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Heirs to iPhone 5, iPad 2 To Feature Solar Panels?

Apple may be looking at putting solar panels in future iPhone handsets and iPad tablets in order to supplement the existing, traditional Lithium-ion batteries.

Nuying Huang & Jackie Chang, writing for Digitimes (opens in new tab), say that both Apple and Samsung have been "evaluating" the market for solar powered consumer products and may be looking at bringing in Taiwanese firms that deal with solar technology.

The article points out though that this market is still a niche one and may take a longer time to develop. Solar panels will need to become more efficient (which hovers at around eight per cent), less expensive to produce, become thinner and most importantly, manufacturers should be able to mass produce it.

Apple has already filed a few patents related to solar powred products and it is also possible that the forthcoming iPhone 5 may come with wireless magnetic charging.

Interestingly, the news comes as an Irish firm, Solarprint, is about to bring the first commercial printable solar panels to the market, according to Siliconrepublic (opens in new tab), using DSSC (dye sensitised solar cells).

We suspect however that Apple may develop an iPad or iPhone casing or sleeve that can power or charge the iDevice seamlessly through wireless technology.

Désiré Athow

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 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.