Apple yesterday updated Boot Camp, the still-in-beta application that lets Mac users run Windows on Intel-powered machines, to support Vista, Microsoft's newest operating system.

Boot Camp 1.2 is now compatible with the 32-bit version of Vista, said Apple. Other improvements to the dual-boot utility include updated drivers for the Mac's audio, graphics, iSight camera and other features designed to improve Windows' operation when it's run on Apple systems.

The update also adds a system tray icon to the Windows taskbar for easier access to Boot Camp information and commands, and adds support for Apple's remote within Windows.

Boot Camp, which was introduced nearly a year ago, lets owners of Intel-based Macs run both Mac OS X and Windows XP or Vista on the same machine, if not simultaneously. Users must shut down one operating system and reboot the computer to start up another.

The program will go final when Apple ships its spring 2007 OS update, mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard," the company has promised. However, Apple hasn't yet said whether it will charge a fee for the software for those running now Mac OS 10.4, dubbed Tiger.

Ironically, Boot Camp 1.2's release puts to rest rumors from last week that Leopard would be delayed because Apple was struggling to make the application Vista-compatible.

Boot Camp 1.2 can be downloaded for free from the Apple site, where Apple continues to warn the faithful that: "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."