The public beta of Boot Camp has been out for a day now, and for the most part I’ve viewed it as an interesting development, but nothing that impacts me directly. I’m still using an aluminum PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz as my main machine, so I don’t even have an Intel-powered Mac to test Boot Camp on. But looking ahead, I realized that Apple not only saved me probably $1000, it also took that thousand bucks away from Dell or some other PC manufacturer.
Currently, I own a Dell Inspiron 5100 hulk of a laptop that I bought refurbished for $800 a few years ago. Although I don’t use it much, it’s good to have for testing or accessing stupid Web sites that simply don’t work on the Mac. I chose a laptop because it’s portable, but compared to my lithe PowerBook, the Inspiron is like a fat tank. Still, it works fine. But later this year, it’s likely I’ll be working on a project where I’ll need a Windows PC, and I don’t know if the specs on the Inspiron will be up to the task.
I assumed that I’d need to buy a new PC, but thanks to Boot Camp, I can instead spring for a new MacBook Pro (which might be updated by the time I need it) plus a copy of Microsoft Windows and have both environments with me on the same portable. I’ll be buying one new laptop instead of two.
It will be interesting to see if PC manufacturers respond to Boot Camp. Sure, right now they’re going to say, “We’ve been doing Windows PCs for years, and we can do them cheaper than Apple.” But I’ll bet we’ll see more effort being put into better industrial design as they realize that a new competitor has climbed into their market space.