Apple future-proofing Macbooks with solar panels and dual-displays

File this one under interesting concepts, as Apple seems to be looking at adding solar panels to its Macbook line.

Apple has received a patent on a version of its Macbook laptops that are not only solar-powered but also feature dual display. According to this design, the inside screen would function as a regular display, but the outside cover would feature a secondary display. This secondary screen would be interlaced with a solar panel capable of powering the device, and it would also be used as touch-screen for tablet-like functions. The concept definitely sounds familiar for anyone that’s been looking at what Windows OEMs have been trying to do with hybrid devices.

Unfortunately this tech is far from being market ready. First up, dual displays have yet to catch on mainly due to ergonomic design issues and increased battery usage; and secondly, while we love the idea of having potentially infinite battery life on our devices, the solar tech is simply not there yet. Sure, some solar farms have pretty good efficiency ratios but that’s only because of large scale deployment and secondary technologies – such as reusing heat from the solar panels. This is simply not yet feasible on such a small scale.

Despite the fact that it’s very unlikely we’ll see such a device hit the market in the short term, we’re glad when companies are thinking ahead and try to be ready for when technology finally catches up with our imagination.

Source and Image: USPTO via: AppleInsider

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I thought Apple had no interest in merging tablet and notebook/PC like quirky/confused Microsoft?

Bet the touch enabled Mac Book is on the way, and when it gets here Apple will be the "first to have done it".

Well this patent doesn't exactly include a tablet on the outside - the touchscreen would supposedly be used for limited functions such as volume and playback controls, unlocking the device, etc. So it's not exactly iOS on there.

bilemke said,
I thought Apple had no interest in merging tablet and notebook/PC like quirky/confused Microsoft?

Bet the touch enabled Mac Book is on the way, and when it gets here Apple will be the "first to have done it".

The first to have done it right...

Given the available surface area and current solar panel efficiency, can you even realistically run a laptop on those? And wouldn't you need roughly an entire day's worth of uninterrupted sunlight to recharge the average laptop battery? Phone comparisons aren't exactly apples to oranges either.

Come on, somebody bring some numbers.

_dandy_ said,
Given the available surface area and current solar panel efficiency, can you even realistically run a laptop on those? And wouldn't you need roughly an entire day's worth of uninterrupted sunlight to recharge the average laptop battery? Phone comparisons aren't exactly apples to oranges either.

Come on, somebody bring some numbers.

I have a coleman portable solar panel for camping, and I've only used it like, twice. It's a little bigger than an ultrabook, and opens up to reveal 2 solar panels. In direct sunlight, it will charge USB type devices ok, but frankly, a $10 rechargeable battery stick works better, takes up a lot less space, and well, works at night.

Solar panels are relatively fragile, and I don't think I'd want one on the exterior of a laptop. Another potential problem -- the most intelligent (only?) place to put a panel would be on the top of a closed notebook, but then it could only charge while the top is closed. Also, it would be a pretty small panel.

Apple fanboys don't want touchscreen Macbooks. They all said touchscreens, and touch OS:s don't belong on a laptop. And that they don't wont finger smudges on their screens.
Where are all these comments now?
They where everywhere when Windows 8 and touchscreen ultrabooks launched, and also again when Google pixel was released.

I think you are refering to Windows SideShow, it was dropped with the latest release of Windows. Smart phones have replaced most of the functionality anway.

bjorndori said,
I think you are refering to Windows SideShow, it was dropped with the latest release of Windows. Smart phones have replaced most of the functionality anway.

Yeah that was it.
Sounds similar

Why is a tech site using the term "future-proof" in a headline on an article?

Is Neowin turning into QVC or what?

What's next, the computer that never crashes no matter what idiotic actions the user makes?

Wakers said,

What's next, the computer that never crashes no matter what idiotic actions the user makes?

That's called an Etch-a-sketch. "Shake to reboot" :-)

Wakers said,
Funny you should say that, because Asus have exactly the same thing minus the solar panels, already announced.

And again... it is not the same thing... but whatever makes you happy...

That was the first thing that I thought of. Once again Apple acts like they came up with the next best thing to sliced bread.

paesan said,
That was the first thing that I thought of. Once again Apple acts like they came up with the next best thing to sliced bread.

No they didn't.. they filed a patent for something.

paesan said,
That was the first thing that I thought of. Once again Apple acts like they came up with the next best thing to sliced bread.

BANDWAGON APPLE HATER ALERT!

paesan said,
That was the first thing that I thought of. Once again Apple acts like they came up with the next best thing to sliced bread.

puff puff pass

I have no problem admitting I do not own any Apple products and never intend to. JMHO. @uplift, yes I do hate Apple.

paesan said,
I have no problem admitting I do not own any Apple products and never intend to. JMHO. @uplift, yes I do hate Apple.

That is very, very, sad ... going through life with all this hatred

Yes they do...

Panorama + Folders = Android
Notification Bar = Maemo
The name "Apple" = The Beatles
Mouse GUI = Xerox
Reject calls with SMS = Symbian
iMaps = Google Maps (Opps)
Fingerprint scanning (Cracked) = PCs (Safe)
Multitasking = webOS
Copy/paste = WinMobile
Ping = Facebook, Twitter
iPad = Samsung´s Photoframe
iPad Mini = Dell Streak
iPod = Creative Technology and Walkman
‘iPhone' name = Linksys' iPhone®
Original iPhone = Samsung's S700 Mp3 Player
iPhone 4 & 4S = LG's Prada
Pinch to zoom = Samsung
iMessage = BlackBerry Messenger
iCloud = Dropbox + Skydrive
iOS 7 = Windows Phone.
Smartphone Optical Stabilization = Nokia
Siri (Clippy) = Xiaoi Bot + Nuance
App Store = Ubuntu Software Center
Multitouch Smartphone = Bought another company
Bigger Screen = Everybody else
MacBook Air = HP's Sojourn
Macsafe = Asian Crockery
Thunderbolt = Intel
OSX, iOS = Unix
Newton = Psion Series 3, HP 95LX
Apple Logo = Genesis 1:6, 3:6
Aluminum = Cheapest Metal
Plastic = ($$$ Reinforced Polymers)
Security = Buy a new one...

A court 10 miles from Apple HQ.
A Judge that was a former Apple Lawyer.
A Jury Forman sued into bankruptcy by a partially owned Samsung Company.

paesan said,
I do not own any Apple products and never intend to. [...] I do hate Apple.

That's what I figured.

VHMP01 said,
Panorama + Folders = Android
Notification Bar = Maemo
The name "Apple" = The Beatles
Mouse GUI = Xerox
Reject calls with SMS = Symbian
iMaps = Google Maps (Opps)
Fingerprint scanning (Cracked) = PCs (Safe)
Multitasking = webOS
Copy/paste = WinMobile
Ping = Facebook, Twitter
iPad = Samsung´s Photoframe
iPad Mini = Dell Streak
iPod = Creative Technology and Walkman
‘iPhone' name = Linksys' iPhone®
Original iPhone = Samsung's S700 Mp3 Player
iPhone 4 & 4S = LG's Prada
Pinch to zoom = Samsung
iMessage = BlackBerry Messenger
iCloud = Dropbox + Skydrive
iOS 7 = Windows Phone.
Smartphone Optical Stabilization = Nokia
Siri (Clippy) = Xiaoi Bot + Nuance
App Store = Ubuntu Software Center
Multitouch Smartphone = Bought another company
Bigger Screen = Everybody else
MacBook Air = HP's Sojourn
Macsafe = Asian Crockery
Thunderbolt = Intel
OSX, iOS = Unix
Newton = Psion Series 3, HP 95LX
Apple Logo = Genesis 1:6, 3:6
Aluminum = Cheapest Metal
Plastic = ($$$ Reinforced Polymers)
Security = Buy a new one...

Very funny.

VHMP01 said,
Yes they do...

Panorama + Folders = Android
Notification Bar = Maemo
The name "Apple" = The Beatles
Mouse GUI = Xerox
Reject calls with SMS = Symbian
iMaps = Google Maps (Opps)
Fingerprint scanning (Cracked) = PCs (Safe)
Multitasking = webOS
Copy/paste = WinMobile
Ping = Facebook, Twitter
iPad = Samsung´s Photoframe
iPad Mini = Dell Streak
iPod = Creative Technology and Walkman
‘iPhone' name = Linksys' iPhone®
Original iPhone = Samsung's S700 Mp3 Player
iPhone 4 & 4S = LG's Prada
Pinch to zoom = Samsung
iMessage = BlackBerry Messenger
iCloud = Dropbox + Skydrive
iOS 7 = Windows Phone.
Smartphone Optical Stabilization = Nokia
Siri (Clippy) = Xiaoi Bot + Nuance
App Store = Ubuntu Software Center
Multitouch Smartphone = Bought another company
Bigger Screen = Everybody else
MacBook Air = HP's Sojourn
Macsafe = Asian Crockery
Thunderbolt = Intel
OSX, iOS = Unix
Newton = Psion Series 3, HP 95LX
Apple Logo = Genesis 1:6, 3:6
Aluminum = Cheapest Metal
Plastic = ($$$ Reinforced Polymers)
Security = Buy a new one...

A court 10 miles from Apple HQ.
A Judge that was a former Apple Lawyer.
A Jury Forman sued into bankruptcy by a partially owned Samsung Company.

Really? How old are you? Go and do some research.

WhatTheSchmidt said,
I found that if I want to keep reading this site, to be a part of the community, you need to get into line and be one of the many.

Yeah, one must really feel like an outcast to be part of the oppressed 90% that don't (want to) use a Mac. A real maverick who's not willing to join the unrelenting herd of sheep.

CSheep said,

Yeah, one must really feel like an outcast to be part of the oppressed 90% that don't (want to) use a Mac. A real maverick who's not willing to join the unrelenting herd of sheep.

It just irritates me that people have to make such a big deal of it. Use whatever platform you like - be enthusiastic about it even if you like. The fanboys just stop dictating to other people what they should and should not like!

Chicane-UK said,
It just irritates me that people have to make such a big deal of it. Use whatever platform you like - be enthusiastic about it even if you like. The fanboys just stop dictating to other people what they should and should not like!

Absolutely.

Don't know much about solar or the energy it provides but i'm guessing if the regular battery reserve runs low, it can be switched to solar panel and run in a low powered state? at least until it can be re-charged again? If so, sounds great!

That's assuming the solar panel can replenish the battery fast enough. Solar power might buy you some extra time but I doubt it can replenish it fast enough to have to never plug it in.