New Apple Boot Camp punts Windows 7 for Microsoft

Apple looks to be helping Microsoft drive adoption of Windows 7, with the latest of Boot Camp - a utility for dual-booting Macs into Windows - rumoured to have dropped support for older Windows versions.

According to a tip-off received by Apple news site MacNN, the version of Boot Camp that ships with Mac OS X 10.6.6 has made a few changes to the wizard that guides users along the path of installing Windows as a secondary operating system.

The guide now asks the user to insert an: "authentic installation disc of Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate."

Previous versions of the utility had clearly referenced Windows XP and Vista as valid installation media - but now, it appears, it's Windows 7 or nothing.

What isn't yet clear is whether the move represents a complete removal of support for older Windows versions in Boot Camp, or whether it's a simplification to the wizard that in no way effects a user's ability to install the Windows version of their choice on a shiny new Mac.

Some users are claiming that those who have upgraded from an older version of Mac OS X, which included the Windows XP and Vista prompt in the Boot Camp wizard, still see the original text - but it looks like the days of Windows XP on a Mac could be numbered, in official terms at least.

The newly-updated wizard also prompts users to download Windows drivers for Mac components from Apple, specifically instructing users not to use those included on the Mac OS X installation disc for this purpose - presumably so as to include the very latest drivers and make the Mac-Windows experience as smooth as possible.