He's been the face of Apple since we could remember. After about 15 years of leading the enterprise, Steve Jobs resigned. But why now?
Apple made no mention of Jobs' health in its statement about the change, but Jobs alluded to it in the letter of resignation he sent to Apple's board on Wednesday and later released publicly.
"I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come"
The only thing surprising about Steve Jobs's resignation—which Apple had telegraphed several times already—was the timing. Why now? Because of health concerns, maybe. Or maybe because now, right now, is the perfect time for the company to transition.
The cardinal rule of bad news is that you bury it as late as you can. And since Apple is doing so well right now, this news will hopefully pass fast.
Apple has literally never been stronger. A month ago they reported record quarterly earnings in a period with no significant product releases. They were, for a brief period, the most valuable company in the world.
In a month from now they'll be releasing their next iPhone on America's three major carriers. And very possibly something altogether new: an affordable iPhone, a handset for the masses.
If Apple would have waited any longer to release Steve Jobs, the iPhone 5 announcement would've been fully shrouded in memories of him. With a month's distance, new CEO Tim Cook has a chance to stand on his own. He can bask in the reflected glory of the iPhone instead of languishing in Jobs's shadow.