Mac to run Windows was announced in January, Lopez bought a Mac (his first!) and enlisted the help of a Mac expert (Eric Wasserman) to get his Imac to dual boot to Windows XP.
And now it does, albeit kinda slowly and after some great technical tinkering. Now that the whole technical community is in on the gig though, the process is likely to make the Windows on the Mac project greatly streamlined. (You can get the details at Macworld (www.macworld.com) if you care to try it on your gleaming IMac.
What will this likely mean for the rest of us?
Well, prior to the use of Intel processors on Macs, we had to use a software package called Virtual PC to run Windows XP on the Mac. It worked but wasn't the speediest thing on the planet.
If Windows ever could run natively on Apple hardware (with or without Apple's consent) it would open up a rather large market considering Apple's hardware is so much better than anything else out there. (Yes, I know many people consider Apple's software better, too, but that's another column.) So running Windows on the best hardware would be a really great solution for a lot of people.
Apple claims it did not make the switch to Intel processors to facilitate the use of Windows of course but rather to speed up its own platform. One recent study, however, said Apple could stand to sell more than a million more PCs a year if they can run Windows.
To someone who hasn't touched an Apple product it is really hard to explain the difference. A friend of mine called me the other day and we were talking about what laptop she ought to buy. Because she's on a tight budget we were talking about PC versus Apple, which today is a $550 versus $1,000 decision at the low end.
So is Apple worth twice as much?
I asked her, have you held an Ipod? She said yes and that her immediate reaction was "I want one!" Well, Apples are like that. The bottom of my Ibook laptop is as pretty as the top. The bottom of my Dell laptop looks and feels like the lunar surface. Both work just fine.
The Apple is just, well, better.
For her needs I am not sure if Apple is worth making the leap. But it well may be, considering her last Windows laptop died after only 14 months of periodic service.
So we shall see what the rest of the year brings as the rest of the Apple line of hardware is moved from the Power PC platform to Intel chips. We will see faster laptops and desktops, better designs and, hopefully, lower prices (but don't count on the last one.) We also should see revamped Ipods and who knows what else from the House of Jobs.
WEEKLY WEB WONDER: One of the better sites that discusses rumors and hints of what is to come in the world of the Apple is Think Secret (www.thinksecret.com).
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Scripps Howard News Service.