Apple said Tuesday that Chief Executive Steve Jobs won't be delivering the highly anticipated presentation that usually marks the highlight of the annual Macworld computer trade show in January.
The company also said that 2009 will be its last year exhibiting at the Macworld Expo, a multi-day gathering of fans and makers of software and accessories for Macs, iPods, iPhones and other Apple products. The expo is organized by the IDG technology media group.
has fired up speculations about the state of Steve Job's health. Instead of Jobs, Philip Schiller, the senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, will deliver the keynote, Apple said. The keynote address will be held at Moscone West on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. Macworld will be held at San Francisco?s Moscone Center January 5-9, 2009.
"Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers," reads Apple's annoucnement. "The increasing popularity of Apple?s Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the Apple.com website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways."
Jobs' Macworld keynote had become one of the consumer electronics industry's most-awaited moments because he used the stage to launch Apple's most coveted gadgets.
At the last year's event, Jobs had announced the ultra-thin MacBook Air laptop; in 2007, Jobs gave Macworld attendees the first glimpse of the iPhone.
Apple has been steadily scaling back on trade shows in recent years, including NAB, Macworld New York, Macworld Tokyo and Apple Expo in Paris.