Larger-screen video iPod on the way?

Apple Computer is touch-screen happy.

Around seven patents recently have been filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on behalf of Apple for touch-sensitive screens. In particular, U.S. Patent Application No. 20060053387 from March 9, 2006 is for "operation of a computer with touch screen interface." Patent No. 20060007222 filed on Jan. 12, 2006 is for an "integrated sensing display."

The touch-screen technology should have applications with the iPod. But how? Rumblings on sites such as Think Secret speculate on a new video iPod with a larger screen that could be released in April, in sync with . Some expect to see two versions of the next video iPod: one that leverages the existing 60GB hard drive, and a slimmer, solid-state version that leverages one or two 8GB to 12GB compact flash cards.

Could the touch screens be a key to Apple's own Origami, an iTablet of sorts? Let's hope it's a lot better than that. Pictures from recent patent applications imply that a tablet would be integrated with iTunes for playing MP3s and video. The standard iPod click wheel would be replaced with a virtual on-screen click wheel. A new iTablet could be a top seller because of Apple's knack for turning coolness into a commodity.

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