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Apple Could Be Looking For The Sun To Power Portable Devices

In the recent years, Apple has come up with some genuinely useful and practical ideas like the click wheel control and its Magsafe magnetic connector; now a patent application has shown that the Cupertino-based firm is looking to add solar panels to its portable devices.

The patent, unearthed by MacRumors (opens in new tab), shows that iPods, iTouch and iPhones could supplement their battery life with solar energy captured through solar panels embedded in their LCD screens.

The fact that screens are getting bigger - the iTouch has a 3.5-inch LCD screen - combined with the ever-growing demand for more juice - think of GPS, multi-megapixel cameras and other such features, seem to have convinced Apple engineers that the sun could do the job.

LCD technology though might not be the best candidate for panels integration because of the way it reflects light to boost brightness; OLED is deemed the better of the two and Apple's push into greener technologies could encourage other manufacturers to follow suit.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.