Will New Intel Chips Enable Simultaneous Multiple OS Use on Macs?

Much has been made of the fact that Apple will not prevent users from installing Windows on its upcoming Intel-based Macs. But what about the new Intel processors that support virtualization, which enables multiple operating systems to run on the independent partitions on the same chip?

An article on the Architosh Web site speculates that Apple may have its eye on this technology, which been around for several years in the server space but is just now coming to desktops. The site wonders if Apple will add to its Fast User Switching feature and enable users to "cube the cube," or allow "each user account [to] have multiple instances of operating systems (perhaps OS X and Windows, or Linux and OS X) running simultaneously."

Thus, accounts and applications could remain running on the same computer, without the need to shut down and restart just to switch into another OS. Thus, "Mactels may offer us not just smooth multiple user environments, but multiple OS worlds as well," wrote Architosh.

But why is Intel adding virtualization to its processors? "For starters," explained Architosh, "critical applications can be partitioned into their own containers, protecting sensitive data or processor intensive applications from going down." In addition, the data in each partition can be erased after use, ensuring not only that sensitive personal information is kept safe but also possibly enabling Apple to attach special code to videos purchased on the iTunes Music Store. Those instructions could control the contentsi use and keep users from illegally distributing it to others.

Web site MacDailyNews originally reported on this article earlier on Thursday.