Last year Mr. Jobs stunned the computer world by announcing that he would break away from his alliance with I.B.M. and recreate the Macintosh based on Intel microprocessors. It was the switch to Intel chips, long the standard in the Windows world, that opened the door to Mac-Windows harmony.
Through all of these moves, Mr. Jobs has managed to maintain his loyal base of customers. In fact the Macintosh religion can still be palpably felt among those who have remained loyal to the user-friendly computer even as its market share dipped below 3 percent.
"I love the Mac platform, I just hope I won't have to boot Windows even for Photoshop in a few years," Alexandros Roussos, a student at the University of Paris who is founder and editor of the MacCulture network, a group of Web sites for Macintosh enthusiasts.
Wednesday's move also won an important endorsement from Apple's other co-founder, Stephen G. Wozniak, who long ago left the company but remains a vocal Macintosh user and is idolized by the Mac faithful.
"It's a great thing for Apple," he told a reporter by e-mail. "I don't see the earth being rocked, but I can now recommend Apple hardware to a lot more people. One pitch is that if Windows gets too frustrating and unbearable and unsafe, then they can easily switch."
Okay, maybe I'm wrong, maybe it's a good thing. But I see a train a comin', and the Mac folks seem to have gone Hollywood with the IPOD...They can easily slip into selling hardware for Macs and using the Windows software, and cease development and support of the Mac OS.