Running AP2700, ATS, and APx on a Mac

Created on 2008-08-01 21:23:00

Question: Can I run AP gear on a Mac?

Answer: AP only supports Windows. But since Mac went to an Intel processor, several utilities have been developed that allow Windows apps (including AP2700, ATS, and APx500) to run almost natively on a Mac.

Two approaches are available to let you run AP software on a Mac. The first is Apple’s Boot Camp, a free utility included with Leopard. Boot Camp lets you boot your Mac hardware with either the MacOS or Windows (or any other OS if you're so inclined). Because it allows Windows to communicate directly with the hardware, in general it is the fastest solution. However, you can’t use Mac and PC applications simultaneously.

The other approach is to create a virtual machine inside the MacOS. This lets Windows apps run alongside Mac apps at the same time. The two most popular programs that use this approach are VMWare Fusion and Parallels Desktop for Mac. While it's extremely convenient to be able to stay within the Mac environment, there can be some penalty in speed, though in our tests of both utilities, APx500 ran on a Macbook Pro with no problems. VMWare has the advantage that it can utilize a dual core processor if available, whereas Parallels only recognizes one processor.

A Mac with an Intel processor is required. We recommend running the latest Mac operating system, Leopard OS 10.5, as previous versions had problems virtualizing the USB ports. For the “guest” operating system, either Windows XP Home or Professional are fine. Because of Microsoft’s restrictions concerning use of Windows on virtual machines, the only flavors of Vista that you can use are Business, Enterprise, or Ultimate.

Once you start up the AP software on the Mac, it functions exactly like it does on the PC. APx Series instruments connect natively through the USB port. For AP System Two Cascade and 2700 Series instruments, it is necessary to use the USB-APIB adapter, available from our sales department or your distributor. Instruments earlier than the System Two Cascade don’t work with the USB-APIB adapter and therefore can’t be used with a Mac.