Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

With Jobs Definitely Mulling Appearance at iPad Event, Let's Hope the Focus Is on the Product

According to several sources close to the situation, Apple CEO Steve Jobs–who is on a health-related leave from the company–is definitely considering an appearance at its big iPad 2 event tomorrow.

But the possibility–which would be a big sensation at the San Francisco gathering and has been subject to great speculation–is also just as definitely not confirmed as yet, stressed sources.

If he did appear, sources said, Jobs would make at least a brief appearance on stage along with other top company execs in showing off Apple’s latest version of it hugely popular tablet.

The new device reportedly has a sleeker look, as well as a camera and other improvements, changes that tech’s top showman would certainly love to tout and that his legions of fans would like to see him introduce.

But what BoomTown would like to see would be more of a focus on the iPad 2 itself, rather than armchair diagnoses of Jobs’s fitness based on any appearance he might make.

That’s no small thing, given the appalling series of photos and video that have surfaced recently, which show the Silicon Valley icon from the worst possible angle and looking quite gaunt.

As I have written before, and as you can see from the photo above taken at last year’s D: All Things Digital conference interview, it is clear Jobs has suffered due to his bout with a form of pancreatic cancer.

Due to nutritional issues, his weight has suffered, one of the key reasons Jobs seems to have taken this latest leave.

That said, in recent weeks, he has made all kinds of public appearances both at Apple’s Cupertino campus and in Silicon Valley restaurants, including a high-profile dinner with President Barack Obama. Jobs sat immediately to the left of the president.

If he decides to make another outing tomorrow, it is certainly with the knowledge that everyone will be trying to figure out his health from a stage appearance.

That’s a risk for Jobs, of course, who relishes in introducing Apple products in presentations that typically garner well-deserved accolades.

Given how innovative most of those products are, what would be a welcome change in the coverage of Jobs’s personal struggles would be to show a level of respect to him by paying more attention to what bells and whistles the iPad 2 has rather than to how his jeans are fitting.

There is no question, with its latest iteration, Apple is making sure consumers realize that it is coming out with a second, flashier version, even before other manufacturers–mostly using the new Honeycomb version of Google’s Android mobile operating system–are still scrambling to get their initial competing devices to market.

That’s the truly dramatic story to watch here, rather than needlessly rubbernecking about the struggles of one man–albeit, a very significant man–to regain his health.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik