Jobs, who came back following a liver transplant and six-month medical leave, is overseeing every aspect of the new tablet, especially its advertising and marketing strategy, the Journal said Tuesday.
Apple staffers have faced Jobs' scrutiny after a period of freedom over product strategy during his leave. "People have had to readjust" to his presence, noted the Journal, quoting a person familiar with the matter.
Still, many industry watchers expect that it will be a multimedia device that will let people surf the Web, watch movies, play games, and possibly read e-books. And they expect it to debut later this year or in early 2010.
Jobs' attention to the tablet is a sign of how important the new device is to Apple, the Journal said. Since unveiling the iPhone in 2007, the company hasn't released a new product category, choosing instead to enhance its existing line of MacBooks, iPods, and iPhones.
A tablet has been in the works for some time. Apple was granted a patent on such a device last year. But the design process apparently hasn't been a smooth one. Jobs halted the project twice, once because of poor battery life and again because of insufficient memory, a person familiar with the matter told the Journal.
In an e-mail to the Journal, Jobs said that "much of your information is incorrect," but he didn't provide specifics. An Apple representative declined to comment further.