Just some thoughts, feel free to chime in with your own in the comments section.

  • As some people have stated, this isn’t just about Apple.  Macworld (the event, not the website/magazine) is in big trouble.  They have lost their headliner – which has been the anchor for 25 years.  As Apple has left other Expos (Macworld East, Apple Expo Paris, NAB, etc) attendance has waned and some are closing up shop.  This year is a done deal.  Most people have already booked/bought Macworld tickets for 2009.  How many fewer attendees and exhibitors will be on hand for 2010?  It will be a shadow of itself despite their best efforts to show otherwise.  The economy certainly doesn’t help.  You also have to wonder if Belkin, Adobe, etc. knew of Jobs’ absence when they decided not to be present.
  • Steve Jobs’ health will obviously be called into question yet again.  No matter how personal a matter it is, it does have a huge impact on the company – no one can dispute that.  While everyone should have a right to privacy about their well being, every piece of information about Steve’s health will be now pored over with a fine-tooth comb (like it wasn’t already).  Many people have a lot invested – literally and figuratively – in Apple, so the curiosity is natural.  If Steve Jobs needs total privacy, he unfortunately will have to give up his role at Apple.
  • There probably aren’t going to be any ground-breaking devices at this year’s show.  It isn’t just the economy, but the downturn doesn’t help.  Apple hardly wants to unveil the next big thing in a time when people aren’t spending.  There have already been reports of flat or lowering estimates of Apple sales.  Also, don’t expect to see that ARM netbook or tablet.  It will be incremental upgrades, some entertainment announcements. Otherwise Jobs, unless on his deathbed, would present no matter what was going on behind the scenes with IDG.  We’d opt for no big announcements.
  • There is also the question of whether things are good between IDG and Apple.  Apple’s PR statement rings pretty true; they’ve been pulling out of all of their traditional events over the past decade.  However, the timing and finality of this announcement seems pretty unusual.
  • Whether Jobs is sick or not, he is signaling a reduced role in the company.  All the signs are there.  In recent events he has been taking on a smaller and smaller roll, while propping up those around him.  Although scary for Apple fans/followers/investors, perhaps the big announcement at Macworld will be Steve Jobs quitting his day to day role at the company.

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