Apple Developing Portable Solar Charges For iOS Devices

Sun

Unofficial iDevice chargers have taken the form of everything from the hand crank to to the camp stove, and now it seems that Apple is getting in on the act too by taking out a patent for portable solar panel chargers. The patent application — filed with the US Patents & Trademark Office — details a power management system incorporating a solar panel accessory, compatible with both Macs and iDevices, and potentially attached by way of a USB connection. By turning solar energy into electricity, this could then be used to charge future iPhones or MacBooks without the need for a mains power charger.

It is no secret that Apple has been experimenting with solar power as of late: an eco-friendly example of what Tim Cook refers to as Apple’s mission statement to represent a “force for good” in the world. The company has already received seven solar power patents, and in July this year teamed up with Nevada’s largest power utility company to build a solar farm in Reno to power its data center as well as the surrounding community. A whopping 70% of the power for Apple’s new “spaceship” headquarters is also due to be provided by photovoltaics and fuel cells.

Since Apple has announced its desires to go completely green, by powering all of its data centers with 100% renewable energy, it only stands to reason that this same technology would eventually find its way into Apple’s consumer products.

Of course, Apple’s not alone in this ambition. Samsung is hot on the company’s heels, having recruited Kisun Lee — Apple’s former Senior DC/DC Power Design Engineer and the solar power system’s principle architect — over the past year.

You might say that competition between the two companies is heating up more than ever. (No? Just us then.)

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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