Apple's biggest rumor: iPod or Jobs?

Apple's biggest rumor: iPod or Jobs?

Summary: The Apple rumor mill is back in action - and this time the bloggers are calling the date: Sept. 9.

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The Apple rumor mill is back in action - and this time the bloggers are calling the date: Sept. 9. That's the day the company is expected to announce a new look for the iPod Nano, a new version of iTunes, an OS X update and more.  Apple, of course, hasn't confirmed any of it and rumors in the past have been off-the-mark. Still, during last month's earnings call, the company made several references to a "future product transition" that it couldn't discuss at the time and it has a history of announcements in September.

So what exactly will happen on Sept. 9? Who knows? If the news is incremental, it could be a press release and an updated home page. If it's a big splash - and a revamping of the nano line, along with a new iTunes would likely qualify - then we expect to see Steve Jobs on stage and under the spotlight, selling us on the latest and greatest from Apple.

Normally, putting Jobs under the spotlight wouldn't be a big deal, but you may recall that Jobs' health became a topic of concern when an (apologetic) analyst asked about it during the earnings call last month. Back in June, Jobs looked unusually thin and haggard during a keynote speech at the Worldwide Developers Conference. Then, the New York Post reported that Jobs was suffering complications from, or a reappearance of, the pancreatic cancer cured by surgery nearly four years ago. The analyst asked the company to comment and the reply was a simple " Steve's health is a private matter." But is it?

A few days later, Jobs reportedly called the New York Times to discuss his health. What he said is unknown, though, because the interview was granted on the condition that it be off-the-record. The piece - while absent of any details - did delve into the larger debate of whether a company is obligated to share information about a CEO's ailing health? This excerpt from the NYT piece:

No company has ever been held to account by the S.E.C. for failing to disclose information about its chief executive’s health, and I’m not suggesting that the S.E.C. should go after Apple for keeping mum about Mr. Jobs’s health. Indeed, I found plenty of people who felt he had every right to keep the information to himself. “As long as he is healthy, he doesn’t have to disclose,” said Charles R. Wolf, an analyst at Needham & Company. Roger McNamee, the well-known technology investor at Elevation Partners, said, “Because Steve Jobs has been appearing in public regularly, investors are getting a valuable form of disclosure.”

But if ever there was a chief executive who ought to feel some responsibility to tell shareholders about his health, it is Steve Jobs. First of all, he is not like other chief executives — he is, instead, the single most indispensable chief executive on the planet. As Mr. Wolf nicely put it, “Apple is Steve Jobs and Steve Jobs is Apple.” He added, “I think the stock would drop 25 percent or more if he were to leave the company unexpectedly.” When investors whisper about Mr. Jobs’s health, it’s not just gossip they are indulging in — his health really matters to Apple’s future.

Like everyone else, I'll be waiting for the big announcement, whether it's on the 9th or some other day, and I'll be anxious to see the new Nanos, if that's really what's coming. But I'll also be waiting for some details on the announcement itself. Where? How? And, more significantly, who?

I understand that a person's health is his own business and I really don't want to invade that space. But if Jobs takes that stage looking less-than-healthy the way he did at the WWDC, you can pretty much bet that the matter will come up again - and there might even be a reaction on Wall Street.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Apple, CXO, Health, Software, IT Employment

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12 comments
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  • I'm surprised....

    ...that in a day and age when HIPAA regulations are all the rage, that people insist on knowing the health of Steve Jobs. Sure it's important to Apple and their shareholders... but if he doesn't want to share the info, that's all there is to it... EoS.
    Badgered
    • They can ask

      Asking about it is protected under the first amendment. But Jobs is under no legal obligation to comply.
      Michael Kelly
      • Oh I understand

        that they have the right to ask. I'm more surprised that people would bother to ask more than once knowing he is under no obligation. Seems more like an annoyance to me.

        Then again... people get paid for this kind of stuff.
        Badgered
        • while hipaa is law, disclosure doesn't need to expose any PHI.

          I've worked in healthcare all of my life, and wholeheartedly agree he has no obligation to reveal anything about his health to anyone outside of caregivers and other covered entities, should he need to visit a physician, hospital or other healthcare organization. <br><br>
          However, if he did have a serious health condition that was affecting his job performance or especially if it left little doubt he'd be out for an unspecified time, then I would say he probably should make a public announcement that his involvement or role at Apple may be changing without giving any reason for it. He could say something like "for reasons I won't discuss...."
          xuniL_z
  • RE: Apple's biggest rumor: iPod or Jobs?

    And if he Doesn't take the stage the rumors will be worse. Conditions such as Crohn's disease, which affect digestive absorption, can also significantly affect weight loss. I suspect that Jobs' surgery is responsible- and he has said he does not have cancer or any life-threatening disease. The subject will come up again because idiots feel they have to harp on it. If he loses any more hair it'll come up. If he has diarrhea and has to leave the stage it'll come up. When he's 90 it'll come up. Leave him alone!
    chelless
  • RE: Apple's biggest rumor: iPod or Jobs?

    This is what everyone WANTS to write.

    "I understand that a person???s health is his own business and I really don???t want to invade that space. But... Screw that, I WANT TO KNOW, so that gives me the right to pester this guy, parhaps even adding to his stress in which making his condition worse. Screw his privacy I WANT TO KNOW!"
    gtimchishen
    • ?

      what gives you the right to need to know? it is not any of your business.

      and why would you want to make a persons health worse by pestering them?

      sounds like you might be a bully who never grew up in high school, or lower grade.

      hope you have a wonderful life with your attitude towards people
      richvball44
  • Britney like You Tube Job's video clip......

    Crying um well guy?

    "LEAVE Job's alone!!!"


    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
  • RE: Apple's biggest rumor: iPod or Jobs?

    Well its about Apple so no need to waste time giving an intelligent reply. Having said that I do agree that there is no need to bother Mr. Jobs now about his health. He was not "cured" 4 years ago and the cure in medicine means you survived 5 years or longer. When the doctor predicted a normal life span I'm am sure if pinned down on this comment he would add the one thing he left out, normal life span for someone with that diagnosis. It's a terrible disease and almost always fatal even the early stage tumors. I recently lost a good friend who thought he had it beat and was 2 months shy of becoming a rare survivor, then it came back. There is a chance of survival and if anyone can pull off the impossible it is Steve Jobs, but no need to ask him, he has documented disease and the deck is stacked overwhelmingly against him. I see the hits at the Mayo Clinic web site are suddenly huge for Whipple's procedure (an awful but only surgical procedure to use for this and fraught with complications after) and pancreatic cancer in general. So well over a million people already know the prognosis and you should read that and yes, we should leave him alone and draw our own conclusions. This is the ugly part of a successful but public life.
    Williepr
  • RE: Apple's biggest rumor: iPod or Jobs?

    Newsflash - Steve is still human. No matter how much respect I have for the guy, he's still going to die like the rest of us. If you're looking at him being at Apple forever...his spirit will live on in things created following his passing, but...he will eventually cease to exist.

    Okay, now that's done with, where's the cool new ipod? And is there a smaller cuter iphone coming out too?

    :)
    ceo8
  • Can't have it both ways

    In 99 percent of companies this would be no big deal (from a public perspective). And I would wholeheartedly agree that it's none of the public's business.

    To a point I would still agree with that statement. However, Apple and Steve Jobs have cultivated this. The public didn't just become infatuated with Jobs for no reason. Jobs is practically a product or service of Apple. Without him it's not the same company. And for that I think it's not unreasonable to ask or be curious.

    Of course, he doesn't have to answer the question. But you can't get upset that it's asked. They created the monster.
    aodonnell
  • RE: Apple's biggest rumor: iPod or Jobs?

    Actually the real scoop is that they are going to put Jobs' neural network into a super iPod so that he can continue to run the company for 100s of years. This should overjoy the shareholders and drive the stock to new heights.

    Seriously, I hope Jobs gets healthy and it's none of anybody's business but it makes for news and that's what gets media paid for.
    ca1ic0cat