Steve Jobs may be taking a medical leave of absence from Apple, but the company co-founder is reportedly still heavily involved in product development, conducting business meetings both in his home and over the phone.
Citing persons familiar with Jobs’ situation, the Wall Street Journal reports that while COO Tim Cook remains tasked with handling the day-to-day activities at Apple, Jobs is doing anything but watching from the sidelines. The report relays that Jobs has continued 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.”
The report also notes that Jobs has been seen on Apple’s campus and on the streets of Palo Alto. This jives with a blogpost from early February where a banking consultant named Matthew Cross detailed how he ran into Jobs as the CEO was leaving Apple HQ on January 31st. Of course you can only tell so much from visual cues, but Cross noted that Jobs was looking good. Jobs had a “healthy spring in his step,” Cross recalled.
Jobs initially announced in mid-January that he was taking some time off to focus on his health, an announcement that for a short while sparked a huge sell-off of Apple shares. Since then, and spurred on by yet another record earnings report, shares of Apple have steadily risen to unprecedented highs, hitting $360 earlier this week.
But in the wake of Jobs’ announcement came calls for Apple to publicly reveal a succession plan in the event that Jobs is unable to resume full-time duty as the company’s CEO. The truth is that Apple already has a succession plan in place, it’s just that Apple’s board of directors is reluctant to make it public on account that it may give rivals a competitive advantage.
Still, news of Jobs remaining involved in Apple’s product development and even showing up to work should be welcome news for both Apple investors and fans who, rightly or wrongly, assumed the worst upon hearing the news of yet another medical leave of absence. While specific details surrounding Jobs’ recent departure remain unknown, it’s been reported that Jobs was experiencing immune system issues that often arise in liver transplant patents.