June 20, 2009 — -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs underwent surgery for a liver transplant two months ago in Tennessee, according to a report today in the Wall Street Journal.
Jobs, 54, has been on medical leave from his post as Apple's chief executive since the beginning of the year, forced by what was only described at the time as a nutritional problem related to a hormone imbalance.
According to today's report, Jobs is "recovering well" and is expected to return to work "on schedule later this month."
Apple spokespeople would not confirm that the surgery had taken place. "Steve continues to look forward to returning to Apple at the end of June and there is nothing further to say," said Apple's Steve Dowling in an e-mail to ABC News.
The Journal, which says it has no specifics on precisely where or when Jobs had the transplant, notes that the waiting time for donated livers is substantially shorter in Tennessee than it is elsewhere. The wait time is shorter in Tennessee because fewer people come to the three hospitals in the state that do transplants. There is no residency requirement to be a recipient.
People in Tennessee wait 48 days, on average, compared to 306 nationally, according to 2006 figures from the United Network for Organ Sharing.
Word of Jobs' improvement coincides with Apple's release of a third-generation iPhone, the iPhone 3GS.
According to the company, the "S" stands for Speed -- the new phone will load a Web page three times faster than its predecessors.
It can also shoot video, Apple said. It's a feature critics have said was sorely missing from existing models.
The 3GS can take voice commands, has a more powerful battery and a starting price of $199 for a version with 16 gigabytes of memory.
The existing iPhone 3G will remain on the market, with a reduced price of $99, Apple said.
Steve Jobs' Comeback Trail
Described as "a strict vegetarian, very much into Eastern mysticism," Jobs is said by two sources to have turned to alternative medicine to treat his health problems. "He believes anything can be treated naturally," one of the sources said, asking not to be named.
There was a treatment that came from an extract made with pork; the source said Jobs finally decided to use it.
Jobs has been private about medical matters, including a rare form of pancreatic cancer that was successfully treated with surgery in 2004. Members of Apple's board of directors, sources said, persuaded him that his health was "a fiduciary issue," interwoven with the health of the company, and that he needed to keep them up to date.
Doctors who spoke to the Journal, but had not treated Jobs, said it was not uncommon for Jobs' form of pancreatic cancer to spread to the liver.
Jobs was listed last year as 189th on the Forbes list of the world's billionaires, with a net worth of about $5.7 billion. After selling Pixar animation studios to The Walt Disney Company in 2006, he became a Disney board member and the company's largest shareholder. Disney is the parent company of ABCNews.com.
Analysts said Apple has done fine in Jobs' absence, partly because he has been available for big decisions, partly because he has delegated day-to-day decisions for about five years.
Tim Cook, the company's chief operating officer, has been the hands-on manager during Jobs' leave.
Apple Inc., stock, which dropped to $78.20 per share in January after Jobs announced he was going on leave, closed on Friday just shy of $140 per share.