Solar power is the cleanest energy source available. The energy from the sun doesn’t need to be processed or packaged, and it’s available in essentially unlimited supply. So, it makes sense that solar-power is making its way into the mobile space.
Now, we’ve seen solar-powered handsets and portable battery chargers in the past, and Apple’s latest patent application details the firm’s consideration of the green technology. The patent application, discovered by MacRumors, outlines a method whereby the solar panel would be sandwiched between the LCD panel and the circuit board.
By placing the solar panel underneath the LCD display, the light-gathering solar cells are at once protected from damage (scratches) and help preserve a device’s form-factor. There’s no need to re-design a device to accommodate a solar-panel on, say, the rear of the handset – light is absorbed by the solar cells as it passes through the LCD display. The patent application echoes Motorola’s patent applications for solar-powered LCD displays.
The patent application doesn’t guarantee that Apple will implement the technology in future handsets or other portable electronics, but it would be great to see this solar technology make its way to future iPhones and laptops.