SAN FRANCISCO — Apple CEO Steve Jobs, appearing in public for the first time since October 2008 and following a liver transplant in March, basked in the glow of a 3-minute standing ovation Sept. 9 from media members and analysts at the launch of several new Apple product features.
Jobs, wearing his usual jeans-and-black-shirt attire, appeared thin and his voice sounded a bit weak, but he looked upbeat and energized as he introduced new features for the iPod and iTunes App Store.
“I now have the liver of a kid, in his 20s, who died in a car crash, and was generous enough to donate [his] organs,” Jobs told a full-house audience here at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts near the Moscone Center. “I wouldn’t be here if not for that generosity. I hope all of us can be that generous, and also become organ donors.”
Rumors that Apple and the Beatles’ Apple Corps publishing company had come to an agreement to enable Beatles music to be sold on iTunes, and that one or both of the remaining Beatles-Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr-might show up onstage turned out to be unfounded.
Instead, Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Norah Jones performed two numbers on the theater stage, her 2002 hit “Come Away With Me” and a new song entitled “Young Blood” that will be included on her new album “The Fall,” set for November release.
On the day — Sept. 9, or 09-09-2009 — that the Beatles’ company helped release a new version of “Guitar Hero” and a boxed set of 13 remastered albums from the group’s heyday in the 1960s, it seemed a bit of a stretch for an accompanying agreement with Apple to also come to pass.
Jobs and chief Apple marketer Phil Schiller introduced some new features for iTunes and iPods, but they were incremental improvements without earth-shaking news status.
A new iPod Nano — now available in nine colors — includes a built-in video camera, FM radio and even a voice recorder. It also features a larger (2.2-inch) color display. It is available in two versions: an 8GB model for $149 and a 16GB model for $179.
Schiller said the 8GB iPod Touch, which sold for $229, has been marked down to $199. A new 32GB iPod Touch will go for $299, and a 64GB version will be $399.
The iTunes App Store has undergone a facelift, featuring a cleaner and easier-to-use Web layout. Key changes are music listing and sorting improvements to its Genius software, improved music-sharing options, and new access to accompanying videos, artist information and lyrics.
The iTunes 9 music-sharing feature, which Apple calls “Home Sharing,” allows users to drag a song or group of songs into the storage of one to five authorized computers within a household.
Jobs said new Apple ring tones would sell for $1.29 on iTunes in the same manner as song tracks.
Rumors about the demise of the iPod Classic also turned out to be incorrect. Schiller said Apple would increase the Classic’s capacity from 120GB to 160GB but maintain the $249 price.