Internet rumors to the contrary, Steve Jobs is alive and well.
In fact, Jobs, who took an indefinite medical leave from his position as CEO of Apple more than a month ago, was in San Francisco this week to help roll out the next generation iPad, the iPad 2. The device is a slight improvement over the first incarnation of the now ubiquitous tablet computer. Apple sold almost 15 million of the original iPad in its first month of release, shattering expectations and creating a brand new gadget niche. Analysts predict they will sell more than 30 million iPads this year.
For fans of Apple, however, that is just small potatoes compared with the news Jobs is up and around.
Tabloids have been speculating that Jobs is near death or even mostly dead since he announced his indefinite leave in December. Jobs was seen at a private dinner in Silicon Valley with President Barack Obama, but that did little to assuage folks who were near panicked about the fact Jobs might never return to Apple. Or, even worse, might actually die some day. Jobs is a legendary figure for many geeks the world over. He is almost solely responsible for building Apple into the computer behemoth it is today. Sure, he doesn’t get his hands dirty assembling parts in a garage any more, but he is the company pitchman. He knows how to turn an engineering faux pas, such as the failed design of the built-in antenna of the iPhone and turn it around into a “some folks just don’t get it” thing.
Jobs is mysterious. He likes to talk in circles, go on at length about grand plans and offer his fans a glimpse at a future that is great and wonderful and that only Apple can bring them. All of this sounds great, until you realize that eventually Jobs will move on. Maybe not die, exactly, but at least retire and walk away from the company. His shoes have grown so large it seems unlikely anyone will adequately fill them. Fans of the company are so devoted to him, company stock actually rose when he stepped on that stage in San Francisco. He stood there talking about the modestly improved iPad 2 and all some folks could see was him. The legendary Steve Jobs, himself.
Oh sure, there’s a new iPad, the iPad 2. It is lighter and thinner than the original. It has front and rear facing cameras so video chatting is now possible on what is still the world’s most popular tablet computer. It will also come in two colors–black or white. It will also run on the new iOS 4.3 operating system and come with a “Smart Cover” that will protect the screen when not in use, or fold back to act as a stand for the tablet when you want it to sit up. Despite the iPad 2 news that came out this week the real story for technology geeks everywhere is the fact that Steve Jobs is still alive and well. And that remains good news for Apple.