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Thursday, June 04, 2009, 08:15 pm PT (11:15 pm ET)

Jobs' return to Apple may hinge on public event

Although Apple has long said its CEO Steve Jobs' return to regular work is slated for late June, a report has the company waiting for a major event before the co-founder truly resumes his post — one which he briefly risked never seeing again.

Senior managers at the company have supposedly said on Thursday that it wants to time the return for either a product introduction or some other public event, though just what that would entail wasn't provided. Most others, including analysts, don't expect this to involve next week's WWDC keynote; Apple has claimed that Phil Schiller and other executives would jointly host the Monday opening presentation for the developer gathering.

The Wall Street Journal goes so far as to cite other, anonymous sources to support such a view. One claimed eyewitness says Apple's new iPhone is in a sufficient state as to be shown at WWDC and reiterates details that have already been leaked through previous rumors, including a faster processor and video recording with an after-the-fact editing feature.

Even if there is no convenient event to parallel his return, Jobs is believed by those who have recently met him to be healthy enough to meet his official goal of an end-of-June return. The luminary has been seen on campus more than once ahead of this date.

One of those, however, adds color to the story and says that Jobs' official claim of a hormonal imbalance in January was accurate, but that it was more grave than portrayed in the executive's open letter. While it's true that the difference was denying Jobs necessary protein, the decay was enough that it could have been deadly without the "corrective action" taken after months of related health problems.

"Fundamentally he was starving to death over a nine-month period," the apparent insider says, also echoing reports of weekly physician updates to keep Apple executives up to date.

Apple, of course, declines to elaborate either on any event details or on Jobs' health beyond its months-old official statements.