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Wednesday, May 03, 2006, 06:35 pm PT (09:35 pm ET)

Apple\'s Jobs mulls New York appearance

Apple Computer chief executive Steve Jobs may make a rare appearance in New York City later this month to help the iPod maker cut the ribbon on a high-profile retail store in the heart of Manhattan, AppleInsider has learned.

Industry contacts who sometimes receive advance notice of Mr. Jobs' public appearances say the Apple boss had been a "definite" to make the trip cross-country until a few weeks ago.

More recently there has been talk that Apple may tone down the launch of the highly anticipated flagship location and that Mr. Jobs may elect to remain on the west coast for the event, these contacts say.

The 20,000-square-foot retail store in the underground concourse of the General Motors building at 767 Fifth Avenue, between 58th and 59th Street in Midtown, will begin serving customers 24-hours a day sometime later this month. It's expected that the store will open on or near the fifth anniversary of Apple's first retail store on May 19th.

A hollow $9 million 32-foot glass cube designed and paid for by Mr. Jobs will rest atop the subterranean Apple heaven, like a jumbo gemstone marking the entranceway to the retail extravaganza.

Construction workers at the site of store last month could be seen replacing titanium constraints that hold the cube's glass panels together, after Mr. Jobs reportedly complained that the materials interrupted the esthetic of the structure.

The mercurial CEO has been known to alter his public appearance plans as often as he changes moods. Last September, he bailed on delivering the opening keynote presentation at Apple Expo when kinks turned up within the company's product pipeline. The Paris, France-based show, AppleInsider was told, had been slated to host the introduction of new G4 PowerBooks, iMacs, and even the fifth-generation video iPod — all of which eventually made their debut in the weeks that followed the expo.

Of somewhat more relevance, Mr. Jobs had also planned to attend the grand opening of another one of Apple's flagship retails in London, England in November of 2004. Despite making the trip overseas, Mr. Jobs failed to appear at the store's opening, instead remaining at his hotel due to a health-related issue, sources told AppleInsider at the time.

Regardless of whether Mr. Jobs attends the opening of the Midtown Apple store, other company execs such as Senior Vice President Retail, Ron Johnson, are expected to put in an appearance.

In the meantime, rumors continue to swirl around another potential Apple event during the month of May, which would be used to usher in the company's much awaited MacBook line of Intel-based consumer notebooks and some other "iPod product." However, no specific dates have been mentioned.