Image by Shapeshift
Well, according to the site MacRumors, Apple have apparently filed a patent application to investigate the use of solar cells in their mobile devices, including the iphone and portable computers.
The technology behind this all is quite interesting. It goes back to a 2001 patent that Motorola filed, exploring the use of photovoltaic cells behind the LED screen of the device, much like a calculator. If Apple pulled this off successfully, there would be no design modifications at all. It would be an instant success. But the question we have to ask ourselves is, could they actually pull it off? After all, Motorola tried and failed.
MacRumors’ claim that if Apple were to be successful, iPods and MacBooks could run without any mains charge is “wildly optimistic,” say PC pro. They did an experiment where they charged a MacBook all day long with 104 x 54cm solar panel, but the computer was only powered for two hours. Unless Apple have really got their shit together, their solar cells would only be able to power an iphone or ipod for a few minutes.
Apart from the limitations of the solar cell technology, another pressure is emerging: phones are constantly having new features added to them. Whether it’s GPS, more RAM, higher megapixel cameras and so on, Apple’s engineers have a mammoth task ahead of them.
If Apple can pull this one off soon, then I will be seriously impressed. I wouldn’t expect anything in the near future though and I’m placing this firmly in the rumors box.
We’ll even throw in a free album.