After Hours

Images: Apple fans dream up next iPod

With each major Apple Computer event, we see more mock-ups of potential products created by fans being posted to blogs and message boards. And the company's "special event," to be held Tuesday in San Francisco, is no different.

Rumors of major movie deals and invitations to the event announcing that it's "showtime" have visions of wide-screen iPods dancing in analsyts' heads. And judging by the hundreds of fantasy mock-ups posted online, consumers are thinking along the same lines.

A contest held by, a blog that covers all things iPod, invited fans to submit their own concepts for the newest generation of the Apple music cum multimedia player. The most prevalent feature in fans' designs was a touch screen. Incorporating a touch screen into the iPod would allow the screen to take over most, if not all, of the iPod's body, allowing for a much larger viewing area.

Using a touch screen, while new to the iPod line, wouldn't be a complete shock. An Apple patent for a "virtual keyboard" was published earlier this year. The patent covers a new way of "activating virtual keys of a touch-screen virtual keyboard."

This design, submitted to iLounge by Orson, shows a touch screen that takes up the entire face of the iPod. In Menu mode, it's essentially the same as a current video iPod. But it can be turned on its side for a larger, widescreen view.

By Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the ...