Apple eyes another patent for solar-powered iPhone

The U.S. Patent and Trademark office published a patent application from Apple today for solar-paneled technology designed for devices with small screens, such as iPhones or iPods.

This “integrated touch sensor and solar assembly” would involve integrating social cells into a touch screen by using electrodes that can pull double duty as a solar cell and a touch sensor. Apple envisions this technology for handheld devices, like “a media player or phone,” according to the patent application. In addition to images of different size iPods, the patent application also comes with an image of a screen that’s sized for an iPad.

If done, iPhone and iPod owners could use solar power to charge their devices. It’s not the first time Apple has pursued solar technology. The Cupertino, Calif., company has applied for four other solar-powered-related patents in the last several years.

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