updated 12:05 pm EDT, Thu March 25, 2010
Designs would 'harness' sunlight
Apple has been experimenting with the idea of using the sun or other light sources to illuminate notebook displays, a patent application reveals. Submitted in September 2008 but published just this week, a filing explains various means by which external light could be used to amplify an LCD's output, including more mundane options such as a light bulb accessory. The solar option would involve a rear-mounted "light harness," reflecting light into the back of a screen.
While potentially cumbersome, the technology would make notebook screens easier to view outdoors. A harness could operate in tandem with internal LED lighting, or be removed entirely if the back of a notebook was positioned to directly face a light source. Rays would pass through a permanent or removable translucent surface, most likely hardened to prevent an LCD from breaking.
Aside from improving outdoor computing, Apple also notes that a light harness would improve battery life. The concept is credited to a Peter H. Mahowald.