Jezper Söderlund, a music producer in Gothenburg, Sweden, was thrilled to receive a one-word e-mail message earlier this month.
The word was “no.”
The sender of the e-mail message was perhaps the most famous businessman in the world, Steven P. Jobs, chief executive of Apple.
Söderlund had written to Jobs asking if he would be able to link his iPhone’s data service to the forthcoming iPad. Jobs wrote back within 30 minutes, which made Söderlund’s day — and then echoed around the world, after he forwarded the exchange to a blog devoted to Apple news.
“When I woke up the next day, it was all over the Web,” Söderlund said. “Every Mac Web site had picked it up, and the biggest newspaper in town wrote about it. We had more visits to my Website in 12 hours than we had all year. It was crazy.”
Apple is a notoriously secretive company. Its few public statements are dissected by its knowledgeable fans with the vigour of forensic experts. But Jobs sometimes takes a more intimate approach to information-sharing — and when his e-mail messages pop up on the computer screens of random fans and critics, they can inspire ecstasy and awe.
“Oh my God, I am never cleaning my in-box again,” Devir Kahan says in an eight-minute YouTube video he made last month after hearing from the Apple CEO.
Kahan, who is 14 and lives in the New York City area, had complained about a problem with an Apple keyboard. “Software fix coming soon,” Jobs’s reply said. “Sorry for the bug.”
While Jobs was known to occasionally answer e-mail messages sent to his widely published address before he went on medical leave last year, he now appears to have not only resumed the practice, but picked up the pace. Apple blogs are counting a dozen such messages in the last few weeks — and those are only the ones that were publicly shared.
Jobs did not respond to an inquiry about his e-mail habits that was sent to him directly, and Apple would not comment. But every indication is that the messages are being sent by Jobs himself, and they are resonating throughout the universe of Apple fans to an almost absurd degree.