Future Apple devices may be solar powered

Employees at Apple have filed a patent for integrating solar cells into portable devices by placing them underneath the layers of a touch-sensitive display

Employees at Apple have filed a patent for integrating solar cells into portable devices by placing them underneath the layers of a touch-sensitive display, according to the filing.

Solar power could help make devices truly portable, freeing from the need for wires to connect them to a power supply.

When generating electricity from solar panels, the larger the panel the better -- but as the patent "Solar cells on portable devices" warns, after allowing space for buttons, screens and a way to hold the device, only a small area is left on most devices for solar cells.

One of the ways around that suggested in the patent is to stack a touch-sensitive layer, a display and solar panel on top of one another. That could make Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch good candidates for such a power supply, as the display occupies almost the entire face of those devices.

The use of solar powered charging in portable devices is starting to get more attention, for more immediate consumer use as well.

When Vodafone announced its plan in April to reduce its emissions of the greenhouse gase CO2 by 50 percent by 2020, it also announced plans for solar-powered phone chargers and universal phone chargers for Vodafone-branded handsets.

At the recent ITU Telecom Africa 2008 conference, Ugandan Minister for Communications and Information and Communication Technologies Ham-Mukasa Mulira talked about trials of solar-powered charging conducted there, which had showed promise.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?