Solar iPhone?

jpm

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Aug 5, 2007
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#1
Sounds interesting.

http://www.forbes.com/2008/05/26/ap...ity-cx_mlm_0526markets14.html?partner=yahoofp


Apple's Solar Strategy
Miriam Marcus, 05.26.08, 6:00 PM ET

It's possible that Apple's future just got sunnier.
Employees at computer, phone and software company Apple (nasdaq: AAPL - news - people ) have filed a patent to place solar cells on portable devices, Trade the News reported Monday.
Outfitted with such technology, Apple’s devices, like the iPhone, could have photovoltaic cells stacked underneath LCD touch screens, thus maximizing the area available for harnessing the sun.
The filing said that information regarding the performance of a device’s solar cells could be displayed on the main screen next to info for battery power, text message alerts and time of day. Or this information could also appear on top of the solar cells themselves, which are likely to display some version of the Apple logo.
In any case, Apple's new technology could herald the next generation of wireless mobility. Without the need to electrically charge devices--either via outlets or USB cables--users could at last start to break free from on-the-grid power connections.
Apple is certainly not the one in this field field. Mobile product manufacturers have looked at solar energy for some time, as consumers demand more battery power from portable devices.
One related product is the 6.4-ounce Solio Mg, $200, from Better Energy Systems. Its three magnesium blades fan out to reveal solar panels, which can store enough power to charge most phones and PDAs twice; an hour of clear sun will give most cell phones 25 minutes of talk time or an iPod an hour of playing time. It takes ten hours of direct sun to fully juice the device. (See Off The Grid But In The Game)
Also, the world’s first solar bag--the Voltaic Systems’ Generator laptop bag--is covered in solar cells and can charge a laptop. It generates up to 14.7 watts after a day of direct sunlight, can carry a 17-inch Apple Powerbook and comes with adapters that allow other electronics, such as cell phones, to be charged. (See Gadgets That Make Business Travel A Snap)
 

Quake97

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Jul 10, 2007
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Philly Burbs
#2
That is pretty cool, but it doesn't seem worthwhile to me. The cost to put something like that on/in a phone would outweigh its use. I'm rarely outside often enough to get enough power to charge anything, let alone a phone that's almost always in my pocket. I guess I could always put it on a window sill, but then there's the problem of heat. I would rather see a portable unit that I can charge up and then plug into my phone when necessary.

Joe
 

bsharp

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Jun 21, 2007
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Atlanta, GA
#3
The author is double-dipping.

That's not uncommon, but he also published a piece at Forbes. Here are some quotes:

"Apple's iPhone To Soak Up The Sun
Miriam Marcus, 05.27.08, 4:00 PM ET
Apple Computer

Apple may capture the sun’s energy to power its iconic iPhone.

Solar energy is far from a new idea, but Apple (nasdaq: AAPL - news - people ) may be taking the technology to new limits. Many questions have been raised about the possibility–or probability–of Apple using solar energy to power portable devices such as its popular iPhones. It recently became known that employees at the computer, phone and software company have filed a patent to place solar cells on portable devices. (See " Apple’s Solar Strategy")

It’s not exactly a new technology. Rudimentary findings of the potential to harness the sun’s powerful rays for conversion into electricity were first reported in the mid-1800s. The “photovoltaic effect” was discovered by then 19-year-old French physicist Edmund Becquerel in 1839.

Video: 3G iPhone Countdown

Pocket calculators and wristwatches that operate on solar energy have been on the market for many years. In 1957, two Pennsylvania engineers marketed a solar powered radio that was smaller than today’s iPod. The technology has come a long way since then and Apple may be the next to capitalize on it.

The biggest differences in those technologies and the patent for which Apple filed is the amount of power consumed by the product, said Michael Filler, a Caltech postdoctoral scholar specializing in photovoltaics..."
 

bsharp

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Jun 21, 2007
351
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Atlanta, GA
#4
That is pretty cool, but it doesn't seem worthwhile to me. The cost to put something like that on/in a phone would outweigh its use. I'm rarely outside often enough to get enough power to charge anything, let alone a phone that's almost always in my pocket. I guess I could always put it on a window sill, but then there's the problem of heat. I would rather see a portable unit that I can charge up and then plug into my phone when necessary.

Joe
Don't it make you wonder if Apple ever patents ideas just to throw off the competition. I'm not sure what a patent license costs, but this could throw Samsung, Motorola, Sprint, Verizon, etc. into a R&D panic.
 

dturner

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Gold
Dec 15, 2007
5,725
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Louisville, Ky.
#5
I can see the day when this can happen, but we are probably still a few years away.