During Tuesday's "Spotlight on Notebooks" Keynote, Steve Jobs wasn't the only jean-and-dark-shirt uniformed Apple exec on stage. COO Time Cook took an unusual turn, discussing Mac business. SVP of Design, Jonathan Ive, an even more unusual presence in front of the audience, introduced the new "brick" unibody concept. And Marketing VP Phil Schiller -- who's no stranger to Keynotes -- took part in the Q&A at the end.
It wasn't all Steve, all the time.
Because of this, Gizmodo's Jesus Diaz says Steve may be thinking of leaving in the near future, to live out his days on the beach, content that he's shown investors and customers that Team Apple will Boom! along quite nicely without him, much as Microsoft is... er... doing without Gates in the daily driver's seat:
Steve Jobs is leaving Apple. Not tomorrow, but probably very soon. That's why he started to say good bye today, doing something more important than just presenting new MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and an updated MacBook Air. Today's event was a play in which he clearly told everyone that the company is more than himself. Since the very first minute, when he immediately sat down to let Tim Cook talk, he was saying: "Hey, look, Apple is more than Steve. These are The Guys, the Goodfellas, the A-Team. They share the same vision I have. And they are going to push the company forward when I change my office chair for a hammock and caipirinhas on my private beach in Hawaii".
Daring Fireball's John Gruber, however, says Steve isn't going anywhere. He points out that Jobs has shared the stage before, often letting adepts take the more highly specialized presentations, like introducing Leopard at WWDC. Gruber says:
But so long as he’s healthy, working at Apple is exactly the thing Jobs wants to do. He’s consumed by his work, and I think it’s only in the last two or three years that Apple has gotten to the point where Jobs feels he has a decent set of crayons at his disposal. In Jobs’s mind, the iPhone is only the beginning of what a truly flourishing Apple can produce. Why would he leave now? “A hammock and caipirinhas on a private beach” would be living hell for Steve Jobs.
We're with Gruber on this one. While Diaz is saying what many of us were likely thinking during the show, Jobs doesn't strike us as the casual CEO. His investment in Apple is lifelong. He's not Woz, he's the Wizard, and they'll have to pry his hand off Apple's perfectly balanced, aluminum and gloss black steering wheel if that's ever going to change.