Steve Jobs Retains Control of Apple, from Afar

Steve Jobs and Tim Cook

After taking his three months leave as CEO, Steve Jobs may still be running development of Apple’s special projects from home, according to The Wall Street Journal. Chief among them: new iPhone models, the iPhone 3.0 operating system, and an as yet unannounced sub-notebook computing device.

Jobs left control of Apple’s quotidian operations to COO Tim Cook in December 2008, who is maintaining tight control of operations until Jobs’ scheduled return to the company in June the WSJ says.

As reported after Jobs announced his leave of absence due to a “hormone imbalance,” the company has a capable array of executives–among them the chief architects of the Apple store, the iMac and Apple’s trademark branding. Reports from inside the company say that life at Apple has remained unchanged since Jobs’ departure.

young Steve Jobs

But the company also sees Jobs as their creative torchbearer. He is largely responsible for Apple’s product roadmaps, and serves as the company’s most ruthless product evaluator; nowhere is his input more valuable than in the development of the Apple interface, as it appears on new hardware. So it’s no surprise that he has been in constant communication with Apple’s developers on their new device, attempting to streamline the iPhone OS 3.0 as it might appear in a new array of phones, and the rumored tablet-like portable device.

Sadly, the final roadmap Jobs may have to plan is his own. The WSJ quotes one analyst as suggesting that Jobs may soon retire to the position of chairman, electing Tim Cook as his successor. In the interregnum, Apple seems to have innovation to spare: reports of the company’s patents on an iChat answering machine, new “push” iPhone functionality, and an expanded iPhone line abound.

Related: Complete coverage of Steve Jobs from Fast Company

[via The Wall Street Journal]CD