While various hackers have been working furiously on how to install Windows XP on the new Intel-based Macs (and vice-versa...installing OS X on non-Apple PCs), Apple's official stance since the Intel announcement has been that they would neither help nor hinder the process.
Apple Introduces Boot Camp
Public Beta Software Enables Intel-based Macs to Run Windows XP
CUPERTINO, California--April 5, 2006--Apple® today introduced Boot Camp, public beta software that enables Intel-based Macs to run Windows XP. Available as a download beginning today, Boot Camp allows users with a Microsoft Windows XP installation disc to install Windows XP on an Intel-based Mac®, and once installation is complete, users can restart their computer to run either Mac OS® X or Windows XP. Boot Camp will be a feature in "Leopard," Apple's next major release of Mac OS X, that will be previewed at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in August.
"Apple has no desire or plan to sell or support Windows, but many customers have expressed their interest to run Windows on Apple's superior hardware now that we use Intel processors," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "We think Boot Camp makes the Mac even more appealing to Windows users considering making the switch."
Again, this isn't completely shocking, but I figured it'd be at least a year or so before they made this move--which I guess is still valid, since Boot Camp isn't being officially released until the release of OS X Leopard.
Of course, the ultimate goal is still to be able to run Windows apps--at full speed, unlike Virtual PC--while booted into OS X...but it's still a huge step.
Gotta love the snarky comments on the official Boot Camp page as well:
"Macs use an ultra-modern industry standard technology called EFI to handle booting. Sadly, Windows XP, and even the upcoming Vista, are stuck in the 1980s with old-fashioned BIOS. But with Boot Camp, the Mac can operate smoothly in both centuries.
Windows running on a Mac is like Windows running on a PC. That means it'll be subject to the same attacks that plague the Windows world. So be sure to keep it updated with the latest Microsoft Windows security fixes."