Webomatica nails it:
Because Apple has managed other, daunting transitions expertly, I fully expect them to manage a “post-Jobs” transition with equal skill. Have a little faith, people. This is Steve Jobs we’re talking about, the stereotypical control-freak. There’s no way in heck he’d leave something like this up to chance.
I have no inside information, but just based on publicly available information, I don’t believe Steve Jobs is dying. Apple would be in big trouble with the SEC if they were holding back information or lying about his health.
I do believe Steve Jobs is planning to retire in the next year. He may make the announcement at Macworld Expo and pass the torch to Phil Schiller, Tim Cook, or someone else. I’m sure he has a transition plan in place, which he has most likely been planning for the last few years. If you watch any of his keynotes from the last two years, you’ll see that he has gradually started bringing other executives into the spotlight and giving them a chance to do parts of the presentation. This year’s Macworld is merely the final step in that transition.
Retiring doesn’t necessarily mean Steve Jobs is having health problems. It’s common for people who have had a health scare, like his pancreatic cancer surgery, to reevaluate their priorities and want to take time to pursue other interests.
Some people have suggested Steve Wozniak as Jobs’ replacement, which is a bad idea on several levels. Woz is a brilliant engineer who will always come up with amazing hardware & software solutions, but, like many engineers, he probably wouldn’t be happy in a management role. Woz also doesn’t share Jobs’ obsession over form & function – he’d rather work on nitty gritty implementation details than absolutely perfect usability. Woz is a left brain thinker vs. Jobs’ right brain. The leader of Apple needs to be a visionary like Jobs, not necessarily a brilliant engineer, although he does need brilliant engineers working for him to make his vision into reality.