Maggie Shiels

What gives at Apple?

  • Maggie Shiels
  • 18 Dec 08, 09:35 GMT

Apple's decision to withdraw from future Macworld Expo's after January's is done and dusted has stunned Mac lovers who flock here year after year almost as part of a pilgrimage. The journey is twofold. To hear about new products the company believes will change the world and to listen and watch Apple guru Steve Jobs weave his magic on stage.

Steve JobsWell at least the fans are being given the chance to revel in all things Apple this one last time. But it truly won't be the same because as well as saying sayonara to the Mac gig, Mr Jobs has decided to pull the plug on presenting the keynote speech at the conference.

He certainly seemed to delight in these set pieces of theatre and the waves of cheers and applause that generally greets his every utterance. So I guess this aspect, among many, makes one ponder why he decided not to give a swansong performance this one last time.

Of course we know there is lots of speculation about his health following a bout of pancreatic cancer four years ago. The issue raised its head earlier this year when Mr Jobs appeared thin and gaunt at the Apple World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

And while he refused to discuss the issue, or let anyone at Apple discuss it publicly, there was the faux pas by one publication in printing his untimely demise. At least the Apple CEO was able to see the funny side of it all when he appeared at an iPod launch in September in front of a giant screen highlighting talk of his death.

But the rumours about his health never went away, and now they have been reignited with this latest piece of news.

When I asked Apple spokesman Steve Dowling about Mr Jobs' health, I thought the line had gone dead because of the silence at the other end. No amount of questions on the topic allicited a response.

Alas that just leaves people like me, analysts, bloggers, Mac fans and so on and so on to fill the vacuum. And there is nothing a story loves more than a vacuum because that is when all sorts of theories are cast among us and allowed to take seed.

Of course there is another theory that has taken root of late and that is that Mr Jobs is looking to help groom a successor. While he may well continue to be a pitchman for Apple at other standalone events, he may slowly pass the reigns of power to others in the company.

So come on down Phil Schiller, who is Apple's head honcho of product marketing, who will stand in for Mr Jobs by presenting the keynote speech at Macworld. No pressure on him then!

Another theory for Mr Jobs' reluctance to take centre stage is that Apple doesn't have much of anything to announce come January. Previous Macworlds have spawned the iPhone, iTunes and the MacBook Air book amongst others.

Whatever the reason for Mr Jobs' no show decision he and the company have succeeded in one thing; everyone is talking about them.


  • Comment number 1.

    Apple are now mainstream and don't need these events anymore. I feel a bit sorry for the fanboys but this was always going to happen when they hit a certain size.

    I have to laugh at the 'innovative' means of contacting their customers though - retail outlets and online sales! My, who would have thought it! :)

  • Comment number 2.

    They should continue with the Macworld events, but have 'Guest speakers' each time.

    Robin Williams, Bob Hoskins and Denzel Washington are 3 names that spring to mind....

  • Comment number 3.

    I wonder if the dipping of Apples share price, following nearly all of the recent shows that Jobs has appeared at is more of a driver to keep Jobs out of the spotlight.

    Each time there has been speculation on his health APPL has taken a big hit - remove Jobs from the spotlight and this should alleviate the problem

  • Comment number 4.

    ...or perhaps Apple's 'innovations' (mainly making things a different colour and slightly smaller/thinner) have started to become difficult to present

    'Leaked' Keynote from 2013: "I'm happy to announce a new Macbook that is shaped like a star, the worlds thinnest mouse, what is now essentially an Intel PC but running MacOS and the new transparent iPod"

    Please note: I'm not suggesting that Apple are running out of ideas.

  • Comment number 5.

    I assume this is carrot for the usual Apple bashing from the "IT elite". Dull
    Apple are very good at what they do. They innovate, produce and market good products. Not all of them perfect - the camera on my iPhone is beyond redemption and utterly useless, but as a comms device it is brilliant.
    iPods may not be the best as far as the Hware and options are concerned but the user experience is.
    Macs may not be the most powerful and scalable computers on the market and they certainly are not the cheapest so why are they so popular? Is it pure Apple marketing? Surely if your going to part with £1300+ for a MacBook pro it's not because it's seen as cool. No, because currently there is nothing better.
    Apple is no longer a computer Co. they are a consumer electronics Co. with a very clear vision and brand value/loyalty that others in the field cannot touch.
    The Apple may go stale but as long as they innovate and bring quality to the market it's nice to have them around.
    That's innovate Microsoft fans - not copy.....

  • Comment number 6.

    heh, heh, heh... so Apple finally realised that they no longer have to actually DO anything: the world will still talk about them just as much! Bet it's saved them a fortune... I just hope they don't lose their way after Jobs steps down.

  • Comment number 7.

    What many articles about this pullout don't seem to point out is that Macworld is not an Apple run event.

    So what was happening is that Apple's release schedule was being forced on them by another company. Clearly that does not make good business sense, and was not going to go on forever.

    The January slot for Macworld was also horrible for Apple, with many people holding off buying new computers in November/December, to see what would happen at Macworld.

    Figures just this week show that sales of the iMac have been down largely because of an expected update at Macworld.

  • Comment number 8.

    I think Apple want to become more mainstream. They don't want to be seen as the geeky underdogs in their own world.

    Maybe they should scrap their ever more desperate "Mac vs PC" adverts and price their hardware more realistically.

  • Comment number 9.

    Mr Jobs health is none of our business !

  • Comment number 10.

    For those of you that do not believe Apple continues to innovate, I highly recommend viewing the video presentation on the manufacturing of the new Macbooks. Machining solid billets of aluminum into bezels is, by no means, the cheapest way to manufacture a laptop. If the iPhone wasn't revolutionary, why is it then, that every other mobile manufacturer is trying to emulate, or create an "iPhone Killer"? Please just admit that the old adage may just hold true, "you get what you pay for". Apple spends an incredible quantity of money on R&D, and deserve to make a profit for themselves, as well as their shareholders. Just because I can't afford a B.M.W. 7 series, does not mean that I will consider them overpriced, or try to compare them to a Ford! "The Steves" started this company out of a garage, pioneered the "PC", and make some really beautiful products that shine like a beacon in this fast food world.

  • Comment number 11.


    Mr Jobs health is none of our business !


    Your business clearly does not hold very much Apple stock. Or else you don't need the money...

    Jobs IS Apple at the moment. That is unhealthy.

  • Comment number 12.

    "Jobs IS Apple at the moment."

    Says who? As an Apple shareholder I know that they are more than one man.

    What about Jonathan Ive? Phil Shiller? All the other Managers and Directors?

    Oh right, Apple is just Steve Jobs in his office pulling levers to create iPods. Get real.

  • Comment number 13.

    twelveightyone's Apple tinted glasses on again I see?

    I'm a big fan of Apple products, but the world and his wife knows that Apple = Steve Jobs. When he left last time, they went to pot, and they brought him back... to what we see now.

    Sure, Jonny Ive has been incredibly important in the realms of design, but its Jobs that has made Apple what it is today.

    Lets not forget MacOS X wasn't originally an Apple product, it was purchased as part of the take over of NeXT and used to create the new OS.

    And whose company was NeXT... Oh yes... Steve Jobs...

  • Comment number 14.

    "I'm a big fan of Apple products, but the world and his wife knows that Apple = Steve Jobs"

    Looks like I'm not the one with Rose tinited glasses...

    Do you really, I mean really (forget 'fanboys' and all that infantile talk) think that Apple, a company that has consistently smashed profits and market share expectations, that has launched a phone that is now outselling Windows Mobile in the US, that has a WORLDWIDE retail chain that attracts record numbers of visitors, is run by one bloke in an office?

    The world and his wife THINKS that Apple = Steve Jobs, but anyone with half a business brain knows that the best companies have the best people IN ALL DEPARTMENTS AT THE TOP. Tim Cook, Jonathan Ive, Phil Schiller, these guys know how to run Apple. It was Tim Cook who chopped Apple's worldwide stock inventory from 6-8 weeks to just a few days, he also treats Apple products "like fresh food" - there's never more than a few days of stock for any Apple product anywhere in the world, which is excellent business thinking. Jonny Ive? Best industrial designer in the World. Bar none. Phil Schiller? Well, just look at Apples sales figures and judge him from those...

    So peej2k6, take your rose tinted glasses off and maybe you'll realise that all this hokum and diatribe with people screaming "Apple is Steve Jobs and without him Apple are going bust" is all smoke and mirrors, created by 'bloggers' and 'analysts' who simply have to fill a blank web page every day to maintain readership.

    Even if Steve left tomorrow, do you honestly think that no one on the Apple Board has a contingency plan? Wow, your glasses are more 'blood red' than rose tinted!

  • Comment number 15.

    The amount of nonsense on this blog is worthy of colin powells "known/unknown" speech. Cmon BBC I am going to start negative comments on all of the technology blogs if they stay so far behind the technology in the first place.
    Apple have given it up because they want to release new products without having to time them around this meeting. Besides who REALLY cares....

  • Comment number 16.

    "No amount of questions on the topic allicited a response."

    "alicit" ? How lazy must one be not to click the spell checker before submitting one's post?


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites