After Apple's release of Boot Camp, allowing customers to
install and run Windows XP natively on its Intel-based Macs, many predicted
that it would simply be a matter of time before Macs started shipping with Microsoft's
Windows XP preinstalled. Now it seems the inevitable has occurred.
One of the largest online Apple dealers, MacMall, has announced that it is now shipping iMacs, MacBook Pros and Mac Minis with a choice of Windows XP
Home or Windows XP Pro pre-installed as an option. According to both MacMall's
website and Apple's online store, a identically configured 1.83GHz Core Duo
MacBook Pro can be pre-installed with Windows XP Professional for $100 -- which
is actually a discount.
It's quite interesting to see this occur because currently, Intel-Macs are the
only computers available that can run both OS X and Windows XP natively. While
it is possible to install OS X on home-built PCs, the systems do not have
proper drivers and support (save for some very specifically configured
hardware), and with current OS X versions, operation is haphazard at best.
Analysts are predicting that a trend such as that being done by MacMall,
will give Apple a considerable foot-hold in competing with companies such as
Dell, HP and others. Those customers who previously wanted to switch to a Mac
but were held back by application support concerns now have virtually nothing
to worry about.
Interestingly, as soon as Parallels releases a final retail version of its
Workstation 2.1 virtualization application, we might begin seeing Macs with virtualization pre-installed with Windows XP. This will allow a level of
OS X and Windows integration that was not possible before. Apple's switch to
Intel is clearly becoming more interesting everyday.