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Steve Jobs Lives; Macworld Won't

Apple's last Macworld Expo starts tomorrow, but a lot of the suspense has already been taken out of the show. This morning, chief executive Steve Jobs put out an open letter on Apple's Web site to address questions about his health that have resurfaced since the company announced that Jobs would not present his traditional keynote at the convention, and that the company would not participate in Macworld at all after this year.

Jobs' letter boils down to "no, I'm not dying, but I am ill, and so I'm not up to doing the keynote." He explains that, as many onlookers have noted, he's "been losing weight throughout 2008" but didn't get an explanation until last month:

Fortunately, after further testing, my doctors think they have found the cause--a hormone imbalance that has been "robbing" me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy. Sophisticated blood tests have confirmed this diagnosis.

The remedy for this nutritional problem is relatively simple and straightforward, and I've already begun treatment. But, just like I didn't lose this much weight and body mass in a week or a month, my doctors expect it will take me until late this Spring to regain it. I will continue as Apple's CEO during my recovery.

And that's the most you'll get out of him on the matter. Jobs concludes the letter this way: "So now I've said more than I wanted to say, and all that I am going to say, about this."

Apple's board of directors released an accompanying statement, saying, among other things, that:

if there ever comes a day when Steve wants to retire or for other reasons cannot continue to fulfill his duties as Apple's CEO, you will know it.

My initial reaction is something along the lines of "was that so hard?" Apple is one of the few companies around that can justify compensating its chief executive as if he were directly responsible for much of the company's success. Jobs is not only Apple's best salesman -- by all accounts he's also one of the toughest critics of its own products. Given the importance of Jobs' work to Apple's broader fortunes, he and the company were asking for trouble to stick to their characteristic silence about his health (even if some of the rumors thrown around were just silly).

So with that out of the way, what other news will Apple commit at the Moscone Center tomorrow? posted a summary of current speculation yesterday. I think it makes sense for Apple to update the Mac mini and the iMac; both (but especially the mini) have gone long enough with a revision that they're simply due for a change. Some sort of in-depth demonstration of Apple's next version of Mac OS X also makes sense in terms of timing.

That report does not, however, include any news about two important parts of Apple's digital-media strategy that have been neglected recently: the Apple TV and iTunes Plus. The company must have something to say on these two topics, right?

We'll find out tomorrow, starting at 9 a.m. Pacific. In the meantime, what are you expecting or hoping to see at Macworld? Post your predictions, guesses and wishes in the comments!

By Rob Pegoraro  |  January 5, 2009; 11:03 AM ET
Categories:  Mac  
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Next: Liveblogging the Macworld Keynote


Was he growing, like, breasts or something?

Posted by: ronjaboy | January 5, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

ronjaboy -- No, that was the leader of the former Internet Explorer team, and that was intentional.

But it is goood that Steve put out this notice, thereby keeping us A-BREAST of developments. LOL

Posted by: | January 5, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Incidentally, did anyone else also get the new Blackberry Storm, only to discover that the Blackberry Curve 8830 is apparently vastly superior if you have to do things like 'answer e-mails' frequently.


Posted by: | January 5, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Prediction: Expanding of the DRM-free brands on iTunes.
Guess: More than 24 hours to view movies on Apple TV?
Wish: An Apple netbook!!

Posted by: michaelp3 | January 5, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Apple will roll AppleTV capabilities into the new MacMini...

One can dream, right?

Posted by: ShawnDC | January 5, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Is this surprising? Most Apple nutjobs have way too much estrogen.

Posted by: Efffyew2 | January 5, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

We all know that the internet will be everyone's preferred method of delivery -- for whatever it is that you want -- on whatever device that you possess.

Apple TV is, so far, the best at delivering video, as itunes is the best for delivering music.

So when is Apple going to make the big play to the studios and indies to bulk up their video catalog? I would get an Apple TV tomorrow, chucking the Netflix, Blockbuster, Comcast, Time Warner, DirecTV, Dish, TiVo, etc. scenarios that are all so narrow in scope.

All that is needed is a great catalog. The payment system is in place.

Memo to Steve: you need something to watch while the rest of us attend Macworld Expo. Go for it!

Posted by: Keenobserver | January 5, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Jobs is a control freak, keeps secrets better than the CIA, and sells an image as much if not more than a product.

As much as he may dislike the trade show gig and time table, its hype and show have generated interest in a company whose design has often been superior to its performance.

SONY designs products that are also distinctive, but do not get the hype and packaging that Jobs has delivered. Setting aside the health of Steve Jobs, Apple should continue the marketing model that has served it well for the past decade. Be there no mistake the marketing has what separated Apple from the pack.

Posted by: oldgeek143 | January 5, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

I would get an apple TV if it would let me play open formats of video like .mkv or .ts or xvid or any of a number open-source formats for video

Apple may have done good things with music, but it's video offerings have been ho-hum. Too much money for too little content with too many restrictions. Thanks but no thanks.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | January 5, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm hoping that Apple will announce a 64GB Ipod Touch, much the way it announced the 32GB Touch last year. I also think that if this is the last MacWorld Expo, maybe vendors will shift their attendence to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) which is held Las Vegas at the same time as the MacWorld Expo, I'm sure CEA which host CES would welcome the MacWorld Expo, maybe even offer to provide a seperate showcase space that vendors can set up in. There are a lot of vendors that display at both shows, and this would help them to cut cost in the future, by only having to attend one show.

Posted by: cas1963 | January 6, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

You guys who say that Apple's resurgence is only due to marketing are on crack and obviously don't run Windows Vista (LOL - how many of us are still using XP?) next to OS 10.5. When you compare the two side-by-side you see the true difference between Apple products vs Microsoft products, i.e. some kind of commitment to quality control and a statement of responsibility to users. Anyone who uses OS 10 will tell you that the system hardly ever crashes, if it ever does. I have had my Macbook for a year and it has locked up on me to the point where I had to reboot it once in a year. I have NEVER had that experience with ANY Microsoft OS. Beginning, middle, and end of story. You can't really put a spin on that. Yes, Sony makes a good solid product as do many PC vendors, BUT the boat anchor is the Microsoft Operating System and has been for 15 years. Why? They don't give a crap if their products' problems give you headaches. They just want to cram the market full of their products to make money fast. Also, I have an IPhone and have evaluated the "IBerry" (yes, they are still playing catch up) and would only consider the Google phone as an alternative. I would not trade my 1st gen IPhone for the IBerry. Navigation is very klunky. Still the IBerry is a brave attempt to copy Apple's innovations.
I say live long and prosper to Steve Jobs and the excellence he pursues.

Posted by: Dante68 | January 6, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the blog. My wishes from Apple:

* DRM free music from ITunes
* 64GB IPod Touch
* improvements to Apple TV
* lower your prices!

Posted by: rusty6 | January 6, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

My Wishes from Apple

1) An adapter from the Old Plug style power converter to
the magnetic adapters on the Macbooks. I have lots of old
accessories that are useless because of this change.

2) The ability to run Real Player on the Ipods.

3) Better hardware diagnostics. If you upgrade OS's
you should include the hardware diagnostics in the
distro disks.

4) WiFi Phone version of the Ipod Touch.
The IPhone is great, but it's making me go to ATT,
and frankly i'd rather not. If the Ipod Touch
let me go to WiFi phone using Vonage or something,
Apple would have a customer.

Posted by: patb | January 6, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

One other thing:

Given the Intel Hardware and support of Bootcamp,
it would be nice if the MACOS included most of the
Windows API's directly in the system library.

This would allow things like VMWARE or Parallels to
run much faster and ultimately provide a direct
capability to run window apps in the OS.

I would also suggest Apple drop Safari, in favor of
Firefox development. Safari is great, thanks, lovely job,
but, Firefox is outrunning it, and Google Chrome is
coming. Stop Safari a browser that isn't making
a huge penetration and support Firefox modules,
it will give Firefox the critical mass to sustain
itself against Chrome.

Posted by: patb | January 6, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Pancreatic cancer is nasty stuff, last year my last remaining aunt died from it and it didn't seem to take long. She ended up looking up like a bundle of sticks.

It would be interesting to see if lots of small parcels of shares are being sold off.

Posted by: tashammer | January 6, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Ichat AV needs to be fixed,
it is extremely flaky, and yet has potential
to be a huge seller if they would make it work

Posted by: patb | January 7, 2009 12:57 AM | Report abuse

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