Solar LCD Powered iPods, iPhones and Laptops?

A recently published patent application discovered by MacRumors reveals that Apple is investigating the use of solar power in versions of their mobile devices -- both handheld devices and portable computers. Integrating solar power into a mobile device holds the enormous potential of extending battery life significantly. However, successfully integrating solar panels into these small devices is not without its challenges.

The major issues described are the limited area available to solar panels, durability, and the "wasting" of space on a portable device. It is due to these problems that solar power has not found its way into mobile devices, not just from Apple, but from all manufacturers.

The most interesting technique described by Apple, however, is the integration of the solar panels behind the actual LCD screen of a portable device. The solar panel would absorb ambient light that passes through the LCD screen of the device. This could eliminate any additional footprint typically required by the solar panels. If successfully implemented, Apple's iPhone, iPod and laptops, could require no outward changes in design to add solar power.

View: Mac Rumors Article

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That is a problem with the broken patent system, I am afraid. And everyone must play the game. If you don't then you get sued like crazy by the vultures out there that do play the game.

It is a neat idea, not currently done in consumer media devices (music players, phones, etc.), but I agree: evolutionary not revolutionary. (It will still make them stand out in the market, since it really isn't currently done by anyone)

On instruction booklet - "Caution: Do not place product in direct sunlight"

Tech support - "Please place it in direct sunlight to charge your device."

Oh the dilemma....

That's it, leave all your expensive electronic gadgets in sunlight, then they will need replacing even more often. How big will the surface area need to be? Only so much sunlight energy can be gathered from a given area!

What happened to the kinetic charger, where you put the device in your shoe (or knee pocket) and just went for a walk. At least this idea would have re-cycled the lard people store in their body tissue, to generate power. :P

Someone's running out of ideas, more "Global warming... buy more stuff..." nonsense! :nuts:

It might seem like a dream but if you look at the majority of technologies these days and look back 5-10 years then they would have seemed like a dream too.