Apple Misses Windows 7 Bootcamp Deadline, Apparently Everyone Except Me Really Cares

107 Comments

I have a confession to make. I don’t dual boot. I don’t use Windows on my Mac. I don’t need to. There’s not a single bit of software I need that is Windows-only. And even though I have Office:Mac 2008, I open Word and Excel documents in Pages and Numbers. (I don’t hate Office, I just find iWork to be a more rewarding experience!)

But, apparently, I’m in a minority, and every other Mac owner on Earth is simply aching to run Windows 7 on their Apple hardware. Well, you’d be forgiven for thinking as much, given the articles doing the rounds on tech sites this past weekend, most of them tersely reporting how Apple has missed its own deadline for providing official Boot Camp driver support for Microsoft’s latest version of Windows.

Here’s what Apple had to say in a (very short) support note published in October last year:

Apple will support Microsoft Windows 7 (Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate) with Boot Camp in Mac OS X Snow Leopard before the end of the year. This support will require a software update to Boot Camp.

The rest of the note was just a list of the nine older models of iMac and MacBook that wouldn’t support the Boot Camp update.

AppleInsider reached out to Apple for comment last week, as 2009 drew to a close. An Apple employee responsible for dealing with Bootcamp enquiries told them:

…it was very unlikely that the update would surface in the next 24 hours, adding that a release sometime early next year would be a safer bet.

MacWorld UK writes a little more dramatically about the missed deadline:

On the same day in October that rival Microsoft launched Windows 7 , Apple promised that it would revise Boot Camp… Apple has still not released a Boot Camp revision to its Software Update service.

Although Microsoft officially unveiled Windows 7 in late October, the company first provided developers with early builds a year before that, and began offering previews to the general public in February 2009.

Apple did not elaborate on why they would not support Microsoft’s newest operating system.

I’m not sure a missed deadline is the same as Apple demonstrating they unequivocally ‘would not’ support Windows 7, but the drama doesn’t end there. Here’s Paul Thurrott’s take, from a blog post entitled “Shame on Apple for not Providing Windows 7 Drivers by Now”:

Previously, Apple promised to provide Windows 7 drivers through its Boot Camp utility […] by the end of 2009. So they’re late. But these drivers can and should have been delivered to customers when Windows 7 shipped, in October. I guess the company was too busy fixing a widely-reported user data deletion issue in Snow Leopard to bother supporting a competing system that just works.

So thanks for nothing Apple. We know you’re scared of Windows 7, but come on.

I might offer a less florid possibility; could it possibly be just a delay? Y’know, like Microsoft experienced when it delayed the release of Windows 95. And Windows 98. And Windows… oh, you get the point. Look, software delays happen and they don’t have to mean anything!

Thurrott’s Apple-fan-baiting aside, I have a serious question; am I so completely out of touch that I’m the only Mac user in the world who doesn’t dual boot? OK, I played with some virtualization tools a while back out of sheer curiosity, and the half-hearted belief that I really might need Microsoft Office (note: I didn’t) but it wasn’t long before they were removed.

A Tad Silly

Mac OS X, iLife and iWork have most my bases covered for personal creativity and productivity. And while I do a lot of online collaboration with a wide circle of colleagues and friends, most of whom are on Windows machines, I’m not exaggerating when I say — it’s simply not an issue. Honestly, there isn’t a single thing I’ve come across in 18 months that absolutely demanded I use Windows.

But apparently, that’s unusual, and most Mac owners in the world not only use Windows, they need Windows and, more than any other version, they absolutely must have Windows 7, so Apple’s missed deadline is nothing short of scandalous.

True? Because if that’s not true, all of that breathless reporting over the weekend about missed deadlines and Apple’s ‘fears’ would prove a tad silly, wouldn’t it?

Actually, I have had one issue since switching to the Mac; my friends don’t use iChat. They’re stuck with Skype or — horror of horrors –Windows Live Messenger for video conferencing and collaboration. I pity them. It’s the one thing I wish Apple would release for Windows. The world would be a better place then, I’m sure.

So, tell me, Mac Majority, is Boot Camp’s (temporarily) absent Windows 7 support really the Big Deal the tech press have made it out to be? Am I truly in some peculiar Mac Minority who don’t install Windows on their Apple hardware? Am I, in fact, missing a far bigger point? Please enlighten me.

107 Comments

Patrick

OK, I spend a lot of time in W7-64 bit in order to run SolidWorks 2010. I indeed have Parallels loaded, but it is just too slow to run SW. I am running a 2008 Mac Pro with plenty of RAM and eight cores, if that matters. If I could run in OS-X all the time I would, but that said, I have spent a *lot* of quality time with Apple support folks since the release of Snow Leopard. Snow Leopard has made my system more unstable. Really. On the flip side, yes I used Vista too, and hated it. I find W7 … uh, really good. The task switching is smoother and faster than OS-X and it is much, much more stable than Vista. Oh, and did I mention that the rendering program I use, Modo, only runs in 32-bit in OS-X, but runs in 64-bit in W7?
Soooo…hey, I love Apple products, but I’m trying to be objective here. I looooove my new multi-touch magic mouse, but it would be *nice* if it would work in W-7 (full scrolling) without a hack.

So, yes, I want the updated Bootcamp drivers asap. I’m sure they’re just delayed a bit, as you suggest.

Tsubame

The only thing I ever use Windows for is games, and Windows 7 under Boot Camp works just fine for that.

That said, I almost never want to reboot from ‘productive mode’ (OSX) to ‘gaming mode’ (Windows). It’s just not worth it. It’s nice to have the option, but it’s not something I utilize very often.

I can’t get Windows to recognize any bluetooth devices though, so I have to switch keyboard and mouse before the restart.

LRM

Anyone have input on VM Ware 3 vs. Parallels 5 for running Windows 7? Which is better? Can’t find much in way of comparison reviews on web.

Brock

Ok so here is why I NEED this. I am a developer and I want to start fooling around with .NET 4.0 and some of the multi-touch WPF stuff new to Windows 7. I bought a touch screen monitor for this purpose.

I need to boot natively into Windows, since running Windows 7 in a VM won’t send Multi-touch input since Mac OS X doesn’t recognize it nor are there drivers for it.

Clearly, this a very common use case. DOESN’T EVERYONE HAVE THIS PROBLEM? How is my Mom supposed to develop Multi-touch RTS games? Whatever will she and I do?

Nik

Hahahahahaha fantastic =]: I hope Apple release this soon, so you and your Mom can continue developing…

Brian

You jest, but I also have that same issue. I REALLY want to make some multi-touch apps, but Apple only really has support for it in their iPhone. They also don’t have as good a story for supporting it in web apps like you can with Silverlight. It’s killing me to have to make apps on Windows, but I’ve been craving this technology ever since I visited Perceptive Pixel and used one of Jeff Han’s wall sized screens that he made for CNN.

My first thought was that I wanted to use VMWare fusion to run Windows 7 to develop multi-touch apps, but my guess is that you’re right that the Mac won’t send the multi-touch info into the VM.

Did you ever get Windows 7 multi-touch apps working on your mac with Bootcamp?

lh99

Windows 7 doesn’t work in Boot Camp? I haven’t had any issues yet. Besides, who actually *needs* W7? Sure, it’s nice, but couldn’t you just stick with Vista or XP for another few weeks?

Chris

Yeah I could care less about windows on my mac. I also do not use MS Office. I find that going from iWork to Office is like downgrading. I simply have zero use for it. Same with Windows. Absolutely zero use for it.

TimStalin

As I see it Apple is simply being unprofessional. They originally released a statement giving a deadline for the release of Boot Camp. If they were not going to meet that deadline they should inform the public about it. Simple as that.

JohnnyC

Simple, to the point, and true. Not that I am interested in the slightest by Bootcamp OR Win7, but for those that do, Apple should be managing those expectations.

Liam Cassidy

TimStalin,

I agree completely. IMO Apple demonstrates an appalling lack of perspective when it comes to customer relations and keeping people adequately updated on software/hardware issues.

Judging by some of the comments here, it seems that official support matters mostly to people who have extraordinarily specific needs from their software, and for whatever reason must run Windows on their Macs. I can’t help but think they’re in a minority, but that doesn’t make their frustrations any less real.

Still, the update is only technically five days late. All of this will be swiftly forgotten if Apple pushes a software update before the end of the week!

:-)

TimeLordBob

As a software developer who straddles both universes sometimes I need to run code natively in Windows 7 for performance reasons. (I’ve been a Mac/Apple user since the Apple II so believe me that I like both the company and product line). My issue is that Apple Support will not address any mac related issues if you have Windows 7 installed via Bootcamp. I have a brand new 27″ iMAC which refuses to a) see the Bootcamp partition on Preference/startup and b) listen for the Option key pressed on the wireless keyboard during boot-up to allow me to select which disk I want to boot from (I can do it via a wired keyboard though). When I called support I was told the machine was in a non-supported state and that they would not aid in anyway unless I removed the bootcamp partition – even though I had explained to them that the option key issue should have nothing to do with it. In the end the guy said I had to wait for the Bootcamp update that was coming out prior to Jan 1 2010 – which is now late….

Will

I have the same problem. You just HAVE to boot with a wired keyboard. I think it is because the system isnt looking for wireless hardware at this point in startup.Its annoying but you just have to pot up with it :(

Zoran

Don’t care. Windows 7 works in boot camp, and in months I haven’t had to switch to Windows either (the kid’s Mac mini dual boots to Win7 for games only).

Howie Isaacks

I really don’t care either. I’ve seen Windows 7 running quite well on a Mac using the current version of Boot Camp. I don’t understand what all of the complaining is about. The Mac is meant for Mac OS X, NOT Windows 7! Apple should be able to take their sweet time, and release the new version of Boot Camp when they’re ready. Imagine all of the bitching and whining that would happen if they got the product out with a lot of bugs. Maybe they discovered one, and they’re just trying to get it fixed. Geez!

Glark

I have Windows 7 on my new 27″ iMac for gaming and I’d like to see it officially supported in hopes it will solve on and off again issues with the video and audio driver support. Sometimes audio works, sometimes it doesn’t, it is pretty random and annoying. Once in a while the display shifts horizontally putting the “top” of the screen halfway down the monitor.

John

I DO dual boot, but to Linux. And I don’t need Boot Camp for that: I use ReFit. I teach Linux courses, so it’s nice to have a copy installed.

Pete

Many professional applications are windows only. it’s not that i want to use windows – believe me everytime i boot it up on my macbook pro it’s a dreadful experience. i am, however forced to use applications like ArcGIS and 3ds Max on windows. many graphical applications such as sketchup and vue work better on windows (i hate to say). I don’t want to be stuck in 1995 with XP, so I use Vista – but as everyone knows, Vista sucks. I’d much rather use windows 7 if it is indeed faster and less prone to crash and freeze and warn me of some action that i am taking against myself every two minutes.

so, yeah, i’m a little irked that mac hasn’t released windows 7 drivers yet. it’s not the end of the world, but i’m hoping that a more streamlined MS operating system would make my professional life a little smoother.

this competitive comparison between mac and ms is getting really tiresome and old. each operating system has it’s benefits and drawbacks. why don’t you make a new year’s resolution to stop being a child and give up your sniping for the next decade or so?

Liam Cassidy

Pete, it sounds to me like your software needs are pretty *specific*. And while that doesn’t invalidate your personal need for Windows 7 support in Boot Camp, I suspect it doesn’t speak to the vast majority of Mac users.

As for “competitive comparisons” between Mac and Microsoft… that’s not what the article was about, not sure why you think it was?

goestoeleven

I’ve been using Windows 7 on my MBPro for months. It works great. It also works beautifully via VMware Fusion 3.0.x

I never bother with BootCamp, although I’m constantly in the BootCamp partition thru Fusion.

Don’t think the delay is a big deal at all, but I will say, I would NEVER have moved to the Mac if I couldn’t run my Windows apps — and there are a ton of ’em that still either aren’t available or stink as Mac apps…

Matches Malone

The thirteenth comment. Cool!!!

Ok, you are not alone. I’ve never had the need to dual boot, and don’t expect to in the future, however, this may change, as my Mac is shared, AND there are games that others in the house wish to play….

Does Parallels still work? I guess I”m not caught up….

Brian Smith

Don’t forget, iChat can also do AIM and Google Talk, both of which are accessible to your OS-challenged friends. Skype and Windows Live both have Mac clients.

Cindy

Use windows for gaming. Most games are windows only and VM doesn’t cut it for that. That being said, I installed Windows7 with bootcamp anyway and the only thing I couldn’t get to work was the bootcamp control panel plugin for windows (I didn’t try that hard either) so I do dual boot and still don’t care about the missed deadline.

Divigation

Win7 has run flawlessly in boot camp for me since release. I use windows for Steam and Steam alone. If I could kill zombies in os x I wouldn’t care about windows, but 7 is perfect. The tech presses are dead wrong as usual, it is unfortunate they read press releases and don’t actually try using what they write about.

Scott

Same here. I’ve been running Win7 in Boot Camp on both a Mac Pro and MacBook Pro for months to play COD: MW2. No issues whatsoever.

Brian

The one and only reason I run Windows is to run the geographic information system (GIS) software I need for school, as ArcGIS is Windows only. I tried using Boot Camp for a while (with Windows 7 RC, interestingly) and had no issues, but got tired of rebooting. Recently installed Win7 & ArcGIS in VMWare Fusion, and it seems to be working fine.

andrez

first of all I am running win7 right now, even though its “not supported” and I have no problem waiting for official drivers because the only thing i do in win7 is run games, and hardly ever play comp games anymore. But i do run across a bit of software that just needs windows for some reason, but i have a feeling that will change one day…

My take on windows 7 is this btw, although their improvements have made the OS as easy to use as say tiger, they still have a long way to go if they want to be where mac OS X is. for example try changing your dn. settings in win7.. WTF

Mark Crump

The biggest problem I have with it is Parallels will not build a VM based off a Boot Camp partition that Apple does not officially support.

Windows 7 works fine in BC. It works fine in a self-contained Parallels VM. However, I can’t have a VM based on the Win 7 BC.

Ralph Mercer

I moved from Windows to Ubuntu to Mac in the search of an OS and software that performed right out of the box and allowed me to work the way I wanted to work. I found it with Apple and my Macbook, why would I regress?

Timo

I don’t understand users who have the time to reboot it just to switch to the other world. I use Windows 7 occasionally because need to use MS Project and I’m very happy with the way how VMWare Fusion does it. Why on earth would I reboot just to check where certain milestone was?

AT.T

I agree with the author completely. Mac users need to stop complaining that W7 isn’t available yet. You bought an Apple computer so use the Apple software. If you want it so bad go buy a PC. I used W7 for about a month before switching back to Vista because it crashed most of the time. So be grateful and quit whining.

Link

I’ve been running Windows 7 in Boot Camp for months. Whether it’s supported or not, it sure as hell works. *shrug*

Luca Candela

It “almost” works. The biggest issue is the botched audio driver for the new MacBooks (trust me, there’s hacks out there, but none of them restores 100% functionality on ANY version of Windows, not just 7) that has been plaguing macbooks pro since June (only the ones with the Cirrus Logic chip, Realtek chips are unaffected).

So yeah, for me it’s a big deal because it’s a giant pain in the ass for me not being able to use Skype under windows.

And guys, the windows world isn’t just Office, there’s a TON of stuff that isn’t available for OSX, or is available but just in a half-assed sort of way (show me a screencapture tool that works just as fine as SnagIt, Axure or MindJet Mindmapper…)

JohnnyC

Luca,

Are there benefits, or compatibility issues with Skype that are addressed with the Windows7 version? I have been using Skype on Mac for ages without any issues. Please share though, I’m curious.

Also, regarding screen caps: Snapz Pro X is not only a fine screen-capture tool, but in many ways, I find it to be far superior than SnagIt on Windows. I don’t have experience with your other examples, but the fact that Snapz Pro X is built around Quicktime makes a far better professional tool IMHO, and I’m a video professional.

Liam Cassidy

Hi Luca,

I use LittleSnapper to take screen shots, and it’s a hugely powerful (and essential) addition to my workflow. Couldn’t live without it. (OK, I *could*, but life would be pretty grim!)

Alex

Hey Liam,

Little Snapper is lacking in features and a pain in the butt to use.

Do yourself a favor and get Skitch.

You won’t look back…

Liam Cassidy

Never could get a good feel for Skitch… *that* seemed a pain in the butt to me! But I might give it another try.

What I’d really like is for my screen capture software to maintain a library in sync across my Macs… that would be awesome!

And the fact I’m so easily excited by that singular prospect tells you the true depths of sadness to which my life plummets! ;-)

Liam Cassidy

Self-correction: LittleSnapper does allow me to sync my library across my Macs. It’s a bit of a “hack”, in the sense that I have to put the library file into my Dropbox folder, but it works. And it works very well!

In fact, this is the first time in many updates to the software that I’ve gone into the preferences to have a snoop about and a LOT has been added.

I just love this app more and more every day…

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