Here’s the thing. Apple’s been here before. Jobs missed most of 2009, and when he returned, it was a while before he got back to full time. The product cycle continued. Existing products were improved. New products were released. Future products progressed in development. Was it the same without him? No, of course not. Did the company function just fine? Yes.
Best wishes to a true visionary.
I am hopeful that he makes a full recovery. Apple is in the strongest position on so many fronts (music, mobile, high-margin PCs). There is no better time to leave, but I wouldn’t want that. He has a few more years in him I think. Steve Jobs has really pushed my industry, User Experience, I am thankful that he has such great taste.
Should the worse happen, Apple will be fine for the next 2-years. The product development cycle is about 18-months; after that, we’ll see the true test of Apple as a company, culture, and icon.