Steve Jobs Is Hanging Out at Apple AgainS

Apple shares rose today on the predictable news Steve Jobs will open a company event next week, despite being on medical leave. Best, then, not to tell excitable investors that Jobs is also showing his face on the Apple campus.

Jobs was spotted last week at Caffe Macs, the Apple cafeteria where employees can feast on Ethiopian food, paella, sushi or 25 cent peanut butter sandwiches. Technically speaking, the CEO may be on indefinite leave from the company he co-founded, with tough-as-nails COO Tim Cook running day to day operations, but Jobs did not let his nominal absentee status keep him from showing his face widely: Not only did Jobs dine at perpetually bustling Caffé Mac, but he selected one of the outdoor tables, as well. Or maybe his dining companion, who resembled Jonathan Ive, picked the table. But somehow we doubt it.

When Jobs announced his third medical leave from Apple in January, he put no end date on his absence, telling employees only, "I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can." Perhaps that time has come. The question now is whether Jobs will bother formally resuming his duties, or just continue to scale his involvement to what suits his health — and temperament. This is the guy, after all, who spent two and a half years as Apple's "interim" CEO. And Jobs' longstanding pledge to stay "involved in major strategic decisions for the company" can be used to explain away quite a few Caffe Mac spottings. Don't hesitate to send us yours, if you have one.

Update: Jobs has definitely been a repeat campus visitor this spring: Another reader who visited Apple's Cupertino HQ saw him at lunchtime in mid April, "walking past Caffe Mac along with Phil Schiller talking about....'important stuff.'"

[Photo of Caffé Mac via Mark Wubben/Flickr. Photo of Jobs via Getty Images]