Apple Says Jobs Won't Speak At Macworld

Apple, by way of explanation, issued a press release stating that trade shows have become less important in terms of how Apple reaches customers and noting that it has been scaling back its involvement in trade shows in recent years, pulling out of NAB, Macworld New York, Macworld Tokyo and Apple Expo in Paris.

"The increasing popularity of Apple's Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the Web site enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways," Apple said in the release.

No explanation was offered for Jobs' absence. But for much of 2008, Jobs, a pancreatic cancer survivor, has been the subject of health-related rumors and speculation, which reached a fever pitch earlier this year when Bloomberg mistakenly published an obituary for the Apple CEO.

Taking Jobs' place as Macworld keynote speaker will be Philip Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, who will appear at 9:00 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 6 in San Francisco's Moscone Center.

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Macworld runs from Jan. 5-9, 2009.