Forget wireless charging, the MacBook of the future could be solar powered — if Apple’s patented technology comes to market. The Cupertino, Calif.-based design company filed a patent for a two-sided laptop display casing with photovoltaic cells for solar charging.
The patent details a few intriguing possibilities for the laptop’s lid, including a futuristic transparent housing for the display that allows light to pass through it to illuminate the Apple logo. Another possibility includes a “two-sided display,” in which one screen would be located on the inside of the lid like a standard laptop and the other would face outward.
The last theory details the use of photovoltaic cells embedded within the top of the notebook that are capable of obtaining energy from external light sources. This laptop lid would also feature touch sensors for input commands, which could allow the user to control media playback or wake the laptop from sleep mode without having to open it.
The patent was published just as rumors of a solar-powered iPhone have begun to circulate the Web. Analyst Matt Margolis at Seeking Alpha wrote that Apple is likely to outfit the next generation iPhone and iPod Touch with a sapphire glass display that includes tiny solar panels. This would be part of an effort to improve the iPhone’s overall battery life, according to Margolis. Apple also holds a patent for a solar-powered iPhone that was made public nearly one year ago in February 2013.
The newly published Mac patent was originally filed in 2010, so it’s possible that this tech won’t come to market. However, it’s still an indication that Apple is at least considering the idea of integrating solar charging into its products.