Apple has filed a patent to put solar cells on portable devices, Trade the News reports (via Forbes.com).
Apple devices like the iPhone could have photovoltaic cells stacked underneath LCD touch screens, maximizing the area available for harnessing the sun and allowing users to begin to go off-the-grid.
The filing said that information regarding the performance of a device’s solar cells could be displayed either on the main screen next to info for battery power, text message alerts and time of day, or on top of the solar cells themselves.
But there could be a problem. As Infoworld reports, Motorola received a patent of its own last year for “displays such as [LCDs], organic light-emitting diode displays, and touch sensitive displays are stacked with one or more solar cells.”
Apple’s announcement also follows Better Energy Systems’ Solio Mg, which has three blades that fan out to reveal solar panels that 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 and an iPod an hour of playing time.