Apple has filed a patent for embedding solar cells into the touchscreens of handheld devices, suggesting the company may be working toward developing a solar-powered iPhone or iPad.
Expert Apple-watching site PatentlyApple reports that the patent application is believed to have been filed in September 2008, and refers to solar cell stacks being integrated with multi-touch screen sensors.
The patent also refers to the use of “light channels” to direct light from a solar cell to the touch screen evenly, using the principle of a parabolic reflector.
This technology could find its way into Apple's multi-touch devices, the iPad and iPhone.
The interesting feature of this patent is that such technology could be used to create a double-sided solar panel, absorbing solar energy through both the front and back of the device.
The recent “stolen” iPhone incorporated a glass panel back, said to be perfect for the solar cell technology.
Experts do not expect the technology to be readily available in the near future.