Apple granted 2nd solar power patent this year and 19 more

“The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 20 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“This morning’s report covers patent wins relating to icon designs, assembly methods for the iPod and the iPod’s capacitance sensing electrode based click wheel,” Purcher reports. “Yet the patent standing out amongst them all this morning relates to future solar powered portables and the power management circuitry that’ll make it all happen.”

Purcher reports, “This is Apple’s second major solar related patent win for 2011. While this technology may take another five to ten years to come to market, Apple is amongst a growing list of tech companies that are in a race to power portable devices like smartphones and notebooks with solar energy as one of their key power sources.”

Much more in the full article, including Apple’s patent application illustrations and diagrams, here.


  1. I believe that’s the reason why Apple has gone glass for front and back. I expect them to release an iPhone that will have solar to assist the battery. That would be so cool to have a solar power assisted device.

    1. You might do that once a month….but on a day to day use trickle is fine. Thats the way it is for Apple laptops. The battery designs are based on same technology so I don’t see it being any different for iPhones and iPods.

    2. paul is right – Lithium-ion batteries don’t have “memory,” so there is no reason to discharge them completely before recharging. This isn’t “recommended practice” for Lithium-ion. You are remembering procedures helpful with NiCad (Nickel-Cadmium) batteries, which do have memory.
      Read more at:
      Basically, Lithium-ion batteries have a limited number of charge cycles, but fractional charge cycles only count as part of a cycle. If the battery has a 500-cycle life, and is charged every time it hits 50%, it will die after about 1,000 of those 50% recharges.

  2. While it may not be an everyday convenience, it could come in handy when I’m out camping or on a picnic and want to surf the web while outdoors for long periods of time in the summer, it’ll give me added time. In five years, it may even translate to an extra hour or two courtesy of Mother Nature.

  3. Intel has announced a family of chips, and demonstrated their use in prototype laptops, that utilize solar power supplementation. I expect that we will see these in Apple products next fall.

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