Apple seeks practical ways to solar charge iPhones and laptops
According to clues found in a patent application, Apple investigates new ways to enable the practical use of solar panels to power mobile devices.
Encountered in not very successful implementations, provided by lesser known companies, solar chargers for mobile devices are considered rather fancy gadgets that have no real practical use for ordinary users. This perception might change eventually with Apple, the company seemed interested in finding more efficient ways to capture the energy received from the sun.
The innovation described in Apple patent is to optimize battery charging system able to use both the AC adapter, and solar panels. The goal is to eliminate the need for external adapters conversion, inefficient, expensive and inconvenient to handle. However, future generations of devices will accept a solar panel connected by a cable similar to that used by the AC adapter. Energy received from the sun will serve to direct charging of the battery, or additional energy already supplied by AC adapter to shorten the duration.
All of this would be possible with existing known technologies and available hardware in miniaturized form well enough to be integrated with minimal effort in the future products design.