Note: The author of this article does not own shares of Apple or any other company for that matter.
If you have a financial stake in AAPL, you've been no doubt tempted to sell your shares on rampant speculation that Steve Jobs is in the terminal stages of his life and has only six weeks left to live. That's what the supermarket tabloid The National Enquirer wants you to believe based on the questionable photos allegedly showing Apple's boss leaving the Stanford Cancer Center.
It's OK to be frightened by the shocking images depicting what appears to be very ill, fragile and skeletal-looking Apple CEO. It's also OK to be spooked by a gruesome prognosis claiming Jobs has just six weeks to live. It's not, however, OK to let emotions cloud your rational thinking and guide your financial decisions.
In my personal opinion, here we have yet another case of hedge funds manipulating the stock with a little help from tabloids.
Even if the Enquirer's report were true, Apple today is a multi-billion dollar corporation that'll do fine without Jobs and some analysts believe AAPL is poised to zoom past the $1,000 mark in the next five years. If you ask me, the Enquirer's report is a bunch of you-know-what. That said, before you hit the ejection handle and sell your shares, think rationally for a moment about the following.
The photos: Looks like a random old man
The headline screams death, but the images accompanying the report are inconclusive, to say the least. Even though the images bear a striking resemblance to Apple's boss, it's basically an old man photographed from the back. I urge you to imagine this individual without John Lennon monocles. Suddenly, he looks a lot less like Steve Jobs. Besides, Steve's hair isn't that gray and his skull is shaped differently, with the back of his head protruded more sharply.
The outfit: Steve Jobs would never wear an old man's sweater
Part of Steve's taste is his simple fashion style comprised of his obligatory white sneakers, jeans and trademark black turtleneck. Apple's boss has never been seen in public wearing an old man's sweater like the man on the photos. I sincerely doubt Steve would risk being seen in such an outfit even if he had six weeks left.
The "doctors": Remote butt-diagnosis
The gist of the report can be distilled down to the gruesome prognosis that Jobs is in the terminal stages of his life, with only six weeks left to live. This is what Dr. Samuel Jacobson and Dr. Gabe Mirkin told the tabloid. The problem is, neither have treated Jobs nor have they seen him in person. Worse, Dr. Samuel Jacobson and Dr. Gabe Mirkin are not oncologists. Mirkin is a radio talk show host who describes himself as having a "20-year track record of spotting breakthroughs and recommending effective treatments long before they become standard medical care."
Nevertheless, the paper asked both men to examine the photos and estimate Jobs' condition. Dr. Mirkin did an unprofessional (and remote) butt-diagnosis: "What you are seeing is extreme muscle wasting from calorie deprivation, most likely caused by cancer. He has no muscle left in his buttocks, which is the last place to go." This observation has led Dr. Mirkin, a non-oncologist, to conclude that Steve has only six weeks to live although he has never seen Apple's boss in person and we never see Steve's face directly on the photos.
The Car: Since when does Steve Jobs drive a Honda Civic?
Steve Jobs is a Mercedes fan. The photos show an old guy entering a Honda Civic. Busted! Jobs' Mercedes can be regularly seen parked in a handicap spot at Apple's Cupertino headquarters and there are no accounts of him owning or driving a dirty Honda Civic.
Steve's meeting President Obama today
Putting aside for a moment a post by Matthew Cross, an author and consultant for banks, describing his close encounter with healthy-looking Steve Jobs at Apple's Cupertino headquarters, we now have ABC News reporting that Apple CEO is scheduled to meet President Obama in San Francisco this evening, alongside Google's outgoing CEO Eric Schmidt and Facebook's founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg. According to the White House:
The president and the business leaders will discuss our shared goal of promoting American innovation, and discuss his commitment to new investments in research and development, education and clean energy
Would Steve bother making a presidential appearance if he was terminal and in such a bad shape?
Steve Jobs artwork in this article by Dylan Roscover.