No Steve Jobs at MacWorld means he's leaving soon, right? Right?!

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As you well know, Steve Jobs won’t be at MacWorld next month; Apple won’t be at MacWorld next year. Speculation is rife online: is the the result of the recession? Is one show per year, the Worldwide Developers Conference, sufficient for Apple’s needs? Or, less scrupulously, is Jobs sick—and how does this affect stock price?

Thankfully, the Wise Men of Fortune’s little Apple blog, Apple 2.0, have put together a list of possible candidates as to who will replace Jobs when he calls it quits at Cupertino.

That Phil Schiller will replace Steve Jobs at MacWorld next month hasn’t gone unnoticed. Piper Jaffray—a famous investment bank that was slapped on the wrist to the tune of $25 million in 2002 for providing biased stock ratings—says that the move signals a “clear message that a leadership shift is underway.” Such evocative imagery!

In one scenario, Jobs would stay on as CEO, but would function more and more as a head of state than a head of government. Jobs gets the crown, but someone else gets the portfolio.

These are the names being thrown around: Timothy D. Cook, the current chief operation officer; Tony Fadel, senior vice-president of the iPod division; Ron Johnson, senior vice-president of retail; the aforementioned Phil Schiller, senior vice-presdient of worldwide product marketing; Jonathan Ive, senior vice-president of industrial design; and several other people no one outside of Wall Street has heard of.

For what it’s worth, Apple 2.0 thinks Tim Cook will get the nod, as evidenced by his placement on its little list.

All in all, yawn. Besides, it’s Sunday, and you should be watching football or fútbol all day.

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