Intel-Based Macs Bring Best of Both Worlds

New offerings from Apple Computer allow Macintosh users to conveniently run Windows-based programs.

May 1, 2006

Apple Computer’s Macintosh computers always have been embraced by a small but enthusiastic group of users within the real estate industry and the public at large. Some of these fans have even taken me to task for not promoting the Macintosh enough and underplaying its innovative features when I write about computer hardware.

What they may not know is that I’m also a fan of Mac computers; I’ve used one since their earliest incarnation. But I’ve also recognized that the platform hasn’t been the most practical for real estate professionals. Why? There’s been scant support for the Mac operating system from publishers of specialized real estate software, Web sites, and MLS providers. Mac users could adapt the platform to their real estate career, but that's not always easy to do.

“Those of us who use Macs have been inconvenienced by the ‘Windows only’ attitude of many developers of real estate Web sites and applications,” says long-time Mac user Monica Foster, ABR®, a sales associate at RE/MAX Preferred Associates in Cedar Hill, Texas. “Even our MLS, which we pay for, was shutting Mac users out.”

New Macs Bring Big Changes

All this is about to change, though, with two recent announcements from Apple. In January, the company introduced the first desktop iMacs and portable MacBook Pro notebooks that will be based on Intel Core Duo processors.

The same processors empower many of the latest PCs and notebooks running Windows XP. Arrival of the new Macs carried speculation that they could be configured to run Windows XP — and the great many software applications compatible with it.

Apple then proved that speculation to be true with the release of the beta version of Boot Camp software for the latest version of Mac OS X. Boot Camp empowers Intel-based Macs to install and run Windows as a native operating system. The trial version is currently available for free download at Apple’s Web site, and a final version will be bundled with the next version of OS X later this year.

Once installed, Boot Camp lets Mac users choose whether they want to run in a Windows or Mac OS X environment. Another product now in beta testing, Parallels Workstation from Parallels Inc., will let Mac users toggle between Mac OS X, Windows, or Linux right on the desktop.

Viable Platform for Real Estate

Windows compatibility makes the Mac a more versatile machine, giving users access to the entire catalog of XP software. For real estate practitioners who are in the market for a new computer, these developments make the Mac a viable solution for their real estate needs.

Foster is an early adapter and advocate of Boot Camp. “With Boot Camp loaded on my MacBook Pro, I can boot Windows without the hassle and inconvenience of Virtual PC. It’s versatile for all my needs.”

Link believes Boot Camp will enhance the Mac’s appeal to those who wouldn’t consider it before because of incompatibility with specific Windows-based real estate software. “Both systems on one computer,” he marvels. “No one else will be able to do that besides Apple, so I am sure it will entice several real estate professionals to the Mac.”

Loyal Apple PowerBook user Michael Link, a sales associate with Windermere Bellevue Commons in Lake Bellevue, Wash., also is confident that many who approach the Mac through Windows will eventually join the ranks of Mac enthusiasts. “Once they start using [Mac] OS X, I just don’t know why they would reboot Windows,” he says.

Time to Give it a Try?

With Boot Camp and the new Intel-based Macs, all real estate practitioners will finally have the opportunity to see for themselves what Mac fans are raving about, without having to give up the specialized software tools so vital to their career.

“One of the nicest things about the Mac for me is that I can do my e-mail and surf the Web without worrying about the viruses and spyware Windows users have to deal with,” says Eliot Finkelstein, e-PRO, a sales associate with Prudential Mohave, REALTORS®, in Bullhead City, Ariz., who currently switches between a portable PowerBook and a desktop iMac.