Apple's big showcase Worldwide Developers Conference this week will either go as advertised, focusing on a new iPhone, said Philip Elmer-DeWitt in Fortune, or it will "be what the speculators running up Apple’s stock this week are anticipating: the second coming of CEO Steve Jobs." A surprise return to unveil the new iPhone—after six months of medical leave—would be a classic bit of Jobs stagecraft, but he's probably the only one who knows what's really in the works.
A cameo by Jobs would "ensure Apple a short-term swell of media attention," said Nicholas Kolakowski in eWeek, and that, plus the new iPhone, would help Apple steal back some of the "substantial buzz" generated by the weekend rollout of the newest iPhone rival, the Palm Pre. Developed by former Apple hotshots, the Pre has earned good reviews, but the return of Jobs would be the "ultimate attention-getter" for Apple and its smartphone.
Whether or not Jobs appears at Apple's WWDC, said Arik Hasseldahl in BusinessWeek, it looks like he will be back as CEO by the end of June. But with the strong performance of Jobs' stand-in, Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, the change may not mean much for Apple and its shareholders. In fact, it might make more sense for Apple to promote Cook to CEO and move Jobs to chairman and chief "creative visionary," cementing the "de facto roles" Jobs and Cook really play.