Apple Inc Chief Executive Steve Jobs bounced back into the public spotlight for the first time in over half a year on Wednesday, triggering a standing ovation and helping the company's shares gain nearly 1 percent.

The 54-year-old executive, looking thin but energetic in his trademark black turtleneck and jeans, took the stage and thanked everyone in the Apple community for their heartfelt support during his lengthy absence.

It was Jobs' first appearance at a public event since he returned to work in June following six months of medical leave, during which the charismatic corporate showman underwent a liver transplant.

The executive started off by announcing a new version of Apple's popular online media store, iTunes, and updated software for the iPhone.

Jobs is later expected to unveil a new line of iPods with digital cameras ahead of the crucial holiday season. But few were expecting game-changing product announcements.

Analysts had expected an appearance by Jobs to give Apple's stock a boost. The shares rose in the afternoon to $174.47, their highest since August 28, 2008. But they quickly retreated to $173.65, about 0.4 percent higher.

While he was gone, Apple innovated and the product pipeline is set for the next three years, said Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek. He is clearly a genius. It's great to have him back. It's great for the industry, but I don't think he's back full-time and I don't think he's going to come back full-time.

The big issue is we are going to see an iPod update with cameras. How do we find new uses for this device?

(Additional reporting by Clare Baldwin; writing by Edwin Chan; editing by Maureen Bavdek and Andre Grenon)