Apple Looks to Add Solar Power Patented Technology to its Devices

By Joseph Mandour on November 6, 2013

California Intellectual PropertyOrange County – On Halloween, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) published Apple’s newest patent for a solar panel implementation to help with power management in its iPads, iPhones and Macbooks.  The application, entitled “Power Management Systems for Accepting Adapter and Solar Power in Electronic Devices,” was filed in August of last year with three Apple employees listed as inventors.

The Cupertino-based tech manufacturer’s most recently published filing reveals the company’s plans to help alleviate one of its most commonly cited consumer complaints: weak battery life.  This application comes on the heels of seven patents having to do with solar power that have already been granted to Apple.  Given this increasing number of solar-related Apple patents, it seems clear that solar technology seems to be Apple’s response to extended battery life.  Indeed, the company has already sought protection over technology that lights up Macbook screens using solar energy to save on battery power.

The new patent filing, which is perhaps the most detailed in its explanation of how the solar technology might be implemented in Apple products, describes how a portable solar panel accessory could connect to Apple devices using a connector.  The new accessory would eliminate the need to plug the solar device into a main power source and would not require use of a power converter.  Instead users could simply plug their iPhone or computer into the solar charging device through a port on the device and charge up.

If implemented, this new portable solar technology would be a huge development for those who seek an on-the-go power supply.  Current iPhone 5s talk time battery life is estimated to be up to 10 hours on 3G service.  However, combined with internet use, audio/video playback  and data usage, this number can quickly begin to dwindle.  For people who are constantly on the go, a portable solar charger may be the perfect solution.

Given the ever-intense game of keep-up between Apple and Samsung, it is somewhat surprising that no recent Samsung patents have come to light regarding solar power technology.  It might only be a matter of time before this happens, however, as Samsung earlier this year hired one of the very inventors named in Apple’s solar technology patent.

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Posted in: Patent Registration