Apple iPod updates expected, Jobs show uncertain

SAN FRANCISCO Thu Sep 3, 2009 6:26pm EDT

Apple Inc CEO Steve Jobs speaks as colorful redesigned iPod Nano are displayed at Apple's ''Let's Rock'' media event in San Francisco, California September 9, 2008. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Apple Inc CEO Steve Jobs speaks as colorful redesigned iPod Nano are displayed at Apple's ''Let's Rock'' media event in San Francisco, California September 9, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc's media extravaganza next week is being greeted with unusual calm, as it is uncertain if charismatic CEO Steve Jobs will appear and investors have nothing much to bet on apart from new iPods with cameras.

Apple's stock has often swung wildly and rumors have swirled about game-changing products ahead of such events, but this time the stock has held steady in the two weeks leading up to the September 9 event.

Few expect any surprises, but the potential is always there, given the host's track record.

Apple has traditionally held a September gathering where master showman Jobs showed off new iPods for the holiday season and trumpeted new content for iTunes.

Revamped iPods are again on tap this year. But much of the focus has been on whether Jobs will make his first public appearance since taking medical leave in January, and what new partners or services Apple may bring into its booming online store.

Rumors also continue to rumble that the Beatles catalog may finally be coming to iTunes, but such speculation is not new and many are doubtful.

Some analysts think Jobs is unlikely to show up, as other members of Apple's management team have become more visible in his absence.

"It would be great if he (Jobs) does appear, but I'm not expecting it," said Kaufman Bros analyst Shaw Wu. "Most investors have moved beyond that."

"It shouldn't have a material impact on the stock if he doesn't," he said, noting that it could edge higher.

Apple's stock, which is up more than 90 percent so far this year, has been relatively tame this week as expectations have been subdued. But analysts don't foresee a bold new product announcement at the event, such as the long-rumored tablet device, that would immediately boost the stock.

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