Apple’s Jobs took his rightful place center stage, unveiling iPad 2

Mar 4, 2011
Finance

Six weeks after taking a medical leave, Steve Jobs, Apple (AAPL) CEO and co-founder, appeared on the stage Wednesday in San Francisco to unveil the iPad 2. It was a crowning moment. It’s the stuff of legends, biographies and biopics. (For the record: I’d cast Christian Bale, fresh from Tinsel Town triumph in The Fighter […]

Six weeks after taking a medical leave, Steve Jobs, Apple (AAPL) CEO and co-founder, appeared on the stage Wednesday in San Francisco to unveil the iPad 2.

It was a crowning moment. It’s the stuff of legends, biographies and biopics. (For the record: I’d cast Christian Bale, fresh from Tinsel Town triumph in The Fighter to play Jobs, and Jack Black as Steve “The Other Steve” Wozniak.)

The audience gave him a standing ovation.

Only hours earlier, some were fretting that the gaunt Jobs, who is coping with pancreatic cancer, a liver transplant and only he, his family and doctors know what else, would upstage his team’s creation, iPad 2, the computer game-changing tab.

All Things D’s Kara Swisher, broke the news about how Jobs was considering an appearance at the event. “What would be a welcome change in the coverage of Jobs’ personal struggles would be to show a level of respect to him by paying more attention to what bells and whistles the iPad 2 has rather than to how his jeans are fitting,” she said.She added: “That’s the truly dramatic story to watch here, rather than needlessly rubbernecking about the struggles of one man — albeit, a very significant man — to regain his health.”

Others expressed similar sentiments, fussing that the man would upstage the machine. They worried that comments about thinner form, paler complexion and succession would be applied to Jobs rather than iPad.

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I thought this concern was silly. Tech devices will come and go. Jobs is the real story.

NBC Bay Area described the scene: “Appearing in his ‘Steve Jobs’ uniform of Levi jeans and a black turtleneck, the man who is battling an illness many suspect to be related to his liver ailment, had good color and great energy. He might be a bit thinner than the last time we saw him in public, but nothing like the (blogosphere) rumors that talk of him barely being able to walk and being just weeks away from his death.”

“Jobs had the energy to stay on stage for more than an hour. He used his time to do what he does best: sell Apple products.”

CNN seconded the emotion: “(T)here was Jobs, looking thin but happy and vigorous. Whatever health concerns prompted his most recent leave didn’t seem to affect his flair as an Apple pitchman.”

That pretty much was the consensus.

I think it’s great that Jobs was there to play his traditional role, switching on his distortion shield and taking shots at rivals. Great theater. It would have been weirder if he didn’t or couldn’t do it.

Jobs and iPad 2 shared the limelight. iPad 2 suffered no dire consequences. Apple’s shares even went up.

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