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Saturday, April 11, 2009, 07:45 am PT (10:45 am ET)

Jobs active at Apple, still working on tablet-sized device

Apple's co-founder Steve Jobs is still very much involved in his company's direction even as he recuperates at home — and is said to be on track with a new portable device larger than the company's handhelds.

Those reportedly aware of Jobs' position have told the Wall Street Journal that, as promised, he's regularly overseeing projects and has guided some of its most recently publicized work.

In particular, Jobs is understood to have been instrumental in shaping the interface of iPhone OS 3.0, which adds copy-and-paste text as well as device-wide search.

More importantly, the executive is still believed invested in long-term strategy. While new iPhones are to be expected, the newspaper also understands that Apple is as focused as ever on producing a portable device that sits in between the small, pocketable designs of the iPhone and iPod touch but not as large as existing MacBooks.

Despite the supposedly close access, though, the tips don't describe what that device would be. Recent reports have seen Apple order 10-inch touchscreens for an unknown product due later this year; it's commonly believed to either be Apple's long-in-development tablet-class device or else the company's closest equivalent to a netbook.

However much Jobs remains in control from a distance, his company is still described as eager to get him back. At this late stage, those close to Apple's business are still confident that Jobs will be back in June, or just two months from now; simultaneously, the firm's board of directors is anxiously ensuring this is the case by talking regularly with Jobs' doctors.

And even if Jobs were to spend longer outside of his office at 1 Infinite Loop, Apple is claimed to have a roadmap for the next several years.

The one remaining worry is thought to be a shift in upper-level (but not executive) staff drifting away from the company, although these aren't necessarily connected to doubts about leadership. A lead Apple TV software engineer, Greg Dudey, is known to have left for Dell. What exactly prompted the move isn't known.