Apple kicked off the month in which it plans to launch its new Mac OS X 10.5, "Leopard," OS by reminding users that the beta licence for Boot Camp -- the utility that runs Windows XP or Vista on an Intel Mac -- will expire as soon as the new operating system ships.
The news was no secret: Apple had spelled it out on the Boot Camp download page and in the EULA (end user licence agreement) included with the beta and posted on the Apple site. "The term of this License...will terminate automatically without notice from Apple upon the next commercial release of the Apple Software, or December 31, 2007, whichever occurs first," the EULA states.
According to Apple, Windows partitions already installed on Macs using Boot Camp will continue to work, but the Assistant software, which sets up and manages those partitions, will not once the licence expires. "And Apple will not offer driver updates to beta users," said company spokesman Anuj Nayar in an email. However, Nayar did not respond to questions about whether Apple will make a final version available to Mac OS 10.4 users, and if so, at what price.
A support document posted last week only said: "The licence to use Boot Camp Beta expires when Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard is available to the public. To continue using Boot Camp at that time, upgrade to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard."
If Apple repeats past performances, the Boot Camp reminder will be only the first of many small announcements that lead up to Leopard's debut. The company has made a habit of gradually releasing news, often only tidbits, prior to the launch of a major product, such as it did to great effect in June before the iPhone went on sale.
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