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.