Gizmodo reports that Apple has applied for patents concerning the use of solar panels to charge their mobile devices. Gadgets are gradually turning to using solar in order to recharge their power – we reported last week on a solar charger for £25 but very few actually come with solar panels already fitted.
The patents apparently also show that Apple intend to use the technology in a unique manner by placing the cells behind the LCD screen enabling them to continue offering the same, or similar, designs and forms to those already offered. One of the biggest hurdles faced by manufacturers is how to add a comparatively cumbersome solar panel to a mobile device.
It’s not the first time this technology has been considered – Motorola filed for similar patents 7 years ago, although nothing has come of that yet. If the technology does work and Apple is able to create devices that can be recharged using solar energy, the approach is likely to be similar to some of the more useful chargers offering the choice of standard recharging (via a docking station or USB port) for when the weather is really pants, or using solar during ideal conditions or when you’re stuck.
Solar panels do represent a challenge because they need to be prominent in their inclusion so that they are exposed to sunlight, but they can be easily damaged or broken through less than severe usage.
Next up is the mobile wind turbine – at least, we hope it isn’t a mobile bio-fuel cell.