updated 03:30 pm EDT, Tue June 1, 2010
Would offset devices' power drain
Apple has been considering hiding solar collectors within some of its handhelds, a recent patent application suggests. Described in the document is a way of weaving solar cells into a display, thereby keeping them off of a device's outside surfaces and still allowing easy reach by light. The technology involves sandwiching the cells underneath glass and touch-sensitive layers.
While unlikely to supplant the need for a lithium-ion battery, solar power could in some cases significantly extend the life of Apple handhelds. It could also be used to charge gear passively, instead of requiring people to connect to a computer or wall socket. Battery life has been a recurring complaint with the iPhone, as even the 3GS may not last a full workday under heavy use.
[via Patently Apple]