I really thought that the next iPod would be nothing but a screen, with the controls on the screen, that would fade out after a few seconds. And maybe throw Bluetooth in for wireless syncing with iTunes and wireless headphones. That would be MY idea of a good next-gen iPod…
I think that these alternative interfaces are “cover your bases” patents for interfaces they are considering uses for iPod-cross function devices. That would be like phones and in the case of Apple seriously considering Nintendo (if it happened) gaming and such. It could likely even spill over into a next gen shuffle, but these interfaces are very clunky compared to the click-wheel, so I doubt they are replacement interfaces.
The touch-screen iPod is still the most probably next-gen iPod.
I read a rumor on digg that they are gonna be pushed back to december. thank god, because thats gonna be my first iPod and I’ve waited so patiently for an iPod PMP that if they rushed it, it would piss me off…… bad.