x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Jobs back at Apple after liver transplant

After the successful launch of the latest iPhone model on Friday, Apple received more good news, that its chief executive was back in the pink.

After the successful launch of the latest iPhone model on Friday, Apple received more good news with reports that its chief executive, Steve Jobs, will return to work later this month after a liver transplant in April. Mr Jobs, who stepped down in January for health reasons, received medical treatment in Tennessee and is recovering well, the Wall Street Journal reported, without disclosing where it got its information.

Steve Dowling, an Apple spokesman, declined to be specific about the date of Mr Jobs's return or whether his role would change. "Steve continues to look forward to returning to Apple at the end of June and there is nothing further to say," Mr Dowling told Bloomberg News. In Mr Jobs' absence, Apple's chief operating officer, Tim Cook, was given day-to-day control of the company and has guided its shares to a rise of 63 per cent this year.

Mr Cook's success has surprised Wall Street, after pessimistic forecasts that sent Apple's shares to a two-year low of US$78.20 on Jan 20, six days after Mr Jobs announced his leave. The subsequent rise in the share price has led to some investors calling for Mr Cook's permanent appointment. "For investors, it would be better if Steve doesn't return to be as hands-on as he was," said Michael Obuchowski, the chief investment officer at First Empire Asset Management. "He has created a good team and investors would be comfortable with that team and having Steve in more of an advisory role." Apple's shares rose $3.60 to $139.48 on Friday.

Although there were queues reported in Apple retail stores in the US for the launch of the iPhone GS, one analyst, Mike Abramsky of RBC Capital Markets, said he expected the new model to sell only about half of the one million units its predecessor, the iPhone 3G, had sold after its initial three days on sale. The iPhone's phenomenal success in the two years since its launch revolutionised mobile phone design and forced rivals such as Research In Motion (maker of the BlackBerry), Palm and Nokia to offer touchscreen smartphones of their own, with moderate success.

The latest iPhone retails for $199 or $299, depending on the memory capacity on a two-year carrier contract, and contains a faster processor, a new camera and an upgraded operating system. The iPhone 3GS is expected to be released in the UAE by Etisalat in August. The company has not provided a firm date for when it will be available for sale. * with Bloomberg dgeorgecosh@thenational.ae