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The End of the iPod Clickwheel 158

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the if-it-ain't-broke-fix-it dept.
Rockgod quotes a Mercury News article saying "If a recent patent filing is any indication, Apple Computer may abandon the iconic wheel that has become virtually synonymous with its popular iPod music players. 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."
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The End of the iPod Clickwheel

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  • if it ain't broke... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by chaos421 (531619) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @10:22AM (#16631720) Homepage Journal
    i hate to say it... but apple may be cutting their own throats here if this change goes through. you know the old saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." however as the current masters of electronic aesthetic design, i'm sure they have many many intelligent people working on this.
  • by Wingsy (761354) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @10:35AM (#16631786)
    "If a recent patent filing is any indication..." Well, it isn't an indication of any such thing. Apple patents stuff alla time and some things make it and some don't. Just because you see Apple filing a patent doesn't mean they will do anything with it. More likely in this case it is to prevent others from marketing the idea.
  • by Garabito (720521) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @10:55AM (#16631912)
    you know the old saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

    Apple is known for not following that rule. For instance, when the iPod nano was introduced, it replaced the iPod mini, which was doing very well on the market. Hardly any other company would have done that because of the conservative "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mindset of the corporate world.

  • Yes. That. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by HaDAk (913691) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @10:59AM (#16631932)
    When you are holding an iPod, you have a thumb on the front, and four fingers on the side. If you turn the iPod on it's side - it becomes a 16x9 screen that takes up the entire surface real estate. If the iPod is held sideways as such, you would hold it with a thumb on the bottom, a finger on the top, and three fingers dangling behind. The thought I'm having is simply this: relocate the clickwheel from the front....to the back, where your middle finger would be able to control it; and thereby giving you the maximum potential screen real estate for video viewing. After all, they're not just trying to sell iPods, they're trying to sell their iTMS as well - and undoubtedly trying to push their movies.
  • by Megane (129182) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @12:01PM (#16632394) Homepage

    How are you going to hold the damn thing when every spot along the edge does something?

    Just because they patented something doesn't mean they're going to use it. It may turn out to have inherent problems which make it unusable.

  • by tdemark (512406) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @12:23PM (#16632566) Homepage
    *A non-physical-clickwheel would be harder to use blindly, as in a pocket.

    Not necessarily.

    Consider a large-screen iPod where the whole screen is a click wheel - when you press up, down, left, or right, the whole screen pivots the way the wheel currently does now.

    Additionally, build in "gesture" recognition so the unit can determine when you are drawing a circle and interpret the motion, regardless whether or not your finger is rotating around an absolute origin or within some artificial radial boundary.

    - Tony
  • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mabhatter654 (561290) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @01:08PM (#16632912)
    the goal is probably to reduce front side real estate taken up by that big round click wheel. If they want to have the "real" video iPod landscape mode with the full front face as viewable area, then they have to ditch the clickwheel. Also, they can't make a new Video iPod much bigger because it would break the huge base of dock connector accessories they've built up. It needs to be a screen with no visible buttons on it, but touch screen is too much hassle... see the corner they're getting into. Zune tries to have a bigger screen and circle-like buttons and it just looks lopsided and goofy. A true video iPod would be for viewing, meaning that you'd have to be holding it with two hands to watch it.. so where would your hands be? Would they be willing to sacrifice the "iPod" experience so far for something new? I would see this as an addition to the line, not an iPod replacement.

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