Apple's decision to pull out of the annual Macworld confab is not related to the health of the company's famous CEO, a top technology analyst said in a report Wednesday. "Our reliable sources, which we spoke with this fall, indicated that [Steve] Jobs is cancer free," said Charles Wolf, who watches Apple for Needham & Co.
Instead, Wolf speculated that Apple wants to introduce gadgets on its own schedule, and not on Macworld's timetable. Other analysts said Apple's decision may be related to a dearth of new products to announce.
Macworld is not directly affiliated with Apple. The show, which is held each January at San Francisco's Moscone Center, is put on by technology publisher and event manager IDG.
Apple stunned the tech world Tuesday with its announcement that it's pulling out of Macworld after the January show. The company stirred further speculation when it added that Jobs would not deliver his traditional keynote. Over the years, Jobs has used the platform to introduce a number of groundbreaking products, including the iPhone.
Apple said the keynote would be delivered by senior marketing VP Philip Schiller. The news revived speculation about Jobs' health, which has come under scrutiny given his at times gaunt appearance.
Apple said it merely wants to use new venues to reach potential customers.
"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," the company said in a statement.
Apple noted that it has been scaling back its appearances at other trade shows, including NAB, Macworld New York, and Apple Expo Paris, in recent years.
Apple shares were off 6.01% to $89.69 in afternoon trading Wednesday.