No matter how hard the PR execs try, Apple can’t help but court controversy when it comes to the health of its leader Steve Jobs.

Ever since it was revealed he had a successful operation for pancreatic cancer, Apple fans and investors have been very skittish about any hint that Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, founder and visionary, might have to step down due to bad health. Jobs’ recent public appearances haven’t helped as he has looked unusually thin.

So news that Jobs would not be making his now annual keynote appearance at next month’s Macworld show sent shares down nearly 7 percent on Wednesday.

Apple said it won’t be making appearances at future Macworld’s so the real short term loser in this might be Macworld organizer IDG, which has said it will soldier on. 

No one’s quite sure what Apple’s up to here. It could be cost saving, it could be they have no special new products to show off, or it really could be Jobs is feeling under the weather.