Apple: More Questions Than Answers

Apple plays its cards close to its chest at the company's annual shareholder meeting
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investors expecting details about the

Steve Jobs health saga

left the firm's shareholder meeting disappointed Wednesday.

Pressed for information about Jobs' condition, the iPhone maker said its CEO is still deeply involved in the firm's strategy but did not offer specifics about his health, according to



After gaining 91 cents, or just over 1%, to close at $91.16 Wednesday, Apple's shares fell 8 cents in extended trading.

Jobs, who is on a five-month

medical leave of absence

, did not attend the event in Cupertino, Calif., missing his first shareholders' meeting in a decade.

The talismanic CEO, who fought pancreatic cancer in 2004 and announced recently that he is suffering from a

hormone imbalance

earlier this year, is widely credited with creating the Apple phenomenon, making his absence all the more notable.

With Apple's COO Tim Cook overseeing day-to-day operations since his boss's departure in January, shareholders were also looking for more color on the firm's succession plans.



CEO and Apple board member Arthur Levinson sought to reassure shareholders but gave little away, according to



"Nothing has changed," he said. "Succession planning is something this board takes up regularly -- you can assume we will do that responsibly."

Another hot topic at the meeting, which was not Webcast, was the manner in which Apple has

disclosed information

regarding Jobs' health.

Levinson defended the company's actions and said it released information in an appropriate fashion. "We believe we have met all disclosure obligations," he said.

The notoriously secretive tech giant has been at the center of a media feeding frenzy during the last few months. From its

product roadmap

to Tim Cook's

leadership talents

, every aspect of Apple has been scrutinized by


eager to weigh the company's long-term prospects.

Cook, who has been touted as a possible Jobs successor, told shareholders that he is "confident in the future of the company," although Apple seems to have kept its product plans well under wraps.

Speculation has recently mounted, for example, that the firm is looking to open up new revenue streams by launching cheap netbooks and iPhones.A move into low-cost computers would be a major strategic shift for Apple, which has traditionally prized performance over price, and it would pit the firm against the likes of


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Apple, which reported record revenue in its recent

first-quarter results

, is seen as one of the tech companies most likely to


the recession, but is still subject to

tightening IT spending


Research firm NPD, for example,

recently warned

that Mac unit sales dropped 6% year over year in January, with iPod unit sales falling 14%

Despite all the brouhaha surrounding Apple, its CEO clearly holds a special place in shareholders' hearts. Jobs was re-elected to Apple's board of directors during the meeting, and shareholders also sang "Happy Birthday" to the company's chief, who celebrated his 54th birthday earlier this week.