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Apple to release new solar-charging MacBook?

It's a patent party for Apple this week.

The Patent and Trademark Office has awarded the Cupertino-based company 31 new patents, which cover everything from solar-powered Macs to add-on camera lenses.

As noted by Patently Apple, the camera patent covers a magnetic lens that could slip over the camera on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Despite the fact that phone makers are experimenting with more powerful cameras - from the 41-megapixel Nokia Lumia 1020 to the 20.7-megapixel Sony Xperia Z1 - there is still a limit to how much camera tech a manufacturer can shove into a mobile device.

"Existing compact devices that use compact camera modules generally do not provide the types of lens mounting structures found in conventional cameras due to space constraints," Patently Apple said.

"This makes it difficult to retain an additional lens and align it correctly with a compact camera module on a compact device."

Another Apple patent, meanwhile, covers a solar-charging MacBook, which Computerworld said would incorporate a two-sided display.

Apple was awarded a patent in 2011 for solar-powered, portable devices. In October, the USPTO also published a patent application from the Cupertino firm for a power management system that uses the sun's rays to juice up a Mac or iOS device.