Apple and its superstar CEO have confirmed rumours regarding Jobs’ ill health, but sidestep allegations that this is the reason for Jobs not delivering tomorrow’s Macworld keynote.
Yes, Steve Jobs is
sick – but he’s getting better. That’s the official line from Apple HQ, where both the company and its legendary CEO issued statements overnight regarding Jobs’ much-discussed state of health.
In an open letter to the ‘Apple community’ from Jobs and published by Apple, the company’s co-founder revealed that his dramatic weight loss is due to a ‘hormone imbalance’ for which the treatment ‘is relatively simple and straightforward’.
“As many of you know, I have been losing weight throughout 2008. The reason has been a mystery to me and my doctors. A few weeks ago, I decided that getting to the root cause of this and reversing it needed to become my #1 priority.
“Fortunately, after further testing, my doctors think they have found the cause – a hormone imbalance that has been ‘robbing’ me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy. Sophisticated blood tests have confirmed this diagnosis.
“The remedy for this nutritional problem is relatively simple and straightforward, and I've already begun treatment. But, just like I didn’t lose this much weight and body mass in a week or a month, my doctors expect it will take me until late this Spring to regain it.”
Steve Jobs at Macworld in 2007 (left) and 2008 (right)
It’s logical to assume that Jobs’ illness is the reason for his no-show at tomorrow’s Macworld – a decision which Apple previously ascribed purely to marketing and operational reasons. However, this can remain only an assumption, as the company has gone to pains to make no explicit connection between the two.
Indeed, the only mention of Macworld comes in Jobs’ comment that “for the first time in a decade, I'm getting to spend the holiday season with my family, rather than intensely preparing for a Macworld keynote. Unfortunately, my decision to have Phil (Schiller) deliver the Macworld keynote set off another flurry of rumors about my health...”.
Yet the statement that Jobs’ recovery is his number one priority and that the preparation for a Macworld keynote is “intense” implies that his health is at least partly a factor in the keynote question.
The characteristically guarded Jobs commented on his bout with cancer during a speech at California’s Stanford University in 2005, revealing that after doctors discovered the tumour they estimated his life expectancy at no more than six months. However, a subsequent biopsy indicated the tumour could be removed. “I had the surgery and I’m fine now,” Jobs said at the time.
But it’s no secret that Steve Jobs has not, of late, been in the best of health. His gaunt appearance during the Macworld 2008 keynote struck such a contrast with his previously robust figure that speculation was quick to spread. Was the Apple co-founder suffering from a recurrence of the pancreatic cancer for which he’d undergone surgery in 2004 – an operation which was deemed a success following the removal of a cancerous tumour?
During October's launch of the new MacBook line, Jobs made a tongue-in-cheek reference to concerns over his health
To tamp down the continued swirl of speculation, in late July of this year Jobs telephoned The New York Times
business reporter Joe Nocera, who had just written an article on Apple’s continued refusal to discuss Jobs’ health and the broader implications of “how and when companies need to disclose information about the health of their chief executives”.
Nocera reported the opening volley as follows:“This is Steve Jobs,” he began. “You think I’m an arrogant [expletive] who thinks he’s above the law, and I think you’re a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong.” After that rather arresting opening, he went on to say that he would give me some details about his recent health problems, but only if I would agree to keep them off the record. I tried to argue him out of it, but he said he wouldn’t talk if I insisted on an on-the-record conversation. So I agreed.
While Nocera could not disclose the exact nature of Jobs’ illness, he stated that “While his health problems amounted to a good deal more than ‘a common bug’ [a previous excuse from Apple], they weren’t life-threatening and he doesn’t have a recurrence of cancer.” (The article
itself makes excellent and quite timely reading )
Two weeks after Apple revealed that for the first time in over a decade Jobs would not present his annual Macworld keynote, Gizmodo
tipped his “rapidly declining health” as the real reason, or at least one
of the reasons, for the decision. This set off a further bout of speculation which Apple is now seeking to smother on the eve of Macworld.