In its sometime role as a broadsheet hybrid of Us magazine and the New England Journal of Medicine, we have an update tonight from The Wall Street Journal on the condition of everyone's favorite iCEO. Steve Jobs, according to the story (subscription required on the web, free to read on your iPhone), is recovered from his health crisis and on track to return by the end of June. While some speculate that he might choose to surprise the audience at WWDC with a One More Thing moment, two sources for the WSJ story say that the plan is to wait a bit longer.
Steve's return is likely to be coordinated with a product launch or other public event later in June, say the sources. That event probably won't be the announcement of the next-gen iPhone, which the paper pinpoints for the keynote address on Monday with availability close to the two-year anniversary date for the original iPhone purchasers (pretty sensible; anyone who bought a first-gen for the premium price is a likely candidate to shell out for a replacement). The WSJ cites someone who has seen the new phone in person, reporting a faster processor and the expected video editing capabilities.
Equally importantly, the story points out that the long Steveless months with Tim Cook at the helm have shown investors and customers that the Apple train is still on track. AAPL is up 68% since Steve announced his leave of absence in January, vs. a 24% uptick for the NASDAQ index. Granted, Apple stock took a bit of a hit around the announcement of the leave, dipping to a low of 78.20 on 1/20, but it's up at 143.74 as of today's close.