Apple bull Gene Munster says he was “shocked” to hear that Steve Jobs won’t be giving the Macworld keynote in three weeks. He wasn’t the only one.
Let’s walk through some possible reasons for this decision:
- Apple is just phasing out trade shows. This is a statement of fact, but it is almost certainly not the reason Steve won’t be giving the keynote. If this is Apple’s last Macworld, which it appears to be, why on earth wouldn’t Steve give the final speech? It’s called the “Stevenote,” for goodness sake. And Apple has known for a while that it is moving away from tradeshows: It didn’t have to wait until the last minute.
- Apple wants to let other executives share the limelight. A good idea, but not this way. If some bonehead at Apple insisted that Steve begin sharing the limelight by suddenly announcing three weeks before Macworld that he won’t be giving a speech his fans wait all year for, then they should have announced this months ago.
- Steve just wants to pop out of a cake or something and stun his adoring fans. Possible. Also unlikely. This decision just seems too dumb to have been made by Apple. Apple obviously knows that this news will trigger a storm of speculation that Apple will likely spend the next several weeks dealing with. Would the company do that to itself just for a moment of surprise?
- Apple, Steve, and Macworld are having some sort of business dispute. This is possible. It’s also the only business reason that makes sense. Given the damage Steve’s non-appearance will do to the conference’s reputation, Apple and Steve would have had to have been angry at–or in negotiation with–the conference organisers to withhold the announcement so long (thus the “dispute”). But we imagine that Macworld would do absolutely anything to keep Steve as the keynote speaker, so this explanation seems unlikely.
- Apple expected to have an exciting product or two to announce, but it has now realised that they won’t be ready. This one makes sense. It explains the late cancellation. It also explains why Steve might drop out: Why would he want his last Macworld keynote to be a dud?
- Steve is sick. At this late date, given Steve’s history, we regret to say that this also seems plausible.