Apple shows off latest gadget

San Francisco might not be the biggest apple in the nation, but it has certainly become the launching pad of choice for the company that’s named after the fruit.

Cupertino-based Apple Inc. and CEO Steve Jobs staged another rock star-esque product releases in San Francisco on Tuesday, unveiling the new iPod Nano before eager tech executives and journalists. Along with the product launch was a surprise performance by iTunes top-seller Jack Johnson.

It was the fourth consecutive year that the multinational company chose The City to hold its pre-holiday products launch. The City’s proximity to company headquarters and glut of tech-savvy consumers are partly why Apple chooses San Francisco to introduce its new products to the global marketplace, according to company spokesman Anuj Nayar.

“We’re always looking to host events in San Francisco,” he said.

Jim Lazarus, senior vice president with The City’s Chamber of Commerce, said having such launches does a lot to boost local retail business.

“It’s certainly going to bring people downtown,” he said.

And that comes as relief to retailers who have grown wary of recent predictions of a downturn in upcoming holiday sales. The City’s latest economic report warns the retail sector might be “cooling after several years of rapid growth.” The report points to a “significantly lower” number of cars parking at garages around Union Square compared with last year without a commensurate increase in transit ridership.

But Lazarus said it won’t be so bad in The City, and suburbs are more susceptible to the economic slowing.

“Foreign visitorship to The City is way up, and with the devalued dollar all you have to do is go into these stores and see that there are more European languages being spoken than the English language,” he said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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