Apple has announced that 2009's keynote at the Macworld event in San Francisco will be its last and that shock of shocks, CEO Steve Jobs, won't be giving the final keynote.

The news, which will see Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, delivering the opening keynote for this year’s Macworld Conference and Expo, will no doubt send shock waves through the industry as to why Steve Jobs isn't doing the presenting.

In a double blow to the consumer electronics tradeshow industry Apple claims that the need for tradeshows isn't as major as it once was:

"Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers", the Cupertino based company brags.

"The increasing popularity of Apple’s retail stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways".

Apple says that the move, forms part of a larger scaling back of attendance at global trade shows with Apple instead preferring to host its own "Town Hall" events.

However the lack of Steve Jobs with his trademark uniform of black turtleneck, blue jeans and white trainers is no doubt likely to once again raise concerns about his health and the direction of the company without him possibly calling the shots.