With Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference ramping up in a few short weeks and with the company having recently abandonned the annual MacWorld conference, most of the tech press has been salivating over “the big question”: is Steve Jobs going to return from his medical leave to give the big keynote presentation…?!? The timing seemed appropriate and with new iPhones, a new OS and a rumored new Mac Tablet device all being prepped by the firm. And who better to announce these new products than the man who helped bring Apple back from the dead?
Reality, however, has a funny way of destroying hopes, rumors…and hearts. Apple announced last week that Phil Schiller – Apple’s own version of the StayPuff Marshmallow Man – would be delivering the keynote and not Steve Jobs. If you were listening carefully last week, you might have actually heard thousands of hearts all over the world simultaneously breaking.
Apple didn’t say that Steve Jobs wouldn’t participate in the keynote address. What they said was “A team of Apple executives, led by Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, will deliver the keynote.” This, for me, leaves open the possibility of His Royal Steveness making a guest appearance at the keynote address.
A guest appearance makes sense for a variety of reasons. First, Jobs and Schiller are very fond of using iChat in their keynote presentations, often to great humorous effect. Second, a guest appearance via iChat frees Steve to participate in the keynote from anywhere in the world: his sick bed, his living room or an undisclosed location at CENTCOM. Third, by not directing or assembling an entire keynote presentation, Jobs gives his lieutenants and the company time to shine while he focuses on killer product announcements and doing shtick with Phil.
My bet? If a new iPhone model is introduced with a front facing camera, look for Jobs to introduce the iChat app during the first-ever iPhone video call with Schiller. And who knows….? If Jobs’s health is remotely better, perhaps he might even make that call during a guest appearance at the Moscone Center. We’ll find out in just a few short weeks.
Oh, and, “One More Thing”: as long as Apple doesn’t let Bertrand Serlet drone on during the keynote, no one will fall asleep.