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Steve Jobs had a statement for media and analysts at the beginning of yesterday’s launch of new iPod models and iTunes software in San Francisco: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

The line ­ emblazoned on the giant screen behind him as Jobs began his presentation ­ came from Mark Twain. But the message was re-delivered by Steve Jobs with a wry grin: he was commenting on the widespread reports questioning his health after his appearance at Apple’s June developer conference, when his appearance was widely described as “gaunt”.

Jobs was treated for a pancreatic cancer earlier this year. He declined to discuss his health in a TV interview after the presentation, other than to say he believed speculation had been spread by hedge managers who had
shorted Apple stock ­ and stood to gain if it went down.

Most reports yesterday suggested Jobs looked energetic and fit enough, if still a little thin. The Apple boss acknowledged he could do with putting on 10-15 pounds.

Jobs showed off a new iPod Nano, a new iPod Classic, and a new version of iTunes, all in time for Christmas ­ with both iPods a little slimmer than their predecessors. The new Nano sports a curved-aluminum case and bigger screen. As expected, Apple also cut the starting price on its iPod Touch, which is similar in design to the company’s iPhone. In the US it will fall from US$299 to $229.

Apple shares on Tuesday fell $6.24, or four percent, to $151.68 on the Nasdaq stock market.

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