(james benedict brown) on the road

I don’t want to, but now I can…

Posted in Posts by James Benedict Brown on 5 April, 2006

My laptop ownership cycle generally lasts about years. It’s not down to poor build quality or a propensity to drop them on concrete surfaces after twenty-four months of ownership, but a conscious decision. It seems to me that two years is a reasonable period of time in which to buy an Apple laptop new, use it and sell it on for about 60% or more of it’s original value. And each time I use the proceeds from the sale of the last one, and top it up with more recent savings to get a slightly better model. Maybe not financially sensible, but it allows me to progress up the Apple line of computers at a steady pace.

And there’s big news released today from Apple Computer about Boot Camp, a small piece of software that will be integrated into the next version of the Apple system (codenamed ‘Leopard’, previewing this August). And what it does is remarkably simple but earth shakingly important: new Intel-based Macs can be smoothly and effeciently partitioned to run both Macintosh and Microsoft Windows (yep, including Vista, whenever they iron out the bugs and release the damn thing) on the same hard drive. Now when you press the sexy silky smooth power button on your new Mac, you get a typically-crystal clear Mac start up screen, offering you two buttons to click on: Windows or Mac.

There have been Windows emulators for the Mac before, but they’ve been slow, unreliable and very inefficient. This is ground-up support for Windows on the Mac. In fact, it’s not even Windows ‘on’ the Mac, it’s Windows alongside the Mac, but on just one machine.

This changes everything, especially for architects… as I commented on TUAW’s blog today:

Architects generally start business with one or two Macs (they just do… it seems to be a cultural thing!) and as their business grows, so does the number of Macs. But as design projects get bigger and more complex, and the input of engineering based consultants gets more important, compatibility of design files with more folk from a more technical background is increasingly important.

No matter how much better the Mac environment and system is, many business users are forced to switch to PCs to be able to be 100% compatible with the specialist software used by other team members or consultants. In architecture, the line has always been drawn with AutoCAD, a hideously outmoded but popular drafting program that has morphed from an piece of engineering software to a piece of architectural design software. It’s the preferred weapon of choice for most engineers and architectural consultants. But trendy ol’ chunky-spectacle-and-black-roll-neck-sweater-wearing architects have always been left out in the cold. No Mac version means us Saab drivers have to box up the iMac and get a grey Windoze box under the desk.

Not any more. I am already perusing the Apple online store, and thinking about what I’ll spend my money on next, when my current Powerbook will be due to move on. By then, the launch bugs of Boot Camp, Mac OS Leopard and the MacBookPro line will be just distant memories, and I won’t have to switch machines to crunch those drawings.

*j*

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