Solar-Powered Laptop with Dual-Sided Display Detailed in Apple Patent

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple has been awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (via AppleInsider) detailing an "electronic device display module" for a laptop that would include the ability to act as a secondary rear display featuring touch controls. The patent also details a photovoltaic system located in the display unit which could power the device with solar energy.

    The patent, which was originally filed in 2012, details a portable computer that would encompass both upper and lower housings, consisting of materials such as metal, ceramic, carbon fiber, and glass. The rear housing of the computer would feature a logo similar to Apple's current line of MacBooks, but would be made of a patterned ink layer instead of a plastic material.

    The electrochromic glass that could be integrated into the rear display is also detailed, as the glass would receive signals from light sources with the ability make itself opaque or translucent depending on user input. In theory, this would allow the rear display to remain hidden from view when not in use, which would assist in preserving battery life and privacy.
    Furthermore, Apple also proposes that the computer include photovoltaic cells located under the rear panel, with the cells producing power when activated by an external light source. The cells could also have the option to store the power or use it immediately, and would receive energy from light when the display and electrochromic glass are in the translucent mode.
    Lastly, the touch controls found on the rear display would allow the user to do a number of things, including the ability to input passcodes, control media playback, and unlock the magnetic latch of the computer by touching a certain region. The patent also states that the touch sensors may include capacitive, acoustic, optical, or pressure-sensitive properties to allow different methods of input, and could be located on a centralized rear structure.

    It is unknown whether Apple plans to create such a product or not, but the company has researched similar technology before. A patent in August 2012 detailed significantly enhanced iPad Smart Covers with secondary displays and solar cells, and a patent in 2008 showed the company's interest in producing solar LCD powered iPods, iPhones, and laptops.

    Other reports on Apple's interest in solar-powered devices have also popped up on numerous occasion throughout the years, though it is unclear as to whether Apple is ready to make a serious attempt at integrating the technology into its products or is still focused solely on researching methods.

    Article Link: Solar-Powered Laptop with Dual-Sided Display Detailed in Apple Patent
  2. macrumors 68020


    Dec 9, 2008
  3. macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2014
    Oh god if Apple goes the tablet/laptop-in-one route, I will lose all my faith for the company. Tablet/laptops are probably the most "useless" invention in the field of computing since netbooks!
  4. macrumors 65816


    Nov 20, 2007
    I'm surprised that solar power has not featured more heavily in mobile device design already. The time is now, surely.
  5. macrumors 68030


    Aug 10, 2010
    macrumors apparently
  6. macrumors 6502


    Sep 27, 2011
    Riga, Latvia
    Definitely would love to finally see some advanced solar technology in as many products as possible (not only Apple). Battery life currently is imo the last big problem in modern gadgets.
  7. macrumors newbie

    Dec 18, 2008

    An E-Ink reader on one side that has a months battery for reading books..... just like that Russian mobile phone!
  8. macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2014
    Better wait till summer ;)
  9. macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2011
    I am not an expert in solar power, but I would guess that the gain would be minimal (who is operating his device next to a light source?)
  10. macrumors 604


    Feb 23, 2010
    Leave your iPad in the sun for a while, and apart from not being able to see the screen, see how long it runs for, before overheating
  11. macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2014
    I can see a future product doing away with the keyboard and track pad, it takes up a lot of space which could incorporate a iPad like screen, possibly morphing both iOS and OSX into one operating system, keeping the functionality of the MacBook. Even modifying programs for touch, like FinalCut Pro, iPhoto, etc. Call it the MacPad or PadBook what ever you prefer. Slap a $1600 price tag onto it, and market it for consumer use. Now you got yourself a new product line.
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 16, 2011
    Relax! Seriously!
  13. macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2014
    Really? I'm not. Think about it, if a solar panel were to be on an iPhone it would have to be on the back. When you're using it your holding the back, when you're not, its usually in your pocket. When its on a table or bench where it has access to light you're usually home, so you may as well be re charging it.
  14. macrumors 603


    Apr 21, 2003
    A product that will never see the light of day.

    Two screens? Too complex for the average user.too much battery drain. Solar power won't keep this thing going.
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2012
  16. macrumors 68000

    Cuban Missles

    Dec 6, 2012
    My heart is in Camagüey, the rest in the USA
    IMO, solar technology would be awesome in that it cold extend the batter to true all day power for a computer (10 hours is not all day). However, the technology is just now getting to a conversion rate that would allow for it to work in indoor spaces. I think that more work and evolution is needed before it is Apple ready, but I support the idea of harnessing the sun. Not sure that works for a phone that is in your pocket most of the time. Maybe for an ipad, but that would really need to be built into the cover not that the tablet itself.
  17. macrumors 68000


    Nov 2, 2006
    And Yourself?
    Very interesting. I wonder how practical this actually would be to most users.
  18. macrumors 603


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    Bravo!! :p
  19. macrumors 68000


    Jun 8, 2009
    Now we know where they'll put the TouchID button for the MB.
  20. macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2011
    Apple will never make this

    Yet another example of Apple squashing innovation by protecting themselves. Apple will never make a solar powered laptop and do something as cumbersome as putting screens on both sides of a surface. But they are ensuring nobody else will either.

    I know Apple is innovative and comes out with neat stuff, but this whole patent war has to end soon as the whole point of patents are to share innovation, not suppress it. Apple rarely, if ever, cross licenses their patents and IP which is a shame because Apple sits on a large stockpile of potentially great ideas that will never see the light of day (excuse the pun).
  21. macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Uh, someone else already has.

    (Verdict: neat concept, but terrible battery life as a result of two screens.)
  22. macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2012
    This whole solar charging thing seems like kind of a joke... unless of course you have your entire roof of solar panels powering it. :p
  23. macrumors 603

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    "in theory" this may work...

    but in reality, will it ?

    All i gotta say about this is its good for solar, but don't expect to be of any use in a dark room/dim for a extended period of time. Anything that doesn't require electricity i'm not interested, and i'll say the word "limited" again..

    I can see a use for this in other areas, but i'm not one of them.
  24. macrumors 6502

    May 28, 2010
    I see what you did there.
  25. macrumors 68030

    Feb 17, 2009
    Only a patent filing.

    No need to get any panties in a twist.

    Good things come to those who wait!

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