- 10 Sep 08, 09:37 GMT
That Apple guy Steve Jobs has a sense of humour and it was on display on a giant screen at the company's product launch for the new iPod and iTouch here in San Francisco.
The last time he stepped out in public a few months ago at the Apple Developers Forum he looked gaunt. That prompted a lot of speculation about whether or not he was seriously ill with a recurring bout of cancer. It especially got the money mavens worried because Mr Jobs is seen as such an integral part of the company.
Well at the 'Let's Rock' event, he opened his pitch to journalists and analysts with the message "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."
While he still looked skinny in his trademark jeans and black turtle neck, he was full of smiles and pumped up.
With that matter out of the way he said "Let's get onto the real topic of the day and talk about music".
And that's just what he proceeded to do for around an hour as he introduced the new generation iPods and iTouch to great fanfare from the audience.
Now forgive me for being cynical, but I did at one point wonder if they were a paid crowd because journalists never cheer and clap and I have never considered the analyst brigade to be the whooping and hollering kind. So just who was it making all that noise everytime Steve introduced the new features in the products or pulled out another figure about users and downloads?
While Mr Jobs described one product as 'the funnest iPod ever' his old mucker and fellow co-founder Steve Wozniak was not as razzed. He told me realistically Apple can't set the heather on fire everytime it comes out with something new.
"Some of our introductions are weaker than others and well we didn't really expect an awful lot," he said. However, he did point out that he wasn't disappointed with what came out.
"I was happy with things like longer battery life and thinness and I love the new iTunes and the genius bar. I had other ideas even beyond how they can improve it in the future but then all engineers do that."
Woz, who doesn't agree with looking for freebies, said he will be ordering his new iPod online. But first there was lunch to attend to with his wife and he told me "Tuesday is pea soup day at Marie Callendars".
And he would probably have had plenty to talk about over lunch besides the new Apple products because we were all treated to an impromptu gig by the singer Jack Johnson.
Mr Jobs told us he was the number one selling male in iTunes history and had sold over 16million albums worldwide. The soft rock balladeer wandered on stage and sang a couple of his well known hits while also noting that the virtually all male rows of men immediately in front of him was not his usual audience.
"I'm used to seeing a line of 20-something girls right there," he joked...or lamented!
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