Correction to This Article
The article incorrectly said that a new iPhone will have 64 gigabytes of storage space and will cost $399. It is a new iPod Touch that will have that capacity and price.

Jobs Himself Is Biggest Rollout at Apple Show

Apple CEO Steve Jobs talks about the new iPod Nano at an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Apple CEO Steve Jobs talks about the new iPod Nano at an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma) (Paul Sakuma - AP)
By Mike Musgrove
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 10, 2009

Apple showed off new iPods, new music software and an updated iPhone on Wednesday. But little of that seemed to draw as much attention as the man in the black mock turtleneck who took the stage in San Francisco to introduce the offerings.

"I'm vertical," proclaimed chief executive Steve Jobs as he made his first public appearance since returning to the company from a six-month medical leave. "I'm back at Apple, and I'm loving every day of it."

Jobs looked every bit as thin as he did in the months leading up to January's announcement that he would be taking time off to focus on his health. While on medical leave, the executive had a liver transplant. Jobs used the start of his presentation to thank his organ donor, a 20-year-old who died in a car crash.

Over the previous several months, some tech pundits wondered whether Apple would stumble while its charismatic leader was away and the company was led by its chief operating officer, Timothy D. Cook. During Cook's time at the helm, however, Apple successfully rolled out a new version of the iPhone, and the company's share prices have grown steadily, from $85.75 at the end of 2008 to more than $171 on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, many found it reassuring to see Jobs back, prowling the stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

"Given his condition, he looks as healthy as he could be," said analyst Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies, a Silicon Valley research firm

Beyond Jobs's reappearance, Apple saved perhaps its biggest announcement for one of its smallest devices: The tiny Nano music player, priced at $149 and $179, will now come with a built-in video camera, a pedometer and an FM radio tuner. Apple also introduced a new version of the iPod Touch with twice as much storage capacity as its predecessors. The new, 64-gigabyte version will cost $399.

Apple also enhanced its iTunes music software. A popular feature called Genius, designed to help music lovers discover new songs based on what they have in their collections, will now steer users to software applications they might want to load on their machines. The company made the new version of the software available Wednesday as a download from its Web site.

Other Apple executives also appeared in order to talk up the iPhone's successes, particularly as a mobile video game device. Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, cited figures from the research firm ComScore: Sony's mobile game device, the PlayStation Portable, has 607 titles available, while the Nintendo DS has 3,680. By comparison, Apple's App Store, which sells downloadable software for the iPhone and iPod Touch, features 21,178 game and entertainment titles, he said.

In the hours leading up to Wednesday's announcements, the price of the iPod Touch with the largest storage capacity was cut from $399 to $279. On the lower end of the product spectrum, the smaller iPod Nano's price dropped from $149 to $129.

As the event drew near, the blogosphere was abuzz with rumors that Apple would introduce a tablet-shaped touch-screen computer or that the day would mark the long-anticipated arrival of the Beatles' music on iTunes. Both proved incorrect.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company