Whenever you see the rumoured next-generation video iPod mentioned, the expected features always include a huge screen covering the front of the device and a “virtual”, touch-screen-based click wheel.
I may be missing something here, but what exactly would be the point of that? The reason the iPod has a scroll wheel is to make scrolling easier on a device that doesn’t allow more direct manipulation of screen content. If you had a touch screen, the grounds for having a scroll wheel would disappear, and you could just use a scroll bar, right? A scroll bar would allow scrolling directly to any point in a list and would involve less (and less awkward) physical movement.
Also, if you had such a nonsensical, virtual scroll wheel, you’d be waving your thumb around over the contents of the screen all the time, which doesn’t sound like a clever idea. Of course, you could dedicate a section of the screen for this wheel, but wouldn’t you rather use that space to make the list taller?
So I think either the creative minds behind the rumour sites didn’t think this one through properly, or the creative minds at Apple are making some rather silly decisions. Let’s hope it’s the former.