Apple products overshadowed by Jobs’ return

Steve Jobs’ return to the public eye on Wednesday stole some of the attention from Apple’s products announcements which, if not earth-shattering, weren’t exactly chopped liver either.

The company unveiled new, cheaper iPod touches and affordable iPod nanos with video cameras. It also showed off the latest version of the iTunes software with new bells and whistles likely to cheer music lovers, including iTunes LP, which offers additional content such as liner notes, making a downloaded album a bit more like its vinyl predecessor.

Analysts liked the new nano most of all, although some wondered why the touch didn’t also receive a camera, as had been rumored.

Gartner analyst Van Baker said “it was nice safe choices for Apple, iterative improvements in the product line. I think the nano is going to do extremely well in the holiday.”

He said the nano could emerge as something of a threat to the Flip, the wildly popular mini camcorder.

Beatles tie-in with Apple event? How about the Stones?

Apple confirmed what the technology world has been expecting for weeks: a September 9 media extravaganza. The company has been holding September events for years to refresh its iPod line and unveil new models ahead of the holiday season.

And while new iPods are also expected to be on tap this year, Apple threw in a little curveball to get the company’s fans and followers talking.

Sept. 9 is also the launch day for “The Beatles: Rock Band” video games, as well as the date that EMI will release the digitally remastered versions of their original song catalog. Given that supposed coincidence, some were speculating that a deal to finally bring the Beatles’ songs to iTunes was brewing. The Beatles may be the most famous rock band ever, but they have not yet made their songs available on Apple’s hugely popular online store.