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Steve Jobs on Track for a June Return to Coincide with a Media Event?

The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required) that Steve Jobs is on track to return from his six-month medical leave of absence later this month.

While Mr. Jobs has been on sick leave, some Apple directors have gotten weekly updates about his medical condition from the CEO's physician, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Jobs's recovery "is coming along" and he is on schedule to return to work later this month, said this person, who has seen Mr. Jobs in recent weeks.

"He was one real sick guy," added this person. "Fundamentally he was starving to death over a nine-month period. He couldn't digest protein. [But] he took corrective action."

While there has been much speculation about whether Jobs will make an appearance at next week's Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple has continued to officially claim that he will not return until the end of the month. The Wall Street Journal's sources claim that, true to Jobs' style of showmanship, Apple is preparing for his return to coincide with a media event of some sort.

Much of the buzz appears to be conjecture of the type that has swirled around Apple and Mr. Jobs for years. But two people who do business with Apple said senior Apple managers have told them the company is now trying to coordinate Mr. Jobs's return with a product launch or public event.

The report also cites a source who claims that the next-generation iPhone is ready to be introduced at WWDC, with a launch to possibly occur by early July in order to accommodate owners of the original iPhone whose two-year contracts will begin expiring. The source, who has seen the iPhone, reports that the iPhone will be similar in appearance to the iPhone 3G but will possess more processing power and have additional features such as video editing, claims which are consistent with previous reports.