Steve Jobs considering appearance at Apple's iPad 2 event Wednesday, report says
Steve Jobs is debating whether or not to attend an Apple event Wednesday that is widely expected to be the unveiling of the iPad 2, according to a report.
Jobs has been on a leave of absence since January because of health problems and has largely been avoiding major Apple events.
The Apple CEO did, however, show up for a mid-February dinner hosted by President Obama alongside other Silicon Valley tech leaders.
Apple has also said Jobs remains closely involved in all of the company's product releases and decisions despite handing most of his day-to-day responsibilities to Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook.
The release of the iPad 2 -- Apple's follow-up to the original iPad tablet, which has been a market-defining success -- is seen as one of the company's most important releases this year.
Some have speculated that the iPad 2 will be an incremental upgrade, with additions such as a front-facing camera for video chat and a faster processor that would put a few of its specs on par with competitors such as the slow-selling Samsung Galaxy Tab and the newly released Motorola Xoom.
Other rumors have predicted a higher-resolution screen that could be a bit more of a game changer.
The iPad 2's arrival comes less than a week after the official release of Google's Android Honeycomb operating system, which is the first build of the OS designed for use on tablets. So far, Honeycomb is available only on the Xoom.
On Tuesday, the News Corp. website All Things Digital published a report that Jobs was contemplating showing up at Apple's Wednesday event in San Francisco. If he were to show up, it would be his first public appearance at an Apple event since announcing his medical leave and his appearance could threaten to overshadow the iPad 2 itself.
Jobs and Apple are notoriously private and secretive and have offered no details on what is the cause of the CEO's health problems. When his leave of absence was announced, Jobs said in a statement, "At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company."
Medical experts have speculated that the leave could be motivated by problems related to Jobs' recent liver transplant or a return of the pancreatic cancer that has plagued him in the past.
But at this point, everything is speculation. The one thing the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant wasn't subtle about was what the Wednesday event would be about -- with an press invite sent by e-mail featuring an image of an iCal-esque number 2 being peeled back to show the corner of an iPad.
Other than that, Apple has made no official announcement about what it will or won't show or who will or won't be onstage Wednesday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
But by about 10 a.m. Wednesday, at least a few answers regarding the iPad 2 should arrive, and possibly some answers will arise about Steve Jobs' health too.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: Steve Jobs announces an Apple product update in September 2009 in San Francisco. Credit: Monica M. Davey / European Pressphoto Agency