Jobs Focused on the Tablet, Despite ‘Distractions’ at Apple HQ


apple_tabletIn an article published today on the Wall Street Journal Online, Yukari Iwatani Kane reports that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is devoting almost all his time to the development of the much-rumored tablet device.

“Since his return in late June, the 54-year-old has been pouring almost all of his attention into a new touch-screen gadget that Apple is developing, said people familiar with the situation.”

Kane adds that in an email (presumably to the WSJ, but the reporter doesn’t make it clear) Jobs says that “much of your information is incorrect” but didn’t explain which information was correct. Predictably enough, an Apple (s aapl) spokesperson “declined to comment.”

If there’s any truth to the rumors of a late 2009 release, it would make perfect sense that Jobs is obsessing over tiny details, such as how curvy the back of the tablet is or whether the glass touchscreen has windscreen wipers, etc.

What’s really telling about this is how easy it is to write an article that tells us nothing, yet feeds the rumor mill while further whetting our appetites for an as-yet-mythical device. And all this, despite being told by Jobs that the information is incorrect. It’s astonishing, really.

Frankly, there are other important matters requiring Steve’s close attention right now — matters that should easily consume his three days a week at the office.

First and foremost, there’s an impending formal investigation by the FCC to contend with. That’s serious business, and can see Apple in a lot of hot water. For a company that is so committed to its culture of secrecy, an investigation will expose much of Apple’s inner workings to the world. Oh, and not to mention all the legal wrangling that will ensue — and all those predictably dramatic commentaries from Arrington and Calacanis to stoke the fire. In short, it’s a very big deal. Everything else should take a backseat.

There’s also that rumored special event next month that might just see The Beatles getting into iTunes (finally!). Given the decades of law suits and expensive settlements between Apple Inc. and Apple Corps Ltd., this development, if true, would be a very big deal not only for fans of the lads from Liverpool, but also for the two companies. Getting The Beatles’ music into iTunes could be the start of a very valuable content publishing/distribution partnership. If it’s true.

Failing the above, there’s always that beleaguered team of 40 staff whose only purpose in life is to review and reject iPhone apps. Given they have only a few scant minutes to review each app (a little over six, according to Mike Ash’s calculations) they surely could use a hand. Phil Schiller would probably do it but he’s too busy writing to developers.

But yeah, it’s a crazy world. Maybe Steve’s ignoring everything else and spending his days locked in a room with Johnny Ive, debating whether the logo on the back of the tablet should be muted gray or metallic silver. Time will tell.

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