Tomorrow is a big day for Apple fanboys, and new rumors could make it even bigger. If anything could out-hype the iPad 2, it’s definitely an appearance from Steve Jobs. The Apple CEO himself is apparently “definitely mulling” attending the slated event, according to All Things D.
Jobs’ health has been of major concern to investors and fans alike. A recent sighting caused claims that he had weeks to live, and some shareholders unsuccessfully lobbied for the company to draft a succession plan were Jobs’ to permanently leave his role as CEO. An appearance could restore company and consumer confidence, and signal that Jobs is indeed still involved in the production process.
But there could be ulterior motives for Jobs to show up. According to Cult of Mac, one Apple employee says the iPad 2 is not an exceptionally impressive device. “For the iPad 2, don’t get your hopes up too high. That’s all I’m going to say. They’ve had a number of problems along the way, and the third-generation iPad is the one to make a song and a dance about.” If the tablet really is a technological disappointment, Apple might want to distract from underwhelming specs with an appearance from Jobs. Which would definitely work: His presence at product introductions such as these has been a notable catalyst in his own and Apple’s rise to infamy.
If Jobs fails to show and the iPad 2 is unsatisfactory, then there could be real trouble for Apple. The culmination of the two things could reignite speculation that without Jobs, Apple simply isn’t the same company.
This feels like a catch 22 for Apple: If Jobs does make it to the launch, the focus is certain to be on his health and prognoses are going to fly. Whether for better or worse, it’s definitely going to overshadow whatever product is being introduced. And if he’s absent, the shaky ground Apple is already on with its shareholders may take a hit – especially if the iPad 2 doesn’t live up to expectations.