San Francisco: Apple said on Tuesday that its iconic chief executive Steve Jobs will not make his traditional superstar appearance at Macworld Expo in January, and that the company is dropping out of the event.
Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing Philip Schiller, who has routinely served as a comic sidekick during Macworld keynote presentations, will replace Jobs on stage in San Francisco on 6 January.
“It will be Apple’s last keynote at the show,” the maker of trendsetting iPhones, iPods and Macintosh computers said in a terse press release.
Macworld is an annual gathering of Apple Macintosh computer devotees, including users, developers and innovators pitching Macintosh-related products.
Since the first Macworld was held in San Francisco in 1985, Jobs has used his keynotes to unveil world-captivating products such as iPods, iPhones, iTunes, and Macbook Air laptop computers.
Tickets to Jobs keynotes at Macworld have been coveted, with hordes of Apple faithful queuing for hours to get precious seats in the audience.
The decision by Jobs not to make a farewell performance at Macworld in January is rekindling speculation that his health is in trouble.
The price of Yahoo stock dropped slightly in after hours trading that followed the Macworld announcement. The California company’s stock price had ended the trading day up nearly five percent.
Apple downplayed its decision to pull out of Macworld, saying that its popular real-world and online stores have made it easy to connect with fans without having to spend money on an expo.
Macworld is run by event management firm IDG. In recent years Apple has stopped going to similar expos in New York, Tokyo and Paris.
Apple’s practice of using the Macworld stage to announce innovative products put pressure on the company to have hip, new things to launch every January.
That is an unsustainable position for a company to be in given product development and production cycles, Enderle said.
It also created a situation in which customers might wait to see what Apple announces in January instead of of buying what the company had on store shelves during the year-end shopping season.