updated 10:25 am EDT, Mon May 26, 2008
Apple interested in solar?
Apple may be seeking to use solar cells to power future devices, a newly-published patent application suggests. Solar power may offer a means of greatly extending the battery life of Apple devices, including both MacBooks and handhelds like the iPod and iPhone; the difficulty, according to MacRumors, is that portables often have limited space to fit solar panels, and if they do have space the panels may be fragile, and occupy room that could be used for other functions.
Apple's proposed solution involves inserting solar cells into the display, beneath the protective glass and the LCD. Aside from conserving surface space, this would require virtually no exterior design changes, which Apple typically avoids unless it intends to make a major shift in aesthetics.
A Motorola patent from 2001 is said to describe a similar technology, but several limitations may have been addressed in Apple's implementation.