Some in the blogosphere speculate that Steve Jobs could surprise everyone by unwrapping the iPhone 5 after Apple CEO Tim Cook makes the keynote speech at Tuesday's event. Others say his role could be limited to a pre-recorded video message.
How palatable is the prospect of a new iPhone version being unveiled without the iconic leader having any role at all?
Jobs' health has been a constant source of worry and speculation. The media scrutiny has had even a sinister, sickening shade to it at times. Now that he has quit as CEO, it seems even less legitimate.
The argument that Jobs' health is a public matter doesn't hold value in the present scenario, now that he is no longer the CEO whose health and fitness have a direct bearing on the future of the company.
Yet the Web is abuzz with speculation regarding Jobs' role in the future of Apple and the astounding devices it continues to churn out. The iPhone has Job's DNA, and many expect the iconic leader to have a role when the next model is unveiled.
Though Jobs resigned as CEO, he was named the chairman of the board of directors of the company last month. An 8-K filing by the company also says Jobs remains an employee, but hasn't specified any particular role for him.
Various media organizations reported in the past week that Cook would unveil the next generation iPhone at the event. AllThingsDigital wrote: Cook is certain to preside over the iPhone 5 rollout. He has to, of course. To pass the presentation on to anyone else - even one of Apple's key executives such as Phil Schiller, who has handled the Macworld and Worldwide Developers Conference keynotes in 2009 - would undercut Cook's new role and reinforce public perception that its legendary outgoing CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs is Apple and that it will be a different company without him.
However, the consensus view doesn't deter die-hard Jobs fans from believing that Jobs will indeed take the stage and could literally unwrap the new phone. The believers say Cook could hold the keynote address and leave the unveiling to Jobs.
Jobs was on a medical leave when the iPad 2 was ready to roll out in March this year. He didn't want to miss the opportunity to showcase the device to the world, and hence emerged from the medical leave to unveil it officially.
He said then: We've been working on this product for a while and I just didn't want to miss the day. Will he emerge again and do an encore, unveiling the latest iPhone?
Other commentators speculate that Jobs' role at the iPhone 5 release event could be a minimal one.
The company's new CEO Tim Cook will likely host the event, and Steve Jobs, who resigned last month, may appear via a video message, says a report by chosun.com.
But then there is a difference between being on medical leave and resigning as the CEO.