Steve Jobs' Surprise Appearance Was the Highlight of an Otherwise Uneventful Apple Event

He may have appeared "thin and gaunt," according to the Financial Times (video), but the fact that Steve Jobs appeared at all was a celebratory moment for Apple stakeholders of all kinds who gathered yesterday at an iPod product announcement event in San Francisco. There had been speculation ahead of the event that Apple might announce some new headline products, such as a catalogue of Beatles recordings for the iPod, or even a new tablet computer, the FT noted. Instead there were upgrades of current products: new iTunes software and a new line of iPod Nano music players with video cameras. But there was Jobs, in his first public appearance since his liver transplant five months ago.

“Apple users and investors think the world of Steve Jobs and the world of Apple products, and that he was here today is a statement that he is back in charge,” Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, told The New York Times. “The wizard of Oz is back in Oz.”

The Wall Street Journal noted that investor reaction to the new products was "lukewarm" as Apple's stock lost about 1% on Nasdaq, "This happens every year," Charlie Wolf, a Needham analyst, told The Journal. "The rumor sites go crazy, the stock goes up, the event occurs and the stock goes down." But Wolf added that the stock might have fallen further if Jobs hadn't appeared.

For more from Knowledge at Wharton about Apple and its charismatic leader, see:

Job-less: Steve Jobs's Succession Plan Should Be a Top Priority for Apple

Steve Wozniak on Apple, Steve Jobs and the Value of a Good Prank

Steve Jobs' Most Recent Vision for the Future: A World without DRM

The Succession Question at Tech Firms: When's the Right Time to Go?