An Apple patent has been unearthed that could revamp the scrollwheel for the next generation of iPod offerings.

The once iconic scrollwheel design is seen to have taken a back seat to Apple's new touch pad user interfaces, but the new patent would give the design a more modern twist with light providing visual feedback to the user.

Published on 24th January by the US Patent & Trademark Office, Apple's patent application is titled "Illuminated touch pad".

The patent describes differing ways in which light could be used in the interface, from changing intensity with the speed at which the wheel is moved to having different segments of the wheel lit up depending on where the user touches.

As well as iPod applications, the concept could be used for the touch pads of Apple's laptop products.

As with most patent applications, only time will tell if this becomes an actual innovation or is just a random idea from the depths of Apple's Cupertino HQ.