Apple's iPod Event: Too Small for Steve Jobs?

The biggest mystery surrounding Apple's Sept. 9 event may not be the products, but whether Steve Jobs will introduce them. Unless Apple plans more than most observers expect, there is good reason for Steve to remain out-of-sight.

The expected products--iPods with cameras--are evolutionary and won't support the legendary Jobs' "reality distortion field." What is there exciting about iPods that inherit old iPhone features? Or about a new Apple TV? Or even music social networking?

From a revenue standpoint, the new iPods will be important but won't add much from an amazing features perspective. If Phil Schiller tells us these things, we will believe him. Everyone has grown used to Phil, who was the primary face of Apple during Jobs' absence.

Better to leave Steve working on the tablet and let him introduce that, whenever it should appear. It will likely need a reality distortion field to help it over the initial skepticism and will certainly be new and different enough to deserve a Jobsian push into the world.

Steve could have introduced the 3GS himself back in June, but apparently chose not to. That went just fine and so will the Sept. 9 event.

In fact, Steve's first public appearance since returning from medical leave might take attention away from the new iPods, which will benefit from all the help they can get. Better they stand on their own

Steve and a new tablet, meanwhile, are likely to get equal coverage, perhaps one amplifying the other. Steve needs a triumphant, technology-driven return. The tablet can provide that and iPods won't.

Don't expect to see Steve next Wednesday.

David Coursey has been writing about Apple for more than two decades. He tweets as @techinciter and can be contacted via his Web site.

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