Apple's New iPod: Touch Bezel, Not Touchscreen?

Let’s make it three Apple rumors in a row. The single most iconic part of the iPod, apart from its original white color scheme, is of course the clickwheel. The juxtaposition of the circular clickwheel below the squarish screen adds attractive dimensions to the simple device and is without a doubt partially responsible for the iPod’s success.

But it would appear as if Apple is about to do away with the now-five-year-old input device. A recent patent filing from Apple demonstrates a very iPod-like media player with a large screen that takes up the vast majority of the front of the device, with several LG Chocolate-like touch-sensitive areas around the border. Could this be the “iPod HD” we’ve been hearing about?

The assumption has been that Apple would go with a touchscreen for the next-gen iPod since the signature clickwheel would be an obstacle for a full-screen player. Makes sense. But this patent shows that Apple might be eschewing the idea completely, as touch-sensitive casing is much cheaper than touchscreen technology. In addition, when coupled with its recent patent for proximity-activated controls, we’ve got an entirely new iPod indeed.

Apple describes new interface for iPod [Hrmph!, via MacRumors]