One of the highlights of the upcoming September 9th iPod event is the fact that Steve Jobs himself is widely expected to be in attendance. Apple fanatics have gotten an abnormally low dose of Jobs over the last few months, due to his illness and recovery. A lot of people are looking forward to hearing him speak on the 9th. However, if analyst Shaw Wu with Kaufman Bros is correct, Jobs is unlikely to show. (thanks AppleInsider)
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Wu said today that Steve's presence would be a "welcome surprise", but he does not think it is very likely. This does not gel with Gene Munster's report that a Jobs keynote speech would be the biggest event of Sept. 9th. Wu instead believes that Phil Schiller, Apple's senior VP of marketing, will do the speech.
Both analysts, and everyone else in the tech world, seem to be in agreement about everything else. The Sept 9th event will feature a whole new line of iPods loaded up with cameras, plus iTunes version 9. Despite earlier rumors, it is no longer believed that the iTablet will make its first appearance at this event. We'll have to wait until 2010 to see that (unless, of course, it's a giant load of hooey.)
The new iPods are supposed to see an upgrade in storage capacity, as well as a significant drop in price. If Apple doesn't do this, the Zune HD is going to look a whole heck of a lot better by comparison. Currently an 8GB iPod touch costs $9 more than a 16GB Zune HD. If Apple can keep the price/memory ratio equal, they'll be able to kill one of the Zune's big advantages.
With a slew of new products about to hit, it's surprising that the biggest news surrounding this event would be the return of Steve Jobs. If he does show up to do the keynote, it'll be bigger news than his new iPods, which might be why he's holding back. The Apple founder has achieved a significant amount of celebrity, especially among die-hard fans of the brand. That celebrity is greatly enhanced right now due to his recent brush with death.
His first keynote after surgery is going to be the one that makes the most news, which could be why he's waiting to make his big return until the iTablet is ready to be unveiled. Breaking his media blackout for the first time in months alongside the announcement of the most anticipated product since the original iPhone would be a pretty big publicity coup. That could be exactly what Steve has in mind.
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Or he could just be feeling kind of crummy and not want to go deliver a speech in front of hundreds of screaming fanboys. Either/or. Whatever happens, the 9th should give the rumor mill plenty of fodder for the next few months.