Apple CEO Steve Jobs returned Wednesday to the showman role that has helped define his company leadership, taking the stage for the first time since his medical leave to announce such new products as an iPod nano that records video.
Jobs, who had a liver transplant this spring from a young adult who died in a car accident, got a vigorous standing ovation from many in the audience.
Looking thin and speaking quietly and with a scratchy voice, the 54-year-old CEO urged everyone to become organ donors.
"I wouldn't be here without such generosity," Jobs said.
Jobs had not appeared at such a product launch event since last October. He bowed out of his usual keynote at the year's largest Mac trade show in January and went on leave shortly thereafter for nearly six months.
At an event for journalists, bloggers and software partners, Jobs announced updates to Apple's iTunes and iPhone software and unveiled a new iPod nano with a built-in video camera.
Phil Schiller, Apple's top marketing executive, also took the stage to announce price cuts and storage boosts to existing iPod Touch models.
Few chief executives are considered as critical to their companies' success as Jobs has been to Apple's since 1997, when he returned to the company after a 12-year hiatus, and Apple's stock has soared and plunged on news and rumors of his health.
Jobs, whose medical problems began more than five years ago and included treatment for a rare form of pancreatic cancer, seemed happy to be back in the spotlight, saying, "I'm vertical, I'm back at Apple and loving every day of it."
As was expected, Apple's announcements were mainly tied to music players and the iTunes software, though Jobs spoke briefly about the iPhone and said 30 million of the devices had been sold so far.
New nano is Flip-like
Apple compared the new video-camera nano to the Flip Mino, a tiny, simple video recorder that sells for $149, just like the basic, 8-gigabyte version of the overhauled nano (The 16-GB nano costs $179).
The nano — the smallest iPod that has a screen — also has a microphone, a pedometer, a 2.2-inch display and an FM radio tuner.
It comes in rainbow colors and costs $149 for an 8 GB version or $179 for a 16 GB model.
Other changes to the iPod line include a beefier iPod classic, which now has a 160 GB hard drive for the existing $249 price.
Apple also added brightly colored iPod shuffles and a smaller, less expensive version of the shuffle — $59 for a 2 GB model. Apple also announced price cuts to existing iPod touch models — $199 for an 8 gigabyte model, or $30 less. Apple kept prices constant for its other larger models, but will double the storage space; it will now sell a 32 GB version for $299 and a 64 GB model for $399.
Meanwhile, the new version of iTunes, known as iTunes 9, gives people more control over what content gets loaded on to iPods and iPhones. It lets five computers on the same home network share — by streaming or copying — music, video and other content, a departure from the strict copy protection Apple insisted on in the past.
Jobs also said iTunes would now sell albums with photography, cover art, liner notes and other media reminiscent of the days of vinyl.
The feature, called iTunes LP, will also come with interviews and other video. Recording companies have been looking for ways to boost album sales as iTunes and other online music stores make it easier to buy songs individually
Company met 'reasonable expectations'
Michael Gartenberg, a technology analyst with the Interpret market-research firm, said Apple met "reasonable expectations" with its Wednesday announcements.
"If you were expecting an Apple jetpack or an Apple hovercraft, or even an Apple tablet, you didn't get that," Gartenberg said, referring to speculation that Apple was producing a "tablet"-style device resembling a giant iPod touch.
At the close of the event, Jobs stepped from the stage and lingered for a few moments, chatting with Apple executives and a few fans.
AP technology writer Jordan Robertson contributed to this story.
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