Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced today that he would go on medical leave, his second in two years.
He did not say what, specifically, was wrong. But he will remain CEO, helping out with major strategic decisions, and Apple COO Tim Cook will run the company’s day-to-day operations.
Important: This should not affect Apple’s major releases that are expected this year, such as second iPad and the latest iPhone.
The iPad 2, as it’s been called in the press, is expected sometime this spring, perhaps for an April launch. And the iPhone 5, as it’s been called, is expected this summer, in time for Apple’s Worldwide Developers conference, roughly around early June.
As these products have been in development for at least a year, probably much longer, we don’t expect any delays to result because of Jobs’ leave. Perhaps some elements of the presentation may be different, but most of the big-picture stuff has long been decided.
Apple’s other executives don’t have the same flair or salesmanship as Jobs, but marketing boss Phil Schiller — who led Apple’s last Macworld keynote when Jobs was out in 2009 — should do just fine.
Beyond that, it is possible that less-important products could be delayed, such as the new version of Mac OS X, which has been previewed for a “summer” 2011 launch. But regarding other products, given Apple’s tendency NOT to pre-announce products and launch dates, we may never know.