Among the 16 new patents granted to Apple this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, was this fairly interesting one describing a solar-powered charging system for electronic devices. The patent details a system that includes a voltage converter and controller that would work alongside a solar power source.
The voltage converter would be attached to a solar power source by way of an input cable. It would also be attached to an “electronic load” via an output cable. That “electronic load” could be a “portable electronic device,” says the filing – which basically means almost anything Apple makes, from iPhones to MacBooks.
The voltage converter is configured to monitor an amount of power drawn by the device at its output, while the controller is configured to control the voltage converter in order to reduce the amount of power drawn subsequently, if it goes over a certain predetermined threshold. In other words, it’s a key part to a solar power charging system for electronics.
Apple has previously filed patents for an auxiliary solar cell, that would work as a backup power source for mobile devices, as well as a method for covering a device in solar cells. However, it’s not likely that we’ll see solar-powered gadgets from Apple (or anyone, for that matter), until the costs associated with their production are reduced.