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Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs has returned to his showman role, taking the stage Wednesday at a product launch event for the first time since his nearly six-month-long medical leave.
Jobs, who had a liver transplant this spring, got a standing ovation. Looking thin and speaking quietly and with a scratchy voice, he told the audience he had received the liver of a young adult who died in a car accident.
He urged everyone to become organ donors.
"I wouldn't be here without such generosity," Jobs said.
The CEO outlined a new version of Apple's iTunes software and announced a minor update to the iPhone software before ceding the stage to Jeff Robbin, who demonstrated the new iTunes 9 features. Jobs then introduced Apple's top marketing executive, Phil Schiller, who talked about games for the iPod Touch and iPhone.
Jobs had not appeared at such an 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.
Jobs disclosed in August 2004 that he had been diagnosed with — and cured of — a rare form of pancreatic cancer called an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor. Last year, he appeared increasingly thin, sparking speculation that his cancer had returned, though Apple attributed his weight loss then to a common bug.
On Jan. 5, 2009, Jobs said he had a treatable hormone imbalance and that he would continue to run the company. He went on leave the following week, saying his medical problems were "more complex" than he had thought. Apple's chief operating officer, Tim Cook, took over daily duties. Jobs returned to work this summer.
The new iTunes announced Wednesday cleans up the design, gives people more control over what content gets synched to iPods and iPhones and introduces a way to organize applications purchased for the iPhone and iPod Touch from the iTunes store.
It also lets five computers on the same home network share — by streaming or copying — music, video and other content.
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.
Shares in Apple rose 69 cents to $173.62 in early afternoon trading Wednesday.
This program aired on September 9, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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