But even as the hits keep coming out of Cupertino under Steve Jobs, a published report said Apple's board has begun the process of searching for a successor to the visionary CEO.
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the board is in the midst of "informal conversations" with high-level headhunters, with an eye to identifying candidates who could eventually replace Jobs in Apple's corner office.
"The conversations weren't explicitly aimed at recruiting a new chief executive and were more of an informal exploration of the company's options," the Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the talks.
For his part, Jobs insisted that the company he co-founded is not looking to replace him, now or anytime soon. In an email to the Journal, he said the assertion that Apple's board is engaged in a search for a successor was "hogwash."
Numerous questions about Jobs' future arose earlier this year after he announced that he would take a second medical leave in as many years. Jobs, in a statement, said he made the decision "so I can focus on my health." He didn't disclose what was ailing him, and his secrecy led to speculation that he'd suffered a recurrence of the pancreatic cancer he revealed in 2004, nine months after diagnosis, or complications from a 2009 liver transplant he also tried to keep secret.
In recent weeks, Jobs appears to have resumed a more active schedule at Apple.
He delivered the keynote speech at an event to mark the debut of iPad 2 in March, and he personally demonstrated Lion at another company event in June.
But Jobs continues to be dogged by questions about his health. Some shareholder advocates have said he needs to come clean about his condition given his perceived importance to Apple's performance. The company's stock tends to sag on reports that he's ill and spike when he appears vigorous and healthy.
Apple shares were up 2.76%, to $387.24, in early trading Wednesday amid mostly positive reviews for OS X Lion.
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