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Will Steve Jobs return to Apple for new iPhone launch?

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs is expected to return to work soon after six months' medical leave, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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Apple chief executive Steve Jobs is expected to return to work soon after six months' medical leave, according...

to the Wall Street Journal.

The report has sparked speculation that Jobs could return early to unveil a new iPhone at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco on Monday.

The new iPhone is expected to be priced lower than previous versions to boost demand by up to 50% to increase Apple's share of the market for web-surfing devices, a Financial Times report said.

The 54-year-old's health has been the subject of speculation since last June's Worldwide Developers Conference, when he appeared to have lost a great deal of weight.

In January, Jobs announced he would be taking a medical leave of absence to deal with a hormone imbalance that was preventing his body from absorbing certain proteins.

In August 2004, Jobs underwent surgery for a rare form of pancreatic cancer. Much of the speculation about his health in the run-up to the announcement had been over whether that cancer had returned.

Jobs told staff in an e-mail that his health problems were more complex than he had originally thought and chief operating officer Tim Cook would fill in for him while he was away.

"Fundamentally, he was starving to death over a nine-month period. He could not digest protein. (But) he took corrective action,'' an unnamed source told the Wall Street Journal.

Apple has given no indication of an appearance by Jobs on Monday. The company's vice-president of marketing Philip Schiller is scheduled to deliver the WWDC keynote address.

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