Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

June 8: The day Steve Jobs returns?

March 6, 2009: 9:22 AM ET

Steve Jobs in June 2008, no captionThe "end of June" is how long Steve Jobs said his medical leave would run when he announced in January that he was temporarily stepping down as Apple's (AAPL) CEO.

But David Zeiler, writing on another subject for the Baltimore Sun website, offers a scenario in which Jobs could return to the helm a few weeks earlier -- on June 8 to be precise.

Zeiler was trying to pinpoint the day Apple is going to release the final version of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, the Macintosh operating system being developed to replace Leopard.

Jobs announced the existence of Snow Leopard at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 9, 2008 and said it would ship "about a year" later. Acting on the assumption that Apple will once again use the developers conference to announce the final ship date, Zeiler went on what he calls "a sleuthing mission" to find out when WWDC 2009 will be.

He called up the schedule of events for San Francisco's Moscone CenterĀ  -- the traditional venue for WWDC -- and found this:

Moscone Center May June 2009

Hmm. What do we have here? Moscone West is booked the entire second week of June -- exactly one year after WWDC 2008 -- for a "corporate meeting." Who else but Apple would reserve that big a block of time and try to cover its tracks?

Zeiler makes two more assumptions: that Snow Leopard will be unveiled at the keynote address and that the WWDC keynote will be scheduled for Monday, as it usually is.

I'll buy that. And I make one further assumption: that Steve Jobs, only a few weeks away from the end of his medical time-out, is not likely to leave the honor of introducing the 6th major update of Mac OS X -- and any other big announcements Apple might have in store -- to Tim Cook or Phil Schiller.

So if he's made any kind of recovery at all, I expect to see Jobs that Monday, looking rested and relatively healthy, on Moscone West's main auditorium stage at 9 a.m. sharp Pacific Daylight Time.

To follow Zeiler's reasoning -- and to consider the other possibilities he entertains -- click here.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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