As is usually the case, Gruber’s take on Boot Camp seems spot on.
The old equation — decades old — is that most computers ran Windows (or, if you go back far enough, DOS) and some other ones, the ones from Apple, ran Mac OS. As of today, the new equation is that all computers can run Windows, but some, the special ones from Apple, also run Mac OS X. (Including other PC operating systems like the various Linux distributions doesn’t really change the equation.)
But Boot Camp is inordinately appealing to the higher end of the market, the enthusiasts. Your typical civilian (i.e. non-enthusiast) has no need — or at least sees no need — for dual booting. They use email, they use a web browser, they want something useful to happen when they plug a digital camera into their USB port. Whichever OS comes on their computer is good enough for this… But there are all sorts of uses for Boot Camp for nerds. Any sort of Windows-only software, for example, is no longer an excuse not to buy a Mac. Like, say, games. And for many of these people (i.e. the enthusiast/nerd/”into computers” market) using Boot Camp is free because they already have Windows XP installation discs sitting around.
I love this part.
But from the other side, Apple is confident that most Windows users who give Mac OS X a shot are going to prefer it — again, much in the same way that most long-time Mac users preferred Mac OS X to the old Mac OS… In the same way that Mac users found themselves in a race to go Classic-free after switching to OS X, and that running apps through Classic was viewed from the get-go as something to be done while holding one’s nose, so too will Windows be viewed in the post-Boot Camp world.