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Santa Steve dishes free iPhones, next-gen iPod and Mac hints

Addressing employees in Cupertino on Thursday, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs spoke confidently about his firm's ongoing product strategy and later vowed to equip all full-time staffers with a complimentary iPhone for their service and dedication.

ArsTechnica, which compiled a thorough report from the 11:00 a.m. company-wide meeting, notes that Jobs "discussed the gravity of the iPhone on Apple's business as well as how he perceives the parts played by the rest of the company."

The Apple co-founder reportedly described the handset's impending launch as an effort "to put the third leg onto a chair with only two legs" — the first two legs being the company's Mac and iPod businesses.

Jobs added that some of the Mac systems coming out over the next year will be "off the charts." He similarly hinted that the company was working on next-generation iPods that, like iPhone, would run an embedded version of the Mac OS X operating system.

In closing out his speech, which took place at the Apple Town Hall on the company's Cupertino campus, Jobs delighted those in attendance by announcing that all full-time Apple employees would be given a free 8GB iPhone by the end of July — around the time Apple expects initial demand for the handset to subsided.