Solar Powered Mac, iPad, and iPhones coming in the future?

Jan 13, 2011 - 3 Comments

solar powered mac iphone ipad

Apple was recently awarded a patent for solar powered portable devices, which could pave the way for Macs, iPhones, and iPads running on a solar supplemented power source. The patent, which is Apple’s first to relate to solar powered portable devices, shows an unspecified “Portable Device” that has a standard battery which is augmented by an auxiliary power source, in this case solar power cells.

PatentlyApple says the patent “pertains to all portables from MacBooks to the iPhone” and “presents methods of adding solar power into the power mix of portables via a voltage converter”. They describe Apple’s patent and solution as follows:

Apple’s solution includes techniques for operating devices with solar power. In one aspect of the invention, apparatus for operating a portable electronic device with solar power includes, but is not limited to, a voltage converter and a controller coupled to the voltage converter. The voltage converter includes an input capable of being coupled to a solar power source and an output capable of being coupled to an electronic load, such as, for example, a portable electronic device. The voltage converter is configured to monitor or detect an amount of power drawn by the electronic load at the output of the voltage converter. In response to the monitored power drawn, the controller is configured to control the voltage converter to adjust further output power provided to the electronic load. As a result, the output voltage from the solar power source is maintained within a predetermined range.

The patent and it’s accompanying schematics were uncovered by PatentlyApple, which has a knack for digging up interesting Apple patents. You can check out their site for more technical details and additional schematics.


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Posted by: William Pearson in News, Rumor


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  1. icebreaker says:

    If they could hide it behind the black glass that would be nice. Solar power with the ugly panels in sight.

    • Michael says:

      Exactly, make the black rim a solar panel to capture additional energy when available. Without immense sunlight it’s not enough to run forever but should give a good battery life boost of 20% or more.

  2. fv says:

    I always thought the back of a laptop would be a good place to put a solar panel but I doubt they are efficient enough to draw sufficient power yet.

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