The Apple CEO showed off a minor refresh to the iPod Touch and an added video camera to the company's popular Nano.
Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, who underwent a liver transplant five months ago, made his first public appearance Wednesday, taking the spotlight in an event to introduce the company's new iPod lineup.
Thin but appearing healthy, Jobs came on stage to a standing ovation by many of the reporters, analysts, and Apple employees gathered in San Francisco to hear the company's latest product announcements, the biggest of which was a new iPod Nano with a built-in video camera.
However, Jobs stole the show. His appearance ended weeks of speculation as to whether the tech icon and Apple co-founder would continue his role as star pitchman for the consumer electronics company.
Wearing his usual black turtleneck and jeans, Jobs played emcee to the event, letting other company executives demonstrate the new products. Before launching the event, Jobs thanked the organ donor who saved his life.
"I now have the liver of a mid-20s person who died in a car crash and was generous enough to donate his organs," Jobs said in encouraging others to become organ donors.
Jobs also thanked Apple chief operating officer Timothy Cook and the rest of the executive team that ran the company in his absence. "They really rose to the occasion and ran the company very ably in that difficult time."
Nevertheless, Jobs said he was happy to return to work. "I'm vertical and back at Apple, loving every day of it."
Jobs gave no indication whether he would continue to lead Apple's major news events in the future. However, he is expected to be fully involved in product development. The CEO underwent a liver transplant while on medical leave in the first half of the year. No reason was given for the surgery, however, industry observers believe it's related to complications that arose several years after his 2004 surgery for pancreatic cancer.
Product announcements at the event were far less than the speculation that had been swirling around the Web for many weeks.
Many industry observers had expected Apple to add a built-in video camera and microphone to the iPod Touch, which would have taken the pocket computer and media player closer to Apple's iPhone in features, but without the cellular connection. Instead, Apple chose only a minor refresh to the Touch and added the camera to the company's popular Nano. Apple has sold 100 million Nanos since introducing the device in September 2005.
In unveiling the new Nano, Jobs compared it to the Flip, a popular portable video camera from Pure Digital Technologies, which Cisco acquired this year for $590 million in stock. In a nod to the success of the Flip among casual video takers, Jobs said, "This market is really exploding and we want to get in on this."
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