Apple has released in beta an upgrade of its dual-boot Boot Camp software to support Windows Vista on the computer maker's Intel-based Macs.
Along with support for Vista, Boot Camp 1.2 also includes updated trackpad, AppleTime, audio, graphics, modem, and iSight camera drivers. There's also support for Apple Remote, which works with iTunes and Windows Media Player, and a Windows system tray icon for easier access to Boot Camp information and actions.
In addition, the upgrade makes it easier to install Windows drivers, and has updated documentation and Boot Camp online help in Windows.
Apple plans to include the latest Boot Camp in the next major release of Mac OS X, called Leopard. The upgrade is expected this year. While offering software to install and run Windows on the Mac, Apple doesn't sell the Microsoft operating system or support it.
Boot Camp gives users a choice at startup between Windows and Mac OS X. The software runs Windows natively, but requires a restart of the machine to flip to the other operating system. Boot Camp supports Windows XP Home or Professional editions with Service Pack 2, and Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate.
In order to install Windows, however, users will need a new copy of the software. Discs that ship with PCs won't work, because they're backup copies in case the original loaded on the machine is corrupted. The backup copy is tied to the bios of each machine, and is also registered to that machine.
In offering Boot Camp, Apple is hoping to generate more Mac users, particularly among people who may want Apple in the home, but use Windows in the office. Apple is on target to increase its share of the market from 5% to up to as much as 10% over the next five to seven years, according to Creative Strategies. Offering Boot Camp could accelerate that projected growth.