Strong opinions, weakly held

Why Boot Camp may be good for OS X users

The other day someone was explaining to me that the reason Apple laptops don’t have particularly interesting form factors is that Apple’s volume is low enough that a broader spectrum of laptop models would mean that each individual model wouldn’t sell enough to cover the development costs. A small fraction of the PC laptop market is still a pretty big market. A small fraction of the OS X market isn’t so significant.

Perhaps Boot Camp gives Apple the opportunity to branch out into a wider variety of models. I was thinking this morning about Dynamism.com, a company that imports Japanese laptops in form factors that aren’t common in the US market. It’s basically a site for laptop enthusiasts. If people will pay a price premium to buy laptops from overseas that don’t even have US keyboards, surely they’d buy an Apple laptop just to run Windows if the form factor were interesting enough. The additional opportunity to sell to Windows users may create a large enough market for Apple to move into things like subnotebooks, where they wouldn’t have been able to move enough volume to justify developing those kinds of products for the OS X market.

Certainly interoperability with Windows was the main driver for the explosive growth of the iPod. Perhaps the ability to run Windows will do something similar for Apple’s other hardware.


  1. Great points, and I think you’re right. Daring Fireball had an interesting write-up on this whole thing — essentially saying that Apple computers have now become a superset of the entire PC industry:

    “The point is that it recasts Macs from being ‘different’ to being ‘special’. Instead of occupying a separate universe from that of PC hardware, it’s now a superset of PC hardware. Instead of choosing between a Windows PC or a Mac — which decision, as I wrote recently, for most people is more accurately stated as “choosing between a familiar Windows PC or an unfamiliar Mac” — you now get to choose between a computer that can only run Windows or a computer that can run both Windows and Mac OS X.”


  2. I wish I knew what a “form factor” was… 🙁

  3. A “form factor” is just a different model I guess. Like you’d say a 3.5 pound subnotebook is a different form factor than a desktop replacement notebook with a 17″ screen. Or the iMac is a different form factor than the Mac Mini. Apple right now has one “form factor” in their notebook line, a 15″ general purpose notebook.

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