Rumors of a new touchscreen Apple iPod have been around for years: The big issue as to the viability of this as a real product were fingerprints smearing the touchscreen. As hrmpf.com noted:
Apple has previous described new iPod designs (in patent applications) which
incorporate a touch sensitive surface into the display. There seems a scepticism
on the web about designs becoming reality due to the problems of screen smudging
Mercury News writes that the company had "previously explored replacing the click wheel with a virtual one as part of a touch-sensitive display. But now Apple appears to be looking at a third option: a touch-sensitive frame surrounding the display. Rather than click a physical button or press a virtual one on the screen, users would touch an area on the frame to operate their iPod."
Here are the details:
"This application has designs for a new iPod/Tablet/Phone (or dare I say it,
Newton-like device) which put the touch sensitive areas into the bezel
surrounding the iPod’s screen (as well as on the screen and sides of the device). The user interface seems particularly
well conceived and relies on on-screen indicators of the control surface’s
function. In addition to buttons the surfaces can act as scroll surfaces. The
interface works by the user selecting a control to change (in the picture below-
position in the song, volume, balance) and then, using the bottom surface to
scroll, adjusting the element in real time (Fig. 19).
And the various patent drawing are below:
Cody Willard directs us to this Apple Insider piece giving much more fdetails on the Patent App . . .
Apple describes new interface for iPod
hrmpf on October 26th, 2006
iPod’s click wheel: Has it been framed?
PATENT FILING SHOWS NEW NAVIGATION METHOD
Apple’s touch-sensitive iPod ambitions disclosed in filing
AppleInsider, Thursday, October 26, 2006 10:00 AM EST