Is iSolar the Wave of the Future?
Apple sure has given us a lot of funky and awesome tech. And the surprises certainly ain't over, even after the untimely demise of Steve Jobs, Apple still has trick up its iSleeve. The future innovation from the innovation king is coming in the form of uber-chic, solar-powered Apple products (including laptops, tablets and smartphones). New patents filed with the US Patent and Trademark office clearly state plans to use an "apparatus and methods for harnessing external light to illuminate a display screen of an electronic device."
These newest solar patents from Apple intend to use sunlight to light-up the screen of their Macs, iPhones and iPads (as the patent was filed for laptops, smartphones and tablets). The screens will be illuminated using one, or a combination of, light harnesses, reflectors and/or translucent surfaces.
According to the patent the light harness will likely be cylindrical or hexahedral in shape and coupled with an external light input, or possibly a connector. The reflector will reflect light toward the display screen by repositioning it toward or away from the display. The translucent surface, according to the patents, could permit external light to permeate through it to illuminate the screen, and will likely protect the back face of the screen -- or the screen itself may be translucent and protective.
The abstract of the patent goes into detail regarding methodology of mounting integrated solar cell circuits, including laser-dicing wafer fragments that help the overall plans achieve greater density than traditional printed circuit boards or other substrates.
Apple believes the patents to be significant as they offer efficiencies in the handling of semiconductor wafers, "the present invention provides a new method of assembling semiconductor device components, including but not limited to solar cells, to a supporting substrate; with such methods providing efficiencies not present in prior art methods."
Apple aficionados are responding to the new design without surprise given that other influential tech companies, Intel included, are already thinking about how to harness solar energy for the computing devices of the future.