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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Cate Bacon

Aruba Instant On AP11D

The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.

Dr Prabigya Shiwakoti

Aruba Instant On AP11D

Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?