Boot camp

So Apple is giving us the opportunity to run Windows XP on our macs. How cool is that! I must admit even I am tempted to buy a mac now :) But what does it mean for your website?

Once again the World Wide Web has made me eat my words. Yesterday’s show was recorded a week ago and there I am telling Marcus that the mac doesn’t "officially" support Windows. Little did I know that by the time the show went live that information would be out of date! Sure, Boot camp is only in beta and there are already reports that the process is patchy, but nevertheless this is an exciting development.

Despite what some are saying I think this will cause a significant spike in the sale of macs over the coming years. Although users may well be drawn to the mac because of the combination of sleek hardware and a universal operating system like windows, I think we will quickly see people seduced by the great user interface of the mac operating system. I believe this move will actually increase the number of people using the mac OS rather than decreasing it as you might first expect.

I am convinced it will also lead to a growing number of people accessing our websites via the mac OS using alternative browsers. This will cause a further decline in IEs market dominance in favour of browsers like Firefox and Safari. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me if this actually lead to a significant jump in the usage of Firefox as it would provide a consistent users experience across both windows and mac.

Whatever the case I suggest you keep an eye on your web stats and monitor browser and operating levels. But don’t expect things to change in the immediate. You wont see significant variations until macs start shipping with Windows and OS 10 pre installed.

  • I agree all the way. Apple’s move with Boot Camp provides the best of both worlds from a usabilty front. You comment on what your readers have as far as OS and Browser is good too. I watch mine closely and I think that my traffic is a bit odd in that I talk about design and life on my site. Typically design speak gets you Mac/Firefox readers but 84% of my readers are on Windows and 65% on Firefox. It will be interesting to see how these numbers change as my readership and Boot Camp matures.

  • Well, for one thing, I think Voxxit will work with IE in the next revision coming May 1st :)

  • Before the Mac people decided to support XP, I would have never switched because of how dependant I am on Windows-based software. For my next computer, I might actually get a Mac. Having both Vista (thinking ahead) and OS (whatever) on the same machine will have much more flexibility than just having one standard OS.

  • One thing is for sure – We’ve got no excuse for not making Safari a priority. And, I agree that it might actually make Firefox a de-facto standard. In light of the way Microsoft and Apple are handling upgrades of their browsers (pay for OS, new browser bundled), open-source browsers (on older systems) could be the real winners.

  • I thought all designers (even web designers) used Mac! I at least always have even though the dark ages of the 90’s. I am very pleased with the direction Apple is going with Intel processors and the introduction of Windows on Mac hardware. I agree many people who have been hoping for a way to abandon the PC environment will jump ship.
    Regarding the browser support topic I have found developing on a Mac ideal for universal compatibility. By coding on a Mac and checking layout in Safari and Firefox on Mac first you are covering this base easily. Then I use a lowed PC to view and test layouts in IE and WinFirefox. A few tweaks are usually necessary for IE but Firefox is very compatible across the platforms.
    The idea of not needing a separate machine to do this cross platform testing is awesome! I can’t wait for Leopard (10.5) where Boot Camp is integrated. I am hoping the rumors hold true that it will even work without a reboot making both platforms testable simultaneously!
    Sorry this is so long. Cheers!

  • I could never switch over, mac’s are nice but I have used Dos/Windows based PC’s since I was in elementary school ;)

  • Why would you think all web designers use macs when 90% + of their audience use Windows. Its not just things like browser support. Macs also render colours differently from your average windows device. You are simply not having the same experience as your end user. I am not saying web designers should use a mac. I am just saying its a strange assumption to think they would.

  • Paul,
    Maybe not all web designers use Macs. The majority of professional media design (web, print, video, etc.) arists use Macs. Many Windows devices nowadays render colours the same if you use web-safe colours, which is what smart designs do.
    Boot Camp (and other virtualization methods) allow the professional designer who uses a Mac to test browser compatibility, colour compatibility, and more. Maybe not all designers use Mac, but for the professional designers, this is just a step in the right direction to get them to say “Voila, Windows!”.

  • I would say that lots of print designers use mac, but apple definitley hasn’t cornered the market for video/web.
    But with print design, how the screen renders the color compaired to other monitors doesn’t matter since the printer isn’t going to print the same anyways. (Thus the use of pantones and whatnot)

  • Aaron Blohowiak

    boot camp is not a virtualization product!! however, you can use parallels ( ) to run windows in a window on a mac at near full-speed. And yes, you can copy and paste between the guest PCs

  • Interesting topic, well handled Paul. Of course, the other OS for testing your website on is Linux. I’ve been veering in that direction for a couple of months now, and I’ve noticed that with many sites, the Linux font set is too small to be readable.
    As a designer, it raises similar questions around the Mac OS and I’d love to get my hands on one to see what it’s like.

  • I’m now dreaming of a mac mini to replace my current windows testing box. OR: playing some of those windows games on a nice apple machine.
    Many Windows devices nowadays render colours the same if you use web-safe colours, which is what smart designs do.
    Web safe colours are still pretty poor at appearing the same on different OSs, monitors etc. Smart designers test on major browsers and try to see a few different monitors, and realise this is the web and we don’t have 100% control.

  • I want an apple even if you cant run windows on it. I have used them in the apple store and the more I do the more i want one. But im still not sure whether it is worth the extra money over a pc running windows??

  • Web safe colours are still pretty poor at appearing the same on different OSs, monitors etc. Smart designers test on major browsers and try to see a few different monitors, and realise this is the web and we don’t have 100% control.
    Well, your design is going to look a bit different on every monitor regardless of whether you test it on Mac/Windows or not. I agree that you must test on different OSs, which is exactly why Boot Camp makes it easier for designers to switch to the Mac platform, if they aren’t there already.
    BTW – the Macs have a great color calibration tool (along with a third party tool which lays right over your monitor screen) which makes your monitor as close to universal as you can get. Google it :)

  • I had to work with a Mac when I worked for BT Broadband, and connecting it to the NT network was a pain! We used something called Dave (no I didnt just make that up) to share files!!
    Hopefully the connectivity between the two has improved since then, otherwise switching between OSs on a network could be fun!

  • Brian

    I am an Apple fanboy. I made the switch about 2 years ago and I really have never looked back. I do not turn a deaf ear to all of those that have valid reasons for using windows (because of work, etc.) but I can say from experience that I think Apple produces great products and I would recommend them.
    On the PC/Win side it always seemed like a hit and miss whether you were going to get a good system from the various companies. I remember when Gateway was the best around.. then Dell. I owned 3 Dells. But then the outsourced their support and got so big that it seems their quality sent downhill.
    I have owned 2 Macs now and I love them. I think Bootcamp is a great move. I plan on buying a MacBook Pro (even though I hate that name) in the fall and I will probably put windows on it for testing so I can finally get rid of my last Dell.
    For anyone on the fence, don’t hesitate to buy a Mac. They are a solid computer with good support.

  • Ruth

    All the designers at Warner Bros have Macs. The web designers have PCs too, for testing, but I know for a fact that they do all the work on their Macs.
    As for me, I don’t want to dirty my nice new Macbook Pro with Windows. I plan on getting a second hand PC and setting it up to dual boot Windows and Linux (if I’m going to care about non-Mac users why not do it properly?)

  • As OS X already runs on Intel processors, the next logical step would be for Apple to release a version of it that runs on an off-the-shelf PC.
    Now that would seriously threaten Microsoft. OS X is (to all intents and purposes) virus free and much more secure than Win XP. Plus, I’m sure enough people hate Microsoft to change operating systems just to piss them off.
    BTW Paul – I think you’re probably wrong about Firefox. Safari is too good to want to change.

  • Joe

    I agree with Richard.
    Safari is an almost the best browser out there in almost all aspects, the only other browser I use is Opera 9.0
    With regards to the whole apple vs Peecee debate I find almost no “edge” that one platform holds over the other.
    I think everyone should learn to code “right” so that the end user has a choice in which ever platform they use. The customer may not always be right, but they should be kept comfortable and sedated just long enough to buy something…