Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Apple Imagines You Charging Your iPhone, iPad or MacBook Directly From a Solar Panel

Business
Apple Imagines You Charging Your iPhone, iPad or MacBook Directly From a Solar Panel

Recent moves by Apple Inc. show the company might be on the verge of offering customers a way to charge their iPhones, iPad, MacBooks and other devices by plugging in directly to solar panels.

Apple filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) Oct. 31, Power Management Systems for Accepting Adapter and Solar Power in Electronic Devices. The filing describes a system that would enable the company's most popular devices to accept energy directly from a solar panel using existing components instead of relying a converter.

The power management system would include a system microcontroller (SMC) and a charger. The solar-to-voltage conversion would take place internally. Power could be received from a photovoltaic solar panel or a power adapter that converts alternating current (AC) mains electricity into direct current (DC) and/or a voltage that is compatible with the device's battery, according to the filing.

Graphic credit: Apple/U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

"During operation, the power management system accepts power from at least one of a power adapter and a solar panel," according to the patent, written by a trio of Apple engineers. "Next, the power management system supplies the power to components in the electronic device without using a converter circuit between the solar panel and the power management system."

Apple's technology would require users to have access to portable solar panels, which can be designed to look like small mats, devices about the same size as an iPhone or an even a suction cup. Most of these products sell for $100 or more.

"The key to this patent is that the system described is both composed of readily available power management techniques achievable with existing hardware, and; able to be built using componentry that takes up very little space, making it theoretically possible to integrate it into existing device designs without much modification," surmised Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch. "Both of those indicate that Apple could build this into products sooner, rather than later, should it choose to go that route."

Apple has been filing for solar-related patents since at least 2006. According to AppleInsider, the company also previously explored covering iPod or iPhone with solar cells.

Visit EcoWatch’s PRODUCTS page for more related news on this topic.

The western edge of the Greenland ice sheet in West Greenland as seen from the air. Ashley Cooper / Getty Images

As the world's ice sheets melt at an increasing rate, researchers are looking for explanations beyond just a hotter climate. A recent study found one answer may lie in the dust.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg protests during a "Fridays for Future" protest in front of the Swedish Parliament Riksdagen in Stockholm on October 9. Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP / Getty Images

By Greta Thunberg

  • Greta Thunberg calls for urgent action to address the climate and ecological crisis.
  • She reminds the world of the promises made to children and grandchildren — a promise they expect to be kept.
  • The proposals being discussed and presented at the moment are 'very far from being enough.'
Read More Show Less

Trending

A dugong, also called a sea cow, swims with golden pilot jacks near Marsa Alam, Egypt, Red Sea. Alexis Rosenfeld / Getty Images

In 2010, world leaders agreed to 20 targets to protect Earth's biodiversity over the next decade. By 2020, none of them had been met. Now, the question is whether the world can do any better once new targets are set during the meeting of the UN Convention on Biodiversity in Kunming, China later this year.

Read More Show Less
President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Jan. 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

By Andrew Rosenberg

The first 24 hours of the administration of President Joe Biden were filled not only with ceremony, but also with real action. Executive orders and other directives were quickly signed. More actions have followed. All consequential. Many provide a basis for not just undoing actions of the previous administration, but also making real advances in public policy to protect public health, safety, and the environment.

Read More Show Less
Melting ice forms a lake on free-floating ice jammed into the Ilulissat Icefjord during unseasonably warm weather on July 30, 2019 near Ilulissat, Greenland. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

A first-of-its-kind study has examined the satellite record to see how the climate crisis is impacting all of the planet's ice.

Read More Show Less