Apple made history last week by announcing that they had received a patent for their design of a solar panel that would power a laptop by harnessing the sun’s energy. The design would involve a lid backed with “electrochromic glass,” also called “smart glass.” The glass itself would be able to transition from opaque to transparent, depending on the user’s needs. Solar panels placed underneath the smart glass would collect energy from sunlight whenever the glass is on its clear or transparent setting, while a traditional circuit board would also allow the laptop to run on a regular power source if needed.
The ultimate goal would be to make the solar panels efficient enough to produce one watt of power or possibly more. This would allow the solar panels to be able to charge the laptop’s battery even while the laptop is not in use. Users would still need a power cord, but the solar power option would certainly help those who find themselves traveling often and using their laptops near windows or outdoors. For those who have ever had trouble locating an outlet in an airport, this could be a very exciting development!
Apple made it very clear that the acquisition of the patent does not guarantee that they will produce the product. This is simply an idea they are developing, and while it has great potential, it may never see the light of day as an actual piece that consumers can buy. Apple has held many patents over the years that have never gone into production. A lot of consumers would be happy to see this; stay tuned to see what Apple decides to do with it.