- Apple - technology - USA
AFP - Apple co-founder Steve Jobs returned to the spotlight Wednesday for the first time since having a liver transplant, overshadowing the unveiling of an iPod with a built-in video camera and several new iTunes features.
Jobs, who resumed work part-time in June after nearly six months of medical leave, received a standing ovation from a packed auditorium as he took the stage in his first public appearance in nearly a year.
His dramatic return to center stage kicked off a music-themed product event that disappointed some industry observers who speculated Apple would announce that the songs of The Beatles would finally be available on iTunes.
The 54-year-old Apple chief executive, the visionary behind the Macintosh computer, the iPod and the iPhone, appeared gaunt but not dramatically more so than during his last public appearance in October 2008.
The notoriously private Jobs, who was wearing his trademark long-sleeved black shirt, jeans and sneakers, referred to his illness right off the bat.
"I'm vertical," he said. "I'm back at Apple, loving every day of it.
"I'm very happy to be here today with you all," he said. "About five months ago I had a liver transplant. So I now have the liver of a mid-20s person who died in a car crash and was generous enough to donate their organs.
"I hope all of us can be as generous and elect to be organ donors," said Jobs, who underwent an operation for pancreatic cancer five years ago.
Jobs also addressed his health in a rare interview following his on-stage performance, telling The New York Times he feels "great."
"I probably need to gain about 30 pounds, but I feel really good," he said. "I’m eating like crazy. A lot of ice cream."
Apple did not announce prior to the event at a San Francisco theater that Jobs would attend, and Silicon Valley technology blogs had been buzzing for days with rumors over whether or not he would show up.
Jobs's appearance was the highlight of the event, during which Apple unveiled updates to iTunes, its online music store, the availability of 30,000 ringtones for sale for the iPhone, and a video camera-equipped iPod.
Jobs said the iPod Nano, Apple's best-selling music player with over 100 million units sold, would now include a video camera, an FM radio, a pedometer and a microphone and speaker.
"You can watch your video on the Nano or sync it back to your computer," he said. "With one click you can send it to YouTube. Pretty amazing to always have a video camera of that quality in your pocket, built right into your Nano."
Jobs said there would be two models -- an eight-gigabyte version for 149 dollars and a 16GB model for 179 dollars.
He said the updated iTunes store would feature iTunes LPs with liner notes, photos and other background information -- just like record albums of the past.
"Some of us are old enough here that we actually bought LPs," he joked to a crowd made up predominantly of people under 35. "It was great. You not only got great music, but you got great photography and great liner notes."
Jobs said Apple would be introducing ringtones for sale through the iPhone store at 1.29 dollars each.
Apple also announced it was cutting the prices on various iPod models, with the price of an 8GB iPod Touch, for example, dropping to 199 dollars from 249 dollars.
The event closed with a live performance by Grammy Award-winning singer Norah Jones.
But in a sign of who really was the star of the show, Jones got some of her biggest applause when Jobs kissed her on the cheek after she performed two songs.
Apple shares closed 1.04 percent lower at 171.14 dollars on Wall Street on Wednesday.