New iPods and possibly even a major update to the iPhone OS aren't the only things that people will be watching for at Apple's "Let's Rock" event today. Between Wall Street, analyst firms and your garden variety blogger, the speculation over Steve Jobs' health just won't quit.
This most recent bout of questioning started after Jobs' WWDC '08 keynote at which some felt the Apple CEO looked a little gaunt. A few incendiary blog posts here, some rampant speculation there, and eventually Apple decided to comment publicly on the issue.
The chatter about Jobs' health continued, however, since the company stuck with its remarkably concise information-sharing policies. Jobs eventually spoke off the record about his health with the New York Times, where he shared that he had indeed been sick with something more serious than Apple's claims of a "common bug," but nothing detrimental to his health or his abilities to perform his job. Jobs also clarified that the surgery for pancreatic cancer he had in 2003 leaves most patients with permanent weight loss, but again, nothing to worry about.
That phone call seemed to have quelled most discussion, but Bloomberg slipped in late August and prematurely published Steve Jobs' obituary during a routine edit (remember: it is completely normal for major news organizations to pre-write obituaries for famous folks and celebrities). Adding more fuel to the rekindled fire, Dan Lyons of Fake Steve Jobs and now Newsweek fame claimed to have heard on September 3 from "people close to [Jobs]" that he is "really sick" and not looking so hot. We haven't been able to clarify exactly when Lyon spoke with his sources, however, so if it was a month or two ago, the "not-serious-but-more-than-a-common-bug" issue Jobs confirmed he had could still have been in full effect.
Now, just before whatever Apple is set to announce, upgrade, or set off fireworks for, AppleInsider says some analysts like Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster are confident that Jobs will be on stage and in full form. "While some investors are concerned that Jobs will not deliver the keynote, we have reason to believe he will," Munster said. "Therefore, we believe his health has improved since the June event, which would be a positive for the stock."
Considering the amount of Apple's original and current success being attributed to Jobs himself, the concern over his health is understandable. As we've pointed out before, though, Apple will be in more than capable hands for the eventual day when Jobs decides to retire and watch someone else give Apple's keynotes for a change.
For now, we'll take Jobs' word on his own health, and we share Munster's confidence that he'll take the stage for today's keynote. Be sure to watch Ars Technica's front page for our own Jacqui Cheng's liveblog of the "Let's Rock" event at 10am PT, 1pm ET.Posted on