Steve Jobs prioritizing Apple's next-gen iPad, iPhone on medical leave
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that, as expected, Jobs has stayed "closely involved in the company's strategic decisions and product development" during a medical leave to focus on his health, according to people familiar with the matter.
Sources say Jobs has been holding business meetings at his home and on the phone. He has also been seen at the company's Cupertino, Calif., campus and around Palo Alto, Calif., with a company executive.
Apple announced in January that Jobs would take a medical leave of absence for the second time in two years. At the time, Jobs wrote in a press release that he would "continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company."
According to the Journal's sources, Jobs continues to work on "the next version of the iPad tablet computer, expected out in the next couple of months, and a new iPhone, expected to be released this summer."
Sources also reported that day-to-day operations remain "nearly unchanged" under COO Tim Cook, although some said there is a "sense of sadness" because of concerns about Jobs' health. Cook also managed operations for the company while Jobs took his previous leave, earning $59 million in the process.
Though pundits have speculated about Jobs' reasons for his leave of absence, the exact nature of his condition remains unclear. People who have seen Jobs in recent months have said that he "continues to look thin." Sources also told the Journal that Apple and Jobs "appear to be going about things in much the same way as they did during his previous medical leave, at the time of his transplant."
Jobs had reportedly been on a "down cycle" in the weeks prior to the announcement of his medical leave. An anonymous source told The New York Times that he suffers from "immune system issues common with people who have received liver transplants" and had only been coming into the office two days a week.
According to the Journal's report, some developers are holding out for the annual Worldwide Developers Conference in early June, possibly June 5 to June 9, to assess the situation. "App developers are waiting to see if Steve will come back to give the keynote at WWDC," said Vishal Gurbuxani, a co-founder of mobile-ad company Mobclix Inc.
Analysts have spoken out to reassure investors over the leave of absence. Jobs' time away "is a concern because people view [Jobs] as the head innovator, but...I feel Apple can continue down its path with or without Steve," said Mike Binger, fund manager at Thrivent Asset Management.
Shares of Apple stock fell shortly after news of Jobs' leave, but have since recovered as investors remained bullish at the prospect of continued sales growth of the iPhone and iPad.