Just a few months after Steve Jobs had a liver transplant, the Apple Inc. chief executive is once again managing even the smallest details of his company’s products, this time focused on a new tablet device.
Since his return in late June, the 54-year-old has been pouring almost all of his attention into a new touch-screen gadget that Apple is developing, said people familiar with the situation.
Those working on the project are under intense scrutiny from Mr. Jobs, particularly with regard to the product’s advertising and marketing strategy, said one of these people. The people familiar with the matter declined to give details on the tablet or disclose when the device would come out.
Mr. Jobs’s focus on the tablet has been jarring for some Apple employees, who had grown accustomed to a level of freedom over strategy and products while the CEO was on leave, said a person familiar with the matter. “People have had to readjust” to Mr. Jobs being back, this person said.
Mr. Jobs, in an email, said “much of your information is incorrect,” but didn’t provide specifics. A spokesman for Apple, Cupertino, Calif., declined to comment.
Mr. Jobs’s involvement is a sign of how important the new gadget is for Apple. In the months before Apple launched the iPhone in 2007 — now its fastest-growing product — the CEO was also on top of every detail, such as the curvature of the phone’s back, said people familiar with the matter.
Since then, Apple has updated several of its product lines, including the iPhone and its Macintosh laptops, but hasn’t launched an entirely new category. And while the company has recently posted a string of strong quarterly earnings, growth in some of its once hot devices, such as the iPod, has slowed.