“Sometimes Apple seems to just patent things for the heck of it. But its latest invention — a ‘touchless’ touchscreen for its iconic iPod music player — could be headed to market in short order. In its recent blockbuster earnings call, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer hinted at new iPods coming soon. And last month, Terry Gou, the chairman of Hon Hai, a major contract manufacturer for Apple, blabbed about a ‘none-touch’ iPod on its way in the second half of the year,” Owen Thomas blogs for Business 2.0 and Fortune.

“Apple’s new patent shows a tablet-style iPod with a virtual scrollwheel that’s activated by the mere proximity of a finger — so you can manipulate the player without actually smudging the screen by touching it. If the patented device is the same as Gou’s ‘none-touch’ iPod, this idea could become reality in your pocket in a matter of months,” Thomas writes.

Full blog here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Judge Bork” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
More info surfaces regarding Apple’s latest iPod touch-screen patent filing – July 21, 2006
Hon Hai Chairman: Apple about to unveil next-gen iPod using a ‘none-touch’ concept – June 15, 2006