iPhones in the air, MacBooks on laps, a buzz of excitement - it could only be an Apple press event. More specifically, it?s an auditorium in a swish London venue with a live video link to San Francisco, where Steve Jobs is expected to make his first public appearance in months.

Jobs’ big comeback

A Spanish journalist in front of me – on a Dell laptop – is asked to move to the back because her power supply lead stretching across the aisle is a fire hazard. She grumbles a bit, to which the Apple steward quips: “It wouldn’t be a problem if you had a MacBook Pro – it has a battery life of five hours.”

Soon, the excited chatter of anticipation turns to hushed reverence as the lights are dimmed. The audience applauds loudly when Steve Jobs appears, looking thin but well in his trademark black polo neck and jeans.

"As some of you may know, about five months ago I had a liver transplant," he tells the crowd, "So I have the liver of a mid-20s person who died in a car crash and was generous enough to donate their organs. I wouldn’t be here without such generosity."

After making an emotional plea for more people to become donors, Jobs gets down to business and announces the release of the new iPhone OS 3.1, which now has a LastFM-style recommendation feature for applications. iTunes has also been revamped to include Genius mixes (“It’s like a great DJ or a great radio station,” says Jobs) and iTunes LP (a cross between an album sleeve and DVD extras).

Next, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, Phil Schiller, gives a presentation about the iPod Touch (“The funnest iPod ever”), which is followed by demos of new games released on the App Store, including Madden NFL 10 and the psychedelic-looking Riddim Ribbon.

But the big announcement, we are told by Jobs, is that Apple has made a video camera. Cue lots of applause. He then reveals that it’s acutally a new version of the iPod Nano with an inbuilt camcorder. While it is amazing that they’ve made a camera that small, it’s a bit of a let down, considering there were rumours an Apple tablet was about to be unveiled.

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s stock dropped almost two per cent after yesterday’s event. So, while the public might love Steve Jobs, investors are less confident in Apple’s Christmas lineup.

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