Future iPhones Will Be Solar-Powered

May 27 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Energy   Year: 2008   Rating: 8 Hot

I’m already big on the future of the iPhone, particularly its potential for underdeveloped regions like the African continent, so Apple’s latest patent filing for a solar-powered iPhone only serves to further my belief that the device will not only go big, but also spread very broadly.

According to Mac Rumours who first discovered the patent application:

The most interesting technique described by Apple … 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. ... If successfully implemented, Apple’s iPhone, iPod and laptops, could require no outward changes in design to add solar power.

As the price of both iPhone components and photovoltaic (PV) cells comes down steadily, this will add to the appeal of the increasingly coveted device, especially in resource-strapped areas as rising oil prices gradually push up the cost of manufacturing, transportation and electricity.

Adding solar cells beneath LCD screens is such an elegant no-brainer that it’s difficult to imagine a period in the near future when all mobile phones/computers aren’t forced to integrate solar. The main plausible alternative I can see is the prevalence of small plug-in PV power stations (either based at home, mounted on the car or worn) that can directly or indirectly charge mobile devices. But even then, just knowing that your device can charge autonomously still seems quite desirable.

In what year will a solar-powered iPhone hit the market?

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Comment Thread (2 Responses)

  1. I’m not buying it, the radio on a phone takes an awful lot of power and so does the screen, and the computer way more. I think we’ll see a supplemental power option which can run maybe just the music player or a special green-edition which can be solar charged at 1hr per 10 mins talk time.

    Posted by: Andriod   May 27, 2008
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  2. another interesting patent to watch, the display area could get crowded, being display area, solar, and high high res camera, all in one.

    See Integrated sensing display

    Patent Abstract An integrated sensing display is disclosed. The sensing display includes display elements integrated with image sensing elements. As a result, the integrated sensing device can not only output images (e.g., as a display) but also input images (e.g., as a camera).

    http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220060007222%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20060007222&RS=DN/20060007222

    Posted by: tristanh   May 27, 2008
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