Touchscreen Ipod on the way?

Posted by Mark Raby

Cupertino (CA) - According to a patent applications filed by Apple, it appears that the company may be working on a new version of its market share leading Ipod music player that will incorporate touch-sensitive controls. Specifically, the patent is for an "electronic device having a display and a surrounding touch sensitive bezel for user interface and control."

US patent number 20060238517 is an Apple patent that looks somewhat familiar to that of another touch-screen application, patent application number 20060242114, which is more geared towards the possibility of an Apple brand tablet computer.

This newer patent application, on the other hand, seems more geared towards an Ipod application. In describing the touch-screen controls, the patent claims, "In most cases, the user interface is positioned on the front face (or front surface) of the hand-held device for easy viewing of the display and easy manipulation of the input devices."

While the patent doesn't specifically say the application is targeted for use in a media player, it does include various potential diagrams of portable devices that could use the technology, and buried in there is a portable media player.

According to the patent, controls would be handled outside of the main display, as opposed to a point-and-click, stylus-based application. "For example, the user controls of the bezel can be configured so that one side of the bezel controls brightness with a touch and drag motion by the user, while the other side of the bezel controls contrast with a touch and drag motion by the user. Thus, using both of these sides of the bezel, the user can simultaneously adjust both the contrast and the brightness of the display using touch and drag motions on the sides of the bezel," it says in the patent.