Page last updated at 01:11 GMT, Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Mac fans wish Steve Jobs well

By Maggie Shiels
Technology reporter, Macworld, San Francisco

Steve Jobs in front of sign about reports of his death
Despite rumours of his demise, Mr Jobs saw the funny side of things

The health of Apple boss Steve Jobs was a hot topic of conversation on the opening day of Macworld, the annual tech gathering of the Mac faithful.

Mr Jobs said his move not to present the Macworld keynote had set off a "flurry of rumours about my health, some even publishing stories of me on my deathbed".

In a letter he revealed he was suffering from a "hormone imbalance."

Macworld fans applauded his going public on the issue of his health, which has long been speculated about.

Mr Jobs's appearance at the Apple World Wide Developers conference last year sparked things off when he went on stage looking thin and gaunt with his signature jeans and black turtle neck hanging from his slender frame.

'Human being'

In a rare break from the norm, the notoriously private Mr Jobs talked about his health in a letter to try to put the rumour mill to rest.

Luiz Filipe Fonseca
Luiz remains sceptical about Steve Jobs and his health

"I've decided to share something very personal with the Apple community so that we can all relax and enjoy the show," he wrote.

He went on to reveal that he had been suffering from a hormone problem that had been "robbing me of the proteins my body need to be healthy".

At Macworld in San Francisco there was nothing but genuine backing for the man who has been credited with turning Apple into a market leader.

"He drives so much of what happens at Apple so I am glad he is going to be around for a while, though there is disappointment that he will not be doing the keynote," said Bil Moorhead of Black Pixel Luminance.

His colleague Erik Fleuter echoed that sentiment: "Steve Jobs is such a key figure in Apple and everything centres around him. This shows he is a human being too and not the demi-god he is made out to be. I'm glad to hear his health is in order."

Not everyone was convinced.

"I'm not sure we are getting the whole truth," said Luiz Felipe Fonseca of Insight Digital Signage from Brazil.

"The Apple community is very concerned about him and how his health reflects on the company and its stock price. But the fact he does not even show up to Macworld if he says he isn't that ill represents to me that he is not okay and the statement he made does not totally convince me."

'Evolutionary not revolutionary'

As well as discussing Steve Jobs's health, Mac fans also talked what products were likely to make headlines and why Apple was ditching Macworld after this year.

Jonathan Long at Macworld
Jonathan Long says he is excited to see what Apple will pull out of the hat

Apple has already stated that with 3.5 million people using Apple stores, trade shows such as this are no longer an effective forum for reaching customers.

First time Mac attendee Jonathan Long from Monterey High School in Lubbock, Texas, says he understands Apple's reasoning.

"They have many other conferences throughout the year and can call one whenever they want," said the 17-year-old.

"Macworld without Apple won't be as exciting that's for sure and the keynote won't be the same without Steve who I was dying to see."

There is some hope that when Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, Phil Shiller, takes the stage tomorrow, he will give the Macworld audience something to cheer despite suggestions that there will be no big announcement from the company.

In the past, Mr Jobs has used the show to launch products such as the iPhone, turning the event into a must-have ticket for Apple lovers.

"I follow the rumours and so do a lot of my co-workers and while everyone is saying there won't be a big announcement, I think there will because it's been relatively quiet this season and I do think there will be something big," said Grayson West of the Omni Group in Seattle.

"I hope it's something like a smaller iPhone. That would be pretty huge," suggested Mr West.

Bil Moorhead is hoping for "something that expands the iPhone. Makes it bigger."

"I think we are looking at something evolutionary not revolutionary," he speculated.

Macworld poster
Macworld organisers are already promoting the future without Apple

Andreas Varga of Guerrilla Games in Amsterdam agrees.

"Only one out of every two, three or even five years is there really a revolutionary product. Two years ago it was the iPhone and the original Mac way before that. Last year's MacBook Air was an evolutionary product. It was just made lighter and thinner," he said.

"It doesn't have to be revolutionary to be a good product," concluded Mr Varga.

His girlfriend Sonja Geyer of the Kerry Group in Amsterdam was of a similar mind.

"People love Apple and they care about the product and as long as it is good and leaves the user feeling good, the company will win."

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