updated 12:15 pm EDT, Wed April 11, 2007
Boot Camp beta to expire
Users of Apple's Boot Camp beta software could find themselves lacking support and driver updates, once the product ships with the forthcoming Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard this spring. Boot Camp is special software developed by Apple that allows Intel-based Mac owners to create separate partitions on one or more hard drives to support Microsoft's Windows XP and Vista operating systems. The Boot Camp licensing terms however state that the software is only usable until the company releases a commercial version or until the September 30th deadline, whichever comes first. Apple has not revealed whether it will issue a final version of Boot Camp for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger users, according to News.com, but rumors abound that the company will provide standalone copies of Boot Camp for Tiger users when the final product ships.
Apple has also reassured Boot Camp users who have set up Windows partitions that their files will not instantly disappear should they choose not to purchase the final version, but admitted that support will be limited for those users who continue to use the beta.
"The Windows installation on a user's Mac will continue to work after the Boot Camp license expires," said Lynn Fox, a spokeswoman for Apple. Fox warned that the Boot Camp Assistant software -- which is designed to help set up and manage Windows partitions -- will no longer work when the test period expires. Fox also noted that Apple will no longer provide driver updates to beta users following the expiration.
The Boot Camp Assistant software provides an easy-to-use interface that allows users to delete Windows partitions, and although third-party utilities exist that can achieve the same result, these programs require their own specific instructions and could prove troublesome for many users.
"Apple is a company that listens to its customers," said Samir Bhavnani of Current Analysis. "If they start getting negative publicity around this [and] if they have a sense that customers aren't ready to upgrade, I am confident [Apple] will do something to help support them."