Solar battery charging may be in the future for future portable Apple devices, according to a recent patent filing. In a document released today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, Apple may be working on the technology to integrate solar charging technology into their touch sensors, allowing their multi-touch displays to double as a powering panel.
The patent details "electrodes that are used both for collecting solar energy and for sensing on a touch sensor array." Combining these two functions into one surface could conserve a significant amount of surface area on portable devices, keeping with Apple's clean and minimalist design aesthetic.
Although many smartphones, such as the Nokia Lumia 920, are opting for wireless charging options, this patent doesn't necessarily mean that solar charging will be integrated into iPhone or iPods any time soon. Many companies' patent ideas and product concepts that never make it into the market. Although the patent was made public today, it was originally filed by Apple is 2008, which means that Apple has been privately working on this technology for over four years.