Apple to host media event; new iPod expected

Steve Jobs might make first appearance since medical leave

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple said Monday that it will host a media event next week, when the company is widely expected to unveil an updated line of iPod media players.

Apple declined to say what products would be featured at the Sept. 9 event, which was announced in an invitation e-mailed to members of the media.

The invitation featured an iPod and the tagline: "It's only rock and roll, but we like it."

In recent years, the company has used splashy media events in September to showcase new and refreshed iPod models for the holiday period.

Apple launched the iPod touch model in 2007 and the iPod nano in 2005. This time around, analysts expect the nano and touch to be updated with digital cameras, and they say the touch may also get a video camera.

Apple dominates the media player category, though growth has slowed considerably as the market has matured. The company sold 10.2 million iPods in the June quarter, down 7% from a year ago.

The company is also expected to unveil the ninth generation of its iTunes media management software.

Apple product launches are some of the most high-profile events on the technology calendar, and expectations around the gathering next week are running particularly high as it could feature the first public appearance by CEO Steve Jobs since he returned from medical leave.

The company declined to say whether Jobs would appear at the event. Jobs returned in late June after a nearly six-month leave, during which he underwent a liver transplant.

Many Apple watchers are also eagerly awaiting the company's launch of its much-rumored, but never confirmed, tablet device. But analysts say the so-called "iPad" won't be unveiled until later this year or next.

The eventon Sept. 9 will be held in San Francisco at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater.

Shares of Cupertino, California-based Apple fell 1.4% at $167.64 on Nasdaq at midafternoon.