Is Steve Jobs sick again, or just thin?

I’ll leave it to others much more informed than I am to parse through what Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced at the developers conference (although I am glad to hear that we Canucks will be getting a 3G iPhone soon, along with dozens of other countries). But I have to say that one thing really struck me while watching the live-blogging coverage at Gizmodo and Engadget and MacRumours: Jobs looked emaciated. I looked back through photos from the developers conference last year and the year before, and there were comments and blog posts then about how thin he looked — and this time he looked even thinner than that. You could see his collarbone through his shirt (photo courtesy of Engadget).

As most people probably know, Jobs was diagnosed with a form of pancreatic cancer in 2003 and was operated on in 2004 — after reportedly not seeking treatment for more than nine months, while he pursued a range of holistic therapies. Although pancreatic cancer is one of the worst forms of the disease, however, Jobs had a rarer form known as a neuroendocrine tumour, which can often be cured through surgery. That said, many cancers recur even after treatment, especially if they have metastasized (that is, spread to other organs such as the liver or kidney). Of course, there’s no way of knowing.

I’m not the only one who noticed Jobs’ size — it was commented upon by many people on Twitter, and Valleywag wrote a post saying that rumour has it he is on a strict vegan diet. Let’s hope that’s all it is. Note: Some people have told me privately that they think writing about Steve Jobs and his health is “creepy” or otherwise inappropriate, but I have to disagree. The man is the high-profile CEO of a major technology company, and arguably more important to the health and brand identity of that company than the CEO of any other company I can think of. His health is a matter of public interest, not just prurient curiosity.


Plenty of other places are talking about Steve’s gaunt appearance now, including the Wall Street Journal, the LA Times tech blog, Eric Savitz at Barron’s and Henry Blodget at Silicon Alley Insider. The Apple Insider blog says that according to the company Jobs has been suffering from a “common bug.”

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