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Apple, Steve Jobs, and the Future46:08
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Conference attendee Sergio Miranda holds up a sign about the absence of Apple CEO Steve Jobs at the Macworld Conference and Expo in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009. (AP)
Conference attendee Sergio Miranda holds up a sign about the absence of Apple CEO Steve Jobs at the Macworld Conference and Expo in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009. (AP)

But at the annual MacWorld Expo, which ended yesterday in San Francisco, the biggest story was that Apple’s great impresario, CEO Jobs, wasn’t there. He’s been looking gaunt in recent photos and this week spoke openly about health problems.

There was no new barnburner, like the iPod or iPhone, at Macworld this week. And at a time when the economy needs innovation all over, some of those iPods and iPhones look like baubles of the bubble.

This hour, On Point: Apple, Steve Jobs, and the state of American innovation.

You can join the conversation. Are you watching the Apple-Jobs saga with bated breath? Does it matter to you? And are you still in the market for hip new products? Or has this economy killed your appetite for the hot new thing?Guests:

Joining us from Palo Alto, California, is Steven Levy, senior writer for Wired magazine. He’s been covering the Macworld conference in San Francisco, and has covered Apple from its early years. His book "Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer that Changed Everything," came out in 1994. His new piece on Apple, "25 Years of Mac: From Boxy Beige to Silver Sleek," appears in Wired's January issue.

From Las Vegas, we're joined by Kara Swisher, co-executive editor of The Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital, based in San Francisco. She started covering digital issues for the Journal's San Francisco bureau in 1997 and wrote the BoomTown column. She’s been in Vegas this week attending the annual CES conference.

And we're joined by Bill Joy, co-founder and longtime chief scientist of Sun Microsystems. He is now a partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. A cover story in Fortune magazine once called him the "Edison of the Internet." He joins us from aboard the S/Y Ethereal, a new eco-friendly yacht he owns with his wife. They have been doing trial runs in the North Sea and are now docked in the port of Harlingen, Holland.

This program aired on January 9, 2009.

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