April 10, 2007 11:29 AM PDT

Clock is ticking on Apple's Boot Camp beta

Those considering setting up a Windows partition on a Mac using the test version of Apple's Boot Camp might want to pay close attention to the licensing terms that accompany the beta software.

According to the terms, which are posted on Apple's Web site, the software is licensed only until Apple comes out with a commercial release of Boot Camp, or until September 30, whichever comes first.

Released as a public beta in April 2006, Boot Camp allows owners of Intel-based Macs to set up a separate Windows partition and boot into either Windows or the Mac OS. Apple updated the test software last month to add support for Windows Vista. The company has also said it will build a final version of the software into the next Mac OS release, dubbed Leopard and due out later this spring.

The rub is that Apple has not said whether it will issue a final version of Boot Camp for Tiger users, though there have been rumors that Apple will offer a paid Tiger version of Boot Camp.

"Apple is a company that listens to its customers. If they start getting negative publicity around this (and) if they have a sense that customers aren't ready to upgrade, I am confident they will do something to help support them."
--Samir Bhavnani, research director, Current Analysis

Either way, Apple is saying that those who have set up a Windows partition with the beta version won't just see their files magically disappear if they don't get the final version of the software. However, there may be some headaches and support options will be limited.

"The Windows installation on a user's Mac will continue to work after the Boot Camp license expires," said Apple spokeswoman Lynn Fox, in response to a query from CNET News.com. However, Fox said the Boot Camp Assistant software, which helps set up and manage Windows partitions, will not work after the beta period ends. Also, Fox said that Apple will not provide further driver updates for beta users.

The fact that the beta Boot Camp Assistant software will cease to work is noteworthy because that tool has a simple way for users to delete their Windows partition. There are ways to do it without Boot Camp, but it is a more difficult and potentially thorny process.

"The ability to create and manage partitions is important," said Current Analysis research director Samir Bhavnani. For example, Bhavnani said early users of the software might create a small Windows partition to try out the operating system, but after upgrading to Windows Vista or Office 2007, they might decide they need a larger Windows partition.

"That's probably the most common thing that someone would need to do, is change the size of their partition," he said.

Boot Camp is particularly important for Apple in its attempts to appeal to small businesses, a key target market. "Boot Camp for a small business is the difference between making that purchase and going over to a Mac, or not," Bhavnani said.

Bhavnani also said he expects Apple will not leave Tiger users in the lurch.

"Apple is a company that listens to its customers," Bhavnani said. "If they start getting negative publicity around this (and) if they have a sense that customers aren't ready to upgrade, I am confident they will do something to help support them."

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company's move to Intel-based chips has paved the way for running both Windows and the Mac OS on Apple's hardware. In addition to Boot Camp, which enables users to run either operating system, many people have opted for virtualization software from Parallels, which lets people run both operating systems simultaneously.

That software got an update in February that added Vista support as well as a new Coherence feature that lets Windows programs appear more like native Mac software rather than running in a distinct Windows screen. Virtualization specialist VMware is also working on a Mac version of its software.

See more CNET content tagged:
Apple Boot Camp, research director, Apple Computer, beta, small business

22 comments

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Apple does not listen.
I have no idea where Mr. Bhavnani got the idea Apple listens to customers. Apple does not listen, in fact Apple shuts down discussions etc when they point out a problem.
Posted by MacReseller (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Money talks, Apple listens
Of course Apple listens -- to anything that will give them a new revenue stream.
Posted by E B (267 comments )
Link Flag
More crap from CNET...
This is old news. If anyone had actually bothered to read the
license agreement, it clearly states that BootCamp is beta software
and only available for a limited time.

I fail to see where this matters, as I'm certain most Tiger users will
want to upgrade to Leopard fairly quickly, especially the users who
have Intel Macs. I think there's a lot more anticipation for Leopard
than there was for Vista.
Posted by mhersh (78 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Integrated into Leopard
It makes sense that Bootcamp Final would be integrated into
Leopard - if you're a beta user then there is your incentive to
upgrade.
Not only that, Apple probably dont want to be supporting/
developing a stand alone bootcamp & an integrated version.
Most likely there will be some nifty features in the Leopard
version that just wouldnt be possible with Tiger - such as
parallel booting on dual processors, user switching : Vista <->
OS X etc etc
I think most people who have been using bootcamp in the past
will be excited about the final integrated version & will be
itching to update to Leopard.
Posted by Riquez-001 (171 comments )
Reply Link Flag
*shrug* parallels, rEFIt...
The latter in the title even works the same way as Boot Camp does, which means that installing it would by a cinch.

Besides - who would be crazy enough to use beta software on a [i]boot loader[/i]? Don't get me wrong - on a spare box, sure, and for apps that aren't going to affect the OS, cool. But the MBR (okay, EFI)? nuh-uh.

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Makes me laugh
Boot camp makes me laugh. All these years mac users have touted that the mac OS is so much better than windows, yet Mac's are now nothing but higher priced pc's that can run multiple o/s's, something windows based pc's could do for a long time.

Yes, yes, I know... people LOVE the mac o/s, but still need windows for some aps. Now instead of two pc's they can load windows on to their fabulous mac and have it run both.

What would impress me the most is if Mac could somehow get the game publishers to port their games over to the mac o/s platform. Then I might be tempted (especially for my son, who's pc I have to clean about one a month hehe). Better yet, why doesn't apple just give up on the hardware side and produce the mac o/s to run on any pc. That would be something to talk about. Then I could build me a comparable pc to a mac for about 2 grand cheaper and put OS/X on it.
Posted by tanis143 (122 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They'll charge for it...
...and people will pay for it. Why? Because Jobs will tell them to.
Posted by close5828 (230 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Apple over charges for everything
Apple charges for downloads for wireless drivers. They will be jerks and charge for bootcamp.
Posted by ferretboy88 (676 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Then just buy a PC.
If your not willing to pay for services rendered while people put
in long hours creating the very software you deem valuable, then
buy a PC. It runs Windows exactly the same as any Intel Mac and
their dirt cheap. And your problem will be solved.

I for one, had no doubt Apple was going to charge for this useful
software that gives my Mac more functionality and will pay for it
(within reason of course). Personally, I believe the software is
worth more than Apple is said to be charging for it which is $50.
Posted by ServedUp (413 comments )
Link Flag
Actually that is a lie
They charged a nominal amount for the added value of a higher networking capability, not to download drivers.
Posted by CitizenX (522 comments )
Link Flag
It's a BETA Software
What a waste of time to read a no news article like this!

Obviously CNET reporter does not know what BETA software means.

Just like betas of all versions of Windows (and countless other software). They are not licensed or supported to operate forever. You have to upgrade from a development version to a full functional version at one point or another.

'enuff said!
Posted by SaeedZam (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I found the article a little useful
If you look at Apple's webpage for Boot Camp, it doesn't mention anything about support or, more importantly, any functionality being disabled after a given date. To find out that the software may be disabled or not supported at some point, you have to dig deeper. I just slipstreamed my original XP disc and SP2 with the intent of trying out Boot Camp soon, but I think I'll wait until Leopard now that I'm aware of this policy.
I think most reasonable people are okay without getting support on a beta product after the beta period is over; that makes sense. If its true that the Boot Camp Assistant won't work after a given date, then I think a reasonable person may have issues with the policy. Say if I install Boot Camp now but find that I'd like to uninstall XP after all. If Boot Camp Assistant isn't working when I decide to uninstall XP, then as a user I'd be frustrated with the policy. Sure, there are other ways to uninstall, but if those other ways are much more difficult or time consuming, then my frustration level would just increase knowing that the Boot Camp Assistant could do all of that for me.
Posted by jojo311 (23 comments )
Link Flag
Apple isn't Microsoft
In this article, it seems Apple is the "evil empire" who can lure customers with Boot Camp and then start charging for it. However, Apple has already confirmed (in this article) that the Boot Camp partition will continue to function after the Beta period, and I believe they will offer customers some options afterwards. I'm sure it will not cost even half as much as a Leopard upgrade.
Posted by MahRain (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"Apple Listens To Customers?" HA!
Apple is the most introverted, selfish, egotistical company in America (I never even thought I'd use those words on a Company, not a person). If they listened to Customers, they would have created Boot Camp YEARS ago, would have made prices CHEAPER, made the software EASIER to use, and I can go on and on with a whole litany of issues. Apple is a disgrace.
Posted by explorer5 (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
years ago?
They couldn't make it YEARS ago because macs used to run on
PPC Chips, which windows did not support. So making bootcamp
would have been a waste of time, if windows run on PPC i have
no doubt that Apple would have made the software all them
years ago.

Nearly all apple software is a simple drag and drop where you
want it app, how simple is that? And my Mac Pro is a higher spec
then my dads dell, and he paid £700 more for his then me.
Apples prices are now very competitive and everyone knows it.
Nearly every review around the web finds apple coming out
cheaper then most EXACTLY same spec'd machines, so pay less
and run more...
Posted by liam04uk (20 comments )
Link Flag
What?!?!
Explorer5, you just keep telling yourself that their prices should be
cheaper and their software should be easier to use. Then go buy a
Dell for the same price and find that a whole lot is missing. Or
build your own and find that it just isn't up to snuff. Oh and keep
using Windows for "ease of use". Yeah, that's the answer. Your
comment shows that you've not used a Mac recently, doesn't it?
Apple is a damn good company that puts out quality hardware and
software, and you'll get what you pay for if you buy their products.
Don't like it? Don't buy?
Posted by i,Jimbot (65 comments )
Link Flag
Amen.
Sums it all right there.

Steve Jobs is... ugh. People complain about Bill Gates, but at least everybody KNOWS what he's all about. Nobody seems to suspect Jobs of any 'business-like-conduct' (i.e. taking your money) but he does it just the same...
Posted by DraconumPB (229 comments )
Link Flag
 

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