updated 10:09 am EDT, Tue May 20, 2014
Could allow solar charging to be built into iPhone, other devices
The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a modified version of an existing patent on integrating solar panels into mobile devices. Under the updated patent, solar cells could be inserted into multitouch or even flexible displays, simply included as another layer in the the display's surface. Apple's design might require the cells to be facing back into the device however, meaning that they would need fiber optics or parabolic mirrors to channel light to them.
Apple has yet to build solar panels into its displays, and it's uncertain if that will happen later. Even if the technology was implemented it would only help extend battery life, since Apple's devices are too often indoors, particularly when they need charging. At the same time that might be incentive enough, particularly for a device like the iWatch, intended to be worn everywhere.