Speculation and circumstantial evidence points toward possibility of Apple using solar in upcoming products

Image: 1iphone5wallpaper.com

Image: 1iphone5wallpaper.com

There has long been speculation about Apple incorporating a solar panel into its products, both for environmental reasons and to boost battery-life. There have been Mobile-Solar Apple Jobs that have vanished after discovery, tons of patents, trial rumors and of course the Solar effort/expertise on Apple’s Data Centers and new Campus 2 building. This week, Seeking Alpha has a highly speculative piece by Matt Margolis suggesting that the evidence may be mounting for the iPhone 6 being the product Apple uses to bring the Solar idea to market.

Before we get too far into the speculation, it is worthwhile to note that the surface area of an iPhone would hardly be enough to keep a charge let alone recharge a phone even with the most efficient solar technology in labs today. However, all of the evidence weighed together might make you forget all of that ‘science’…

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Apple working on innovative solar charging system for MacBooks, iPads and iPhones

solar1

An innovative approach to solar charging revealed in an Apple patent application published today (via Patently Apple) could make it more practical to power both MacBooks and iOS devices from the sun.

The voltage and power generated by a solar panel varies with the amount of sunlight. To turn the power supply into something that can safely be used by an electronic device, you need a converter or regulator to deliver the correct specs to the device, adding cost and bulk to the panel.

What the Apple patent describes is building the necessary power management circuitry into the MacBook, iPad or iPhone so that it can accept whatever power the panel supplies. This potentially allows for cheaper and more portable panels …  Read more

Apple looking to hire engineers with solar experience to work on mobile devices

Battery life phil schiller

Update: Apple has removed the job listing from its website, but we grabbed a screenshot below.

Apple appears to be investigating the use of thin film solar technology for future mobile products with a new job listing on the company’s website looking to hire an engineer with experience in the solar industry. The thin films engineer would join Apple’s Mobile Devices group and “assist in the development and refinement of thin films technologies applicable to electronic systems.” The job listing adds some proof to rumors in recent years that Apple was evaluating the use of solar panels for future products.

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Eton shows off new lineup of ‘Rukus’ solar powered Bluetooth speakers, 5000 mAh solar battery pack

Eton-Solar-CES-2013

Eton, a company known for its hand-cranked, turbine-powered radios and audio accessories, today announced a few interesting new solar powered products for iOS devices. The new lineup includes the Rugged Rukus, and the Rukus XL (pictured above), two new solar-powered Bluetooth speakers, both of which include the ability to charge devices through a built-in USB port and more. For those familiar with Eton’s already available Rukus Solar speaker, the new models are essentially its bigger and smaller siblings, but definitely left us impressed at the CES Unveiled event… Read more

At around 5MW, Apple’s new solar roof could make it among the biggest in the US, power a million AppleTVs

Today’s updated Apple Headquarters Spaceship campus plans include a roof made almost entirely out of solar cells, according to details released today. With a building as large as Apple’s, that puts it in the top corporate solar installations in the world and the biggest in the US.  The current title holder is the 4.26 MW system in Edison New Jersey and another being built by ToysRus in sunny NJ is rated 5.38MW


From today’s plans

From today’s plans, we can estimate the roof surface area to be over 750,000 square feet.  Assuming (conservatively) 2/3rds of that, or 500,000 square feet of that is utilized for solar, that gives Apple close to a 5MW installation on the amin building alone. On average or as a general “rule of thumb” modern photovoltaics (PV) solar panels will produce up to 10 watts per square foot of solar panel area.  Since Cupertino is generally favorable in terms of weather and Apple will obviously use the latest Solar technology developed in the coming years, that could give Apple over 5,000,000 Watts of power to play with.  Additionally, Apple has a few other buildings on campus that could be outfitted with solar roofs. The plans list a photovoltaic roof canopy of 320,000 sq.ft. just on the parking building. Read more