Week in review: Apple unveils...Steve Jobs

Apple CEO makes first public appearance in nearly a year, while Motorola unveils an Android-based phone and Palm thinks small with the new Pixi. Also: Facebook Lite.

Apple media events are usually notable for what was unveiled, but Wednesday's was more about who was there to do the unveiling.

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While there were no tablet computers or an updated version of the Apple TV, and not even the long-rumored Beatles-iTunes deal, Apple's CEO Steve Jobs surprised everyone by anchoring the keynote , making it his first public appearance since October 2008.

Though technically he returned to work two months ago, it was as the host of Wednesday's Apple music event that Jobs publicly retook the reins of the company he founded. Jobs was the first person to emerge on stage to open the now-annual September iPod introduction. Appearing notably thin, he received a prolonged standing ovation from the audience, much of it composed of members of the media, but also a range of guests including app developers, entertainers, and music industry types.

"I'm very happy to be here today with you all," he said. "As you may know, I had a liver transplant. So I have the liver of a mid-20s person who died in a car crash, and was generous enough to donate their organs. And I wouldn't be here without such generosity."

Apple announced the release of OS 3.1, which will be a free update to both iPhone and iPod Touch owners, as well as a new version of iTunes, which offers iPhone and iPod Touch users a way to better organize applications they have added to the device.
• iTunes 9 refines still-clunky buying experience
• New iTunes LP format is live
• iPhone 3.1 brings Genius changes, ringtones
• iPhone 3.1 firmware reversing iPhone jailbreaks
• Facebook, Twitter integration comes to iTunes

With the popular Flip Video camera squarely in its sights, Apple introduced an updated version of the iPod Nano that sports a built-in video camera and microphone located on the lower left-hand side. It also features a slightly larger 2.2-inch display, up from 2 inches. Like the Flip, the Nano is supposed to have easy video uploading right to YouTube.
• Full coverage: Apple iPod

More headlines

The Cliq: Motorola's first Android phone

For all the features it packs, the Cliq isn't so different from other smartphones. Will its Motoblur service click with the social network set?
• Minute by minute with Motorola
• iPhone users aren't the only ones to get cool apps

Palm thinks small with new Pixi smartphone

Hoping to capitalize on the popularity of its Pre smartphone, Palm unveils a smaller, cheaper smartphone called Pixi.
• Sprint offers unlimited calling to any cell phone
• D'oh! Sprint pulls $99 Palm Pre promo after error

Google planning micropayments for newspapers

Is it an olive branch for the beleaguered (and Google-bashing) publishing industry, a move to encroach upon Facebook's turf in the micropayment wars, or a bit of both?
• Recurring problems with Google Checkout

Google offers rivals a place in e-books program

The search giant offers competitors an ability to resell e-books that Google alone could get rights to. But Amazon spurns the offer.

Facebook Lite is here. Verdict: Better

New slimmed-down social site is faster, easier, stronger, cleaner. Among other things, it pushes those noisy old-school Facebook applications off a cliff.
• Facebook 'status tagging' live
• Facebook open-sources real-time FriendFeed facet

Also of note
• Microsoft issues critical Windows patches
• Comcast to offer 100 Mbps service to businesses
• Phones at Burning Man: Can you hear me now?

 

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