A halo, a puzzle, and a Mac


Over at Apple Matters is a discussion of the Windows-on-a-Mac effect. The article confirms something I’ve said from the beginning. Potential Apple hardware customers were afraid of switching because of the comfort of knowing Windows.

The reality of the world is that a majority of people are familiar with Windows, and quite possibly are under the impression that Mac OS X is just as difficult to use as Windows. Consumers know that Apple puts much thought into thier products, and if Mac OS X isn’t working out for them installing Windows XP is a piece of cake. So if you’re still wondering why Boot Camp is important, it’s starting to become very clear that it is the corner piece in the puzzle known commonly as the iPod Halo.

But is the iPod Halo a valid moniker? It seems at this point that it is more of an Apple Halo (Not to be confused with the RDF emanating from Cupertino). Most associate the iPod with Apple (I say this only because I hear people say “I’m in the iPod store” and not “I’m in the Apple Store”), and then determine the same type of quality exists in Apple’s other products. The last statistic I remember from (2002) Microsoft marketing was roughly 40% of their customers were continuing to use Windows 98/ME despite the end-of-life status on it. That means this group will either upgrade to XP (either through a new machine or retail box of XP), wait for Vista compatible machines, or look to Apple. Assuming these computers shipped with Windows 98/ME, which sold until 2001, would mean these systems are well into retirement years. There is a small chance they will even install XP, and a fraction of that possibility is a chance for Vista. That leaves waiting nine or more months for Vista machines, or buying XP compatible system now. Since the Mac can do this NOW, and has the promise of running Vista, then it seems like the clear winner to most consumers.


Paul Sihvonen-Binder


If you already have a USB keyboard and mouse, you can buy a MacMini use them as well as your existing monitor. Or, you can buy an iMac which comes with a keyboard and mouse as well as a built in monitor. If your old Windows machine has a Firewire port (and you have a Firewire cable) you will be walked through transfering your data from the Windows machine to the Mac when you start it for the first time.

Apple has information on switching from Windows to OS X on the following page –


If you go to the links I posted above you will see most of the common problems Windows users encounter when the switch to OS X. Basically, you don’t need to be a genuis to switch, you will just need to re-learn a few basics.

If you want to run Windows on your Mac you can, the instructions are provided here –


If it turns out you don’t like OS X you can follow the instructions in the link above and use the new Mac soley as a Windows machine.


Ihave pretty much no idea what any of you are talking about, but I’m in the market for a new computer. I only really use my pc for IM, e-mail, music, downloads and the like, I’m no pro. I’m interested in the mac features like i-photo and movie, however I’m worried I wont understand the mac system and would prefer to just run windows XP on it, is this possible to do with out screwing up the whole thing? Will I be able to have all the mac features and still be in my comfort zone using XP?

Some one please give me a clue.


I agree with Paul here(by the way great links), osX is not windows.
That is also a reason why i think simple home users will not change just because of boot camp.Imagine a pc home user considering a mac as an upgrade:
-OsX does the same things and maybe runs a little faster?: well it does all the same things that a pc can do. But not really faster, it just runs a lot smoother, if it runs faster i’ve never noticed it and somebody listening to music while browsing definetly won’t.
-You don’t get viruses: I’ve used, and i mean almost abused my pc for 4years and in that time i’ve gotten 4 maybe 5 viruses, all of them blocked by my virus scanner.
-And it looks better: Yeah it does. I’ll have to give that to the mac, it just inspires me to go to work.
-Now i can have windows on it: what’s the point? it’s like buying an expensive good looking pc isn’t it? and you still get all the problems windows has.

Also they will first have to learn how to use it, and it costs about 20% more than a pc with the same hardware.
You see what i mean?

Todd Baur:
“I think Microsoft needs to scrap the Windows code base and rewrite something completely new.” -oh yes, definetly, it’s based on something from 15years ago.
But the specs i posted before are for the premium version of vista, the minimum are:
* A modern processor (at least 800MHz1).
* 512 MB of system memory.
* A graphics processor that is DirectX 9 capable.
And 1999 man, 7years is really a long time ago for computer standarts.

michelg, all those point’s you make are personal. it’s just what you are used to use.
Personaly i find exacly the same things you find handy, irritating. Except the dock.
As for linux, if i could use all of the same app’s i use now (or equivilant with the same ease of use) i would change in a split second. And believe me i’ve tried.

Paul Sihvonen-Binder

As a Mac support person I’ve talked to a number of people about this. What it comes down to is that OS X is not Windows and people will have to learn some new trick but the people I know who have switched have been happy for the most part once they have figured out how to do the things they were used to doing in Windows. To that end I tend to point people to the following articles –

Top 10 Things Switchers need to know –



Top 30 mistakes made by new Mac users –


For the regular user the new MacBooks and the Minis are at a really good price point and, if the people really don’t like OS X they can still have a great Windows machine by using BootCamp.


Todd Baur

Regarding hardware specifications:

Software requiring higher end specs falls into two catagories: very complex or very inefficient.

I’m not pointing fingers, because the reality is you could argue both regarding Windows. But I do think that we’re entering an era of development that is accepting programming simplicity over code efficiency. The world works in balance, and the zen of programming is simplicity at the cost of effiency.

Second to that, I think Microsoft needs to scrap the Windows code base and rewrite something completely new. If .Net is worth it’s weight, the Gates should give the directive to build Windows on it. But the requirements for running Vista (keep in mind this is an OS that has taken close to 10 years to develop) are a sign of inefficiency – probably due to Windows complexity.

This is, in many ways, what Apple did with Mac OS 9. While it was painful in the begining, we see how many people prefer X to 9 these days. Apple has gradually raised the requirements for each system, and I do believe incremental raises are acceptable.

Now to brass tacks…

The hardware specs for Vista are ridiculous. 1Ghz CPU’s debuted in 1999, and 128MB graphics cards didn’t exist. 64Mb cards were going for $400, and 40GB hard drives were creme de la creme. How many gamers are running their systems from 1999? Out of that group, how many gave their rigs to someone still running XP or Me? From experience, this screams to me that a loarge majority of consumers will feel like they have to buy a new computer to run Vista with any type of positive experience. I too have set up a machine on the minimum requirements for Vista, and frankly it was horrible. I’m really excited about Vista, and each time I install a new build I’m let down more and more. There is only so much I can take before giving up on it completely.


because I was before mac osX (never did love os9) a windows and linux user I should speak :)

os x was for me fast to learn and so lot of more joyful to use than windows.

software installation is so easier in mac os X than windows
Linux has _great_ management tools for software (go to ubuntu you damn sceptics !)
but os X has SIMPLE drag and drop of big icons

and no more confusing preferences dialog boxes (control panel and myriad of office and ie stuff) as in windows

of course there are the dock, and no the big start menu (sadly, linux in gnome/kde is recreating the same complicate startmenu thing. gnome is splitting the menu, it’s not perfect)

the main thing : apple is trying to _automate_ many things in os x and providing clean default state and no questions. you can change at your heart in preferences systems.
(a thing gnome/linux is trying to do )

microsoft is trying to give you tons of wizards asking questions and questions and questions again and I don’t care, I click yes!yes ! definitely YEES to all questions and it’s annoying.

and I could continue like that for hours on many details
yes I _know_ and I’m _working_ (to gain _big_ money) with windows (and also linux and mac, lucky me) and still I prefer for its simplicity and clean way of operating mac os X.

in second I will say “ubuntu linux”
in last windows xp and windows 2003. too much complicate. but windows has many professionnals applications. thanks happy times, now I have openoffice for linux or even microsoft office 2004 (and iwork) for os X. for my job (system network and some web developments) I have what I need on os x and linux.


I was also able to play with the beta 2 version of vista on a machine with an AMD athlon 2100 at 1733mhz 1024mB ram and a 9800pro
it run with all the “cool” effects and found all drivers and stuff.
These are the req. on the official site:

A Windows Vista Premium Ready PC includes at least:
* 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor1.
* 1 GB of system memory.
* A graphics processor that runs Windows Aero2.(this just means pixel shader 2.0 generation)
* 128 MB of graphics memory.
* 40 GB of hard drive capacity with 15 GB free space.
* DVD-ROM Drive3.
* Audio output capability.
* Internet access capability.

so yeah quite high compared to macosx but yeah how else will they get the great deals with hardware makers? hehe
It would be VERY strange if they would change the requirements now.

But if they do change them, then a mac mini wont be capable to run vista very well either, will it? whahahaha
As for being disapointed i wasn’t that eager to use it after testing the beta anyway. I was just trying to prove my point about pc users from 2001-2002.


about the learning curve…

I switched in August 2005 (last summer) and I was up to speed by the time school started a few weeks later. I’ve never looked back. I didn’t have the option to install xp on my powerbook but I did have a rather expensive desktop machine at the time that had xp on it which I kept around for a while. Within a month the thing had gathered so much dust and I had stolen the mouse and external monitor / keyboard to use with my pb so I just never looked back. My fiance just bought herself a new macbook and with me helping her out she was totally up to speed within about 5 hours and she’s never even used a mac before! It’s not a ‘learning curve’ its just different so you have to read the little getting started manual / have someone show you the differences and you’re pretty much set, imho. I don’t think that just because something is ‘different’ that it immediately has a ‘learning curve’ (ok maybe a tiny one), saying that makes it seem like you have to ‘relearn’ how to use a computer, NO! It’s just slightly different mechanics, the apps look slightly different, oh and it doesn’t crash and screw things up left right and center :p

“my pc system is from feb2002 with an upgrade of the graphics card in 2004, acording to m$ it would be able to run vista”

Just a heads up, I was at AMD/Microsofts ‘tech tour’ on the 19th and they were saying that the original reqs for vista were WAY below what they are pushing now. That other system I was talking about above was the following: Athlon64 3200 , 1024MB DDR400, nForce4 Ultra, about 800gb of storage, dvd burner, etc and a 9600XT 128MB. The guys are the microsoft booth said that I would be lucky since I had 1024mb but the rest of the specs are basically bare minimum. They were implying that 1024mb was their rock bottom ‘recommended’ amount of system memory and that 512mb would be the lowest they’d allow you to use. Not only that, but my 9600xt, even being dx9 compatible, was at the bottom of their list! I’d just double check what you’ve got against their NEW reqs or you might end up being dissapointed :, well, you’ll probably be dissapointed anyways, it looks pretty weak and half-hearted. Infact, I managed to get the device manager to hang while I was playing with their beta :p


“I am software developer and experienced Windows and Linux/Unix user. It took me close to 6 months before I was truly comfortable on the Mac environment.”

I rashly assume that you have a PowerPC-based Mac and, therefore, made the “big jump.” But here’s a question:

If you’d had the ability to switch back to Windows, would you have?

After all, for a Windows user, Mac OS X is “uncomfortable.” About the third time you said to yourself, “How do I do this simple thing?”, would you have just said, “Screw it. This sucks. I’m going back to Windows.”

So, yes, Apple has sold another machine. But if that user isn’t using Mac OS X, what good are they to the whole “Mac ecosystem”?


I used windows for several years, I still use it on a daily basis [right now, actually, b/c i hate bringing my iBook downstairs to go online], I switched [sorta] in January, and there is a learning curve. But that is just a fact of switching; there will always be a learning curve. To be fair, however, I am still unsure how to use a windows machine well after many years, and I was comfortable on my mac in less than two weeks. Honestly, people will always fear change; change is hard, stasis is easiy.
But I am very interested in what Leopard will offer; possibly an even easier to learn OS and iLife package [if that is possible]. But Apple should really push how easy the switch to mac OSX is, as opposed to their current stand point of “look what you have to gain…” it should be “look what you have to gain, and how simply, at that…”


I’m still running Windows 98, am defintely not a power user but am interested in upgrading to a Mac. While all I do now is use my computer as a typewriter, to surf the web and for email, I would like to expand my horizons a bit–photos, music etc. The way I look at it, I’ll have a learning curve to deal with whether I buy another PC with XP or buy a Mac. So I figure I’ll give the Mac a try since now I can always punt and just use XP with it thanks to Boot Camp. If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t be considering a Mac because I wouldn’t have wanted to sink $1500 to $2000 into a Mac only to find that I didn’t like OSX.


Well i don’t know if i understood you corectly, but i think you are saying that people who bought a pc back in 2001 are going to upgrade to a mac now, that has the capability of running xp and vista through Boot Camp , instead of buying a pc that will run xp and might run vista am i right?

Well i do a lot of computer support work for pc and mac, i must say i have only seen 3 or 4 people in the last 2 years who are still running windows 98.
The statistic is quite old “2002” and i think that people who haven’t upgraded since 2001 are not going to.
These people usualy use their pc’s as typewrighters so there is no need to upgrade.
The usual reply i get when i suggest an upgrade is: “ah it works and i can use the internet and m$ word just fine”.
I think apple has a bigger chance with the “power” users who have always had problems with windows and want to switch but would like to still have the alternative of windows.

And by the way, my pc system is from feb2002 with an upgrade of the graphics card in 2004, acording to m$ it would be able to run vista with all the “nice” hm…. effects.
So yes it will have a big effect, but my bet is it will attract users fed up with m$ and not slow upgraders.


Yes, I agree aswell. Mac’s are daunting and it feels like your making a huge leap, but once you’re there is it amazing. If BootCamp, can harness more than one OS, one that Windows users know and Mac users know, we could see some very awesome programs and apps coming.

WE ALSO could see some dangerous bugs, that use the insecurity or flaws of older XP to access the codes of Mac.


I agree with you. The move to apple and OS X is daunting, even for experienced computer users.

I am software developer and experienced Windows and Linux/Unix user. It took me close to 6 months before I was truly comfortable on the Mac environment. It’s not that OS X is hard to use, it’s just different. Some of the little things that are very simple and obvious (and great), such as mounting disk images and the simplicity of installing applications actually confused me at first.

Then there is a whole new suite of applications that you need to find out about to get things done and set up your environment just how you like it. It takes a little time and effort to sort all this stuff out.

Definately worth it though!!

If Apple can harness the upcoming hardware virtualisation technology from Intel to run XP and OS X at the same time… we could see some intersting times ahead.

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