Boot Camp, then … Detente?

Apple Computer’s unveiling of Boot Camp, the beta software designed to make it easy for Macintoshes to boot into Windows, has generated a lot of interesting prognostication about what else Apple holds up its sleeve. After reading Cringely’s column, and being one not worried about being wrong in the future, I think I understand, though imprecisely, where Apple’s emerging tactics are going to lead, and I think I also understand some of the implications. I agree with Cringely that it is a “whole new ballgame,” but think things will shake out a little differently.

Forget dual-booting, the functionality provided by Boot Camp on Intel Macs.

Forget virtualization, rumored to be a feature of the next version of the Mac OS X operating system, version 10.5.

Apple is actually heading toward a world where you will be able to run any Windows, Java, or Mac application, on your Intel Macintosh, all within Mac OS X, seamlessly. This is the reason that Apple’s lead software engineer Avadis “Avie” Tevanian left the company at the end of March. Unlike others that think that Apple with become yet another Microsoft operating system OEM, I think they believe that they will become the OEM for Windows, while driving Macintosh users that know and love Windows applications to Mac OS X applications.

What am I talking about? I think that in 3-4 years (and possibly sooner), you will boot up your Mac into Mac OS X. You will then be able to click a Microsoft Outlook (or whatever they call Outlook then) icon in the Mac OS X dock, and it will just load, just like any other Mac OS X application. Only that it’s not. It will use a Windows sub-system of software to work, just like any Windows-native application, only that the user will not see Windows booting and they won’t see any other connection to Windows on the screen. Or beneath the hood, because a full version of Windows will not be running, and viruses/spyware/malware cannot run.

More on this later.

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