Richmond (VA) – The web is buzzing with rumors of why Steve Jobs won’t give the keynote at Macworld in January. Wired believes it’s a matter of timing, and rather than coming up with something big to announce every year like clockwork, this change signals a new era of releasing innovative devices when it’s appropriate to do so. The Wall Street Journal raises renewed questions over Jobs’ health. But are all of us missing something even more obvious?
In 2007, Jobs took top billing at four product announcements. In 2008, it was three. In recent years other Apple executives have moved forward to handle some of the fanfare in iconic Jobs’ place.
Senior VP of Apple’s Retail division, Ron Johnson, who has been largely responsible for the Apple Store successes as well as iPod and Macintosh growth over the years, is becoming more public. As is Jonathan Ive, Apple’s senior VP of Industrial Design. While his team is responsible for the appearance of products – how they look and feel, this is part of the role that Jobs himself has had his hands in over the years.
There’s also Scott Forstall who heads the iPhone’s operating system and software division, a “sexy category” to say the least. Recently, Phil Schiller (who will be appearing at Macworld in Jobs’ stead), Jonathan Ive and chief of operations Timothy Cook have all been sharing the stage more and more with and without Jobs. And Apple analyst Gene Munster has now gone on the record stating this is a sure sign of a “leadership shift“.
It seems clear the point here is this: Apple is not one man. Never has been. While Jobs has driven an era of unparalleled success in the company’s history, there are countless individuals who have been and are important for continued success.
According to Apple, Jobs will not cancel all future appearances or keynotes. He just won’t be at this Macworld giving a keynote. Apple’s withdraw from recent Macworld events (Boston, Tokyo) have sent a subtle signaled that the end was approaching. And now that it’s been made official this will be the last Macworld, maybe it’s all part of the natural winding down process as the baton passes from one to another. But maybe it’s something even more basic.
We at TG Daily ask the question: Could it simply be that Jobs is ready for a change in his life? Maybe he’s grown up and realized it’s time to retire the jeans and black T-shirts, and to pick up a razor and embark on something new. Possible?