Steve Jobs, the guru-like CEO of Apple Inc., is not dying after all, and will remain head of the ship at the iconic computing company. But he still has no plans to attend Macworld.
Jobs, it turns out, is suffering from a hormonal imbalance that depletes proteins in the body, which will require what was vaguely termed a “simple remedy” that will last through the spring. And that’s why he won’t be at Macworld. He has chosen to focus on putting back on the weight that he has lost, rather than assuage the legions of fuming Appleheads who feel personally slighted by his lack of keynoting, and those that are praying for at least a cameo appearance by their idol.
Rumors as to Jobs’ health have been swirling ever since the June unveiling of the iPhone 3G, an appearance in which the pancreatic cancer survivor looked so gaunt it sent Apple stock plummeting as investors showed they didn’t think he could go on, or that the company could go on without him.
So it’s hard to blame Apple for neglecting to mention Jobs’ health as a culprit when it was announced last month that Jobs would not be keynoting the annual Macworld conference. But that omission turned out to be in vain. The startling news sent fears of his imminent death — or at least, terminal, debilitating sickness — into high gear, because Macworld, which kicked off Monday in Cupertino, Calif., has traditionally been a marquee event for the company. It’s the venue in which the Macbook Air, iPhone and iTunes were all introduced to the world. The only reason for Jobs to skip it, industry watchers reasoned, was because he couldn’t even stagger to get out there on stage to deliver his customary magic.
Fortunately Jobs will remain in position as CEO and said his health will not get in the way of his duties: “I have given more than my all to Apple for the past 11 years now,” he said in a letter. “I will be the first one to step up and tell our board of directors if I can no longer continue to fulfill my duties as Apple’s CEO.”
As for Macworld, the health admission still doesn’t explain why Apple said this Macworld will be its last. When announcing Jobs’ intended absence, Apple just said it didn’t feel having him there was appropriate since the company was planning to pull out of the event going forward.