iPhones, iPods to be solar-powered?

A list of patents released September 20 revealed that Apple has been granted its second solar power patent of 2011, suggesting that the company could one day begin manufacturing solar-powered, portable devices.

The list of 20 newly granted patents granted to Apple Inc was released September 20 by the US Patent and Trademark Office.  

Of these patents, number 8,022,571 relates to the incorporation of solar cells in portable electronic devices, specifically "methods, systems, and apparatuses for implementing circuitry that can be used to control multiple solar cells to generate power for a portable electronic device."

While Apple is unlikely to produce such a device in the immediate future, it is the second time the company has been awarded a patent for solar power in 2011; the first was awarded in January and also related to solar-powered portable devices. 

The integration of renewable energy technology into personal electronic devices seems likely to be the next area of competition between tech companies, with Apple's patent rival Samsung announcing the launch of the 10 inch NC215S solar powered Netbook on September 20.

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