There have been a million blogs speculating about the upcoming iPod. The general consensus is that it will have a large touch screen with a virtual scroll wheel, with some sort of “extra” patent pending something-or-other about the scroll wheel (which I would assume has something to do with the fact that you can actually feel the current scroll wheels and that an on-screen one provides no tactile feedback.)
Touch-Screen Video iPod Claimed in Development
True Video iPod to Sport 3.5-inch Display, Touch-Screen Click Wheel
New iPod: 3.5-inch Touchscreen?
Video iPod Revealed! (Maybe)
On “True” Video iPods
What I have not seen is anyone connecting the new video iPod with the recent “gestures” based patent. Everyone seems to think the gestures related to some sort of tablet PC. But really, what is an iPod with a touchscreen as big as its entire face? It’s a handheld tablet PC. When working with music, I can see the onscreen click wheel and/or headphone remote control as being the best way to control the device. It is going to be in your pocket or clipped to your belt. You could be jogging and jostling it around. Gesture-based control would suck in those instances. But what about watching a movie or reading text? The screen is typically going to be still — either on your desk at school/work, or in your hand while sitting on the subway. In that instance, gesture controls are not going to be falsely triggered by accidental movement and could be quite useful. After all, the current PowerBooks have the right sensors for gesture controls–used internally to spin down the hard drive in the event of a drop, but people use them for gaming. As I understand it, recent iPods have similar sensors for similar reasons.