Apple on Thursday said Dec. 31 is the official last day of support for Boot Camp beta, the utility the computer maker offers to people who want to run Windows XP or Windows Vista on Tiger, the previous version of Mac OS X.
Starting Jan. 1, Apple will no longer offer updates to Boot Camp, which has been incorporated in Leopard, the latest upgrade to the Mac OS, a spokeswoman said. Leopard -- or Mac OS X 10.5 -- was released in October.
Apple also plans to suspend all driver updates for Boot Camp beta. At the same time, Assistant, which is used to create the partitions and manage Windows XP and Windows Vista on Tiger, will no longer work. However, Windows partitions currently running on Tiger will continue to operate as usual.
The disclosure is not new, in that Apple has said before that it didn't plan on supporting Boot Camp beta forever. The utility's end user license says Apple would only support it until Leopard was released or Dec. 31, whichever came first.
Boot Camp beta's end comes at a time when Tiger users have been complaining that it may be the culprit in problems they've been having with the latest version of Tiger, currently in version 10.4.11. According to posts appearing in the discussion forum on Apple's support Web site, upgraded Macs have been freezing up and failing to reboot without a clean installation. As a result, users have reported losing music and video files they paid for, as well as other important data.
Apple has warned users that upgrading to 10.4.11 may cause issues with "third party" software. The company, however, has not acknowledged any problems related to Boot Camp.
The utility represents a bold move by Apple to lure Windows users who may be ready to buy a new computer, but aren't prepared to toss their favorite applications just so they can own a Mac. At the same time, however, Apple has warned that enabling people to run Windows software on the Mac could lead to fewer Mac apps, since there's less incentive for developers to rewrite software for Apple computers.