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Tuesday, May 11, 2010, 07:30 am PT (10:30 am ET)

One year after liver transplant, Apple's Steve Jobs is hard at work

Though Steve Jobs returned to work at Apple in June 2009, the chief executive was not regularly seen on his company's Cupertino, Calif., campus until January of this year, according to a new report.

An anonymous employee told BusinessWeek that this year Jobs has been seen more frequently, including appearances in the company's campus cafeteria. Though he returned to work last year after a liver transplant, his presence at work has allegedly been greater since the start of 2010.

Author Connie Guglielmo also noted that Jobs has been responding to e-mails from users as of late, and even attempted to seek comment from the chief executive himself via e-mail. Jobs, the report said, did not respond.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak reportedly said that he periodically speaks to his friend Jobs, and has been given the impression that all is well with the CEO's health.

"Every time I hear him, he's doing a lot of work and a lot of thinking that's involved in that work, and those things sort of go away if you're very worried about your health," Wozniak told BusinessWeek.

Jobs first announced in January 2009 that he was taking a leave of absence from work due to health issues. He maintained that he viewed the issue as a private matter.

Many view the success of Apple as largely the creation of Jobs, resulting in a great deal of interest in his health. In 2009, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission even investigated Apple's disclosures regarding its chief executive's health problems to ensure investors weren't mislead.

A few months after he returned to work, Jobs took to the stage at Apple's annual music event in September 2009, where he introduced new iPods. The Apple co-founder gave a short introduction in which he acknowledged his road to recovery and said he was gracious for the liver he received from a person in their mid-20s who died in a car crash. The event was Jobs' first public appearance in nearly a year.

But upon returning to work, Jobs' No. 1 focus was Apple's release of the iPad, which was formally introduced in January of this year. Reports alleged that Jobs was personally involved in the development of the tablet, and that his return to Apple was "jarring" for those involved in the project, due to the chief executive's hands-on nature.

He even penned a lengthy letter slamming Adobe Flash as unfit for the modern era just weeks ago. The publicly released document declared Adobe's Web format was created for the PC era, but that it "falls short" in the mobile era of low-power devices, touch interfaces and open Web standards. Apple has not allowed Flash onto its iPhone OS-powered mobile devices, and has instead embraced open standards such as HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.

Jobs has been busy outside of Apple too, teaming with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to push for reform in the state's organ donor process. Senate Bill 1395 would make it mandatory for California residents to accept or decline the option of becoming an organ donor when they renew their drivers licenses. Jobs himself underwent successful liver transplant surgery at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., in March 2009. Six years ago, he also beat a rare form of pancreatic cancer.

Experts who talked to BusinessWeek said that Jobs' increased presence at work is good news for Apple, its products, and its investors.

"Except for the fact that he's lost a lot of weight, he's the Steve Jobs of old," Tim Bajarin, founder of Creative Strategies consulting firm in Campbell, Calif., said. "At the visionary level, technology and design level, he seems to be working at the same level he was before he was sick."