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Report: Steve Jobs concentrating on tablet

Since returning to work, Apple's chief has focused intensely on a tablet device, managing all details from hardware to marketing strategy, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been focusing intensely on a tablet device since returning to work in June, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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 CEO Steve Jobs, last October. James Martin/CNET

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.

The rumor mill has been abuzz with stories of a possible Apple tablet, Netbook, or giant iPod. But those familiar with the device declined to reveal details about it or disclose its release date, the Journal noted.

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.