Is the iPhone About to Use Solar Power?

Many iPhone fans already feel their device is out of this world, but a new pending patent from Apple seems to suggest that Apple is about to take that literally–by using solar power. Indeed, a patent application has been submitted which covers a panel that is not only a touch-screen, but which is also a solar panel.

Submitted all the way back in 2008, the application was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office this week.

A so-called “integrated touch sensor and solar assembly,” which the patent application seeks protection for, could make it possible to operate an iPhone via solar power, and it could open up related functions such as solar charging, potentially eliminating the need for a charging cord.

The design for a solar-powered iPhone could be intriguing, given the patent application:

“By integrating both the touch sensors and the solar cell layers into the same stack-up, surface area on the portable device may be conserved. In addition to being used for capacitive sensing, the integrated touch sensor and solar panel configurations may also be used for optical sensing.”

If this comes to pass, the sun could soon dawn on a brand new, solar-infused day at Apple.

This isn’t new territory for Apple at all; it has filed several patent applications relating to solar technology. It’s important to point out, too, that while solar power mixed with an iPhone would make for an explosive combination, just because Apple–or anyone else–files a patent application, it doesn’t mean that anything is sure to come of it on the consumer level.

[via: CNET]

Image Credit: Apple/USPTO